A 404 error, also known as a “Page not Found” error, occurs when a user attempts to access a webpage that doesn’t exist on the server. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as a broken link, a mistyped URL, or a deleted page.
When a user encounters a 404 error, they will typically see a message that says “404 Error: Page Not Found” along with a message that the requested URL could not be found on the server. This can be frustrating for both the user and the website owner, as it can lead to a poor user experience and a loss of potential conversions.
However, there are steps that website owners can take to fix a 404 error and improve the user experience.
- Check for broken links: One of the most common causes of a 404 error is a broken link. This can happen when the URL of a page changes or the page is deleted without updating all of the links that point to it. To fix this, you can use a tool like Broken Link Checker to scan your website for broken links and fix or remove them.
- Redirect old URLs: If you’ve recently changed the URL of a page on your website, it’s important to set up a redirect so that users who visit the old URL will be directed to the new one. This will help to prevent 404 errors and ensure that users can still find the content they’re looking for.
- Create a custom 404 error page: A custom 404 error page is a page that is displayed when a user encounters a 404 error on your website. This page should include a message explaining that the page couldn’t be found and provide options for the user, such as a search bar or a list of popular pages.
- Check for typos: Sometimes, a 404 error can occur simply because of a typo in the URL. This can be easily fixed by double-checking the URL to make sure that it is typed correctly.
- Monitor 404 errors: Using tools like Google Analytics or server logs, you can monitor the 404 errors on your website. This will help you identify the most common causes of 404 errors and take steps to fix them.
By taking these steps, website owners can reduce the number of 404 errors on their website and improve the user experience. Additionally, having a custom 404 error page can help to reduce the frustration of the user, and provide a more helpful message and action options for them. It’s also important to keep monitoring 404 errors in order to keep track and fix new ones that may appear.