Networking

404 Error

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Definition

A 404 error occurs when trying to visit a web page that does not exist. 404 errors (alternatively called HTTP 404, Page Not Found, Server Not Found, or 404 Not Found) can occur because an existing web page has been removed from a website without being redirected. 404 errors also occur when the user enters a URL that has never existed on the website in question.

A 404 error is not always a problem for webmasters. If a page does not exist and has never existed on a website, a 404 error may create the best user experience for website visitors. However, because website behavior is sometimes unexpected, webmasters will often create 301 redirects for pages that do not exist but have similar URLs to existing pages (which ensures that a user visiting the nonexistent URL does not receive a 404 error).

If a web page is removed from a website, the general best practice is to redirect visitors to another page on the website.

Importance

When a user reaches a non-existent poage on your website, they’ll see a 404 page. This could be because they’ve found a broken link, a deleted page, or typed a URL incorrectly. If you’ve created a 404 page, you can engage the user and help them locate the page they were looking for.

Great 404 pages include:

  • An error message
  • A search function
  • Call to Action (CTA)
  • Links to your best content

A 404 page is what a user sees when they try to reach a non-existent page on your site. This may happen if they’ve clicked a broken link, the page has been deleted, or they’ve mistyped a URL. If you have access to your server, we recommend that you create a custom 404 page.

Common FAQs

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