What is 404?
Last modified: February 23, 2020
One of the most common errors experienced online, the HTTP 404 error code is a page/protocol displayed when a computer is unable to find what is requested but was able to find the domain. For instance, the user types in domain.com/page-1 but that page doesn’t exist, the 404 page will be displayed.
Another time when this page might display is if the page is locked from viewing and the user is redirected here.
Tracking 404 errors is an important part of running a website. It disrupts the experience of the audience and can often mean that visitors will not return again. This can lead to a loss of traffic and revenue. Businesses also might find that their website’s rank on social media is severely weakened.
Why Do 404 Errors Occur?
There are numerous reasons why 404 errors happen on a website. The first is that there is a typo in the link from the referring website (or on documentation). This requires you to make changes to the referring entity.
Another reason might be that the page has had a change in URL. This often happens when you change URLs for SEO reasons, update them for more relevance or securite (i.e. the WordPress login page). There are solutions to this however. Many SEO plugins for WordPress will contain 404 redirect functionality that will automatically redirect visitors using the old URL to a new URL.
The software might also allow you to see how often the redirects are used. They might also highlight other URLs that might need to be changed.
Some Errors You Can’t Fix
Sometimes you can’t fix 404 errors because it is the fault of the visitor (i.e. a typo on their behalf). In this case, you should be using custom 404 pages. These have been proven to help visitors find the pages that they’re looking for and improve the reputation of the company.
There are numerous ways you can add a custom 404 page to your WordPress website. This includes adopting a theme with a custom 404 option or using some redirect plugins that include it.
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