404 Error

Have you ever clicked a link to only end up at a page that says that the page does not exist? This is a 404 error which means the link you clicked (or typed) is incorrect, the website was revised/renovated and no redirects were put in place or that the website owner has deleted the page without redirecting you to another page.

If your website hosting has not been set up with a custom error page, the visitor will be sent to a generic web host error page. This is very confusing for the visitor as they won’t know what to do next.

404 Error and Search Engines

If you have a bad link to a non existant page on your website (from another website or the search engine results) this can be bad news for potential visitors who have found you in the search engine results. The search engines find the link(s) in their index from visiting websites who have linked to your website or crawling your own web pages.

404 Error – Google

The Official Google Webmaster blog decided to help webmasters out by explaining 404 errors through the week of August 11, 2008. Here’s a list of the posts as of this writing:

The posts at Google Webmaster Central blog include pictures to help you understand how 404 errors work. Check out all their posts on crawling and indexing.

404 Error – Yahoo!

Page Not Found Error Handling – Information from Yahoo! on handling 404 errors in Yahoo! Stores.

“You’re still crawling URLs that I removed ages ago.” – information from Yahoo! Search Help on handling a 404 error.

404 Error – Live Search

Live Search Releases Web Page Error Toolkit – this is an asp.net application for IIS servers.

Customize your 404 error pages with the Web Page Error Toolkit – more information on the Live Search Web Page Error Toolkit.


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12 Responses to 404 Error

  1. Rafferty Pendery Says:

    This is good info on the 404 error pages. Just for fun, I have used fun 404 pages out there, there are some ones that will make you laugh. Professionally though, they wouldn’t work. You can Google “funny 404 pages” and see that.

  2. Milwaukee Web Designer Says:

    Custom 404 pages can often convert visitors who would otherwise leave a site. A 404 page with dynamic content can offer suggestions based on keyword search terms or popular pages that can save a visitor. The standard 404 page that a shared hosting plan throws up is only slightly better than no page.

  3. Webmaster Feeds Says:

    Hi there,
    I totally agree that the 404 pages have potential for guiding lost visitors, the nicer the better.
    Some search engines will also see it as as something positive.

  4. Sarah Fowlan Says:

    If a user requests a page that doesn’t exist, your 404 page is displayed. This may happen for a variety of reasons, including another website linking to a page that doesn’t exist. Get your users back on track by providing a useful 404 page that directs them to the home page or suggests other pages they may be interested in.

  5. Hosting Blog Says:

    Custom 404 is better but the thing to note is that some people redirect it to the home page, this confuses search engines which take 404 as the index page. so at all costs, 404 should be a simple page with the 404 header intact and a link to the home page but no redirect.

404 Error Was Mentioned Here:

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