When you are a webmaster of one or several sites, you need to track the errors found on your site and fix them. Though not all the errors are equally important and do not necessarily need to fix everything, but fixing some errors bring positive result for the webmaster.
What is 404 Error Pages
So what is 404 Error? The 404 error message is a HTTP standard response code that indicates that the web browser is able to communicate with the server, but the server on the other hand is unable to find the requested page. When a user attempts to find a page that is not exist or broken or dead link, typically the server shows a 404 error page or simply not found message. Hence 404 message is familiar to almost all users.
Some common 404 error messages that you can see are:
Error 404 not found
404 page not found
The requested URL could not found on this server
404 File Not Found
Computer Error 404
HTTP 404 page not found etc.
When 404 Error occurs?
When you type any URL wrong or the URL which you are trying has been moved and not exist now, then it shows 404 error.
In the same way, when a page or URL has been moved, but the old URL is not redirected to the new URL, then the server will find the page as a dead link and show 404 error pages.
How to fix 404 Error page (User point of view)
- When you face such error, try refreshing the page.
- If the error still showing there, check whether you have typed the correct URL. Its a common mistake to type the wrong domain name.
- If you believe that you might have typed the wrong URL, you can go to Google search and try searching with the name of the page.
- If the site has only few page, you can also go to Google search and type in this format- site:thedomainname.com. It will eventually show all the pages of the site currently listed in the related search engine. If the site has several hundreds or thousands pages, then it might be very difficult to find this way.
- If you still cannot find anything, contact the webmasters through the site contact form asking whether they have moved the page or have any reference for that page.
How to fix 404 Error pages (Webmaster point of view)
If you are a webmaster or website owner, then you might be considering to find 404 error pages and fix them. There is a easy way to do this with Google Webmaster Tool.
- Sign in to Google Webmaster Tool. Select the site which you want to fix and enter into it.
- From the left menu, click on Health> Crawl errors. It will search and automatically find all the URLs which have 404 error in your site.
- On the right side bottom of the screen you will find summary of all the URLs which have such error message.
- Left click on any URL and you will see the complete URL which is unavailable to server. From the tab find “Linked from” and you will see from with which page the error page is actually linked.
- Now you have identified the 404 error URLs, you can setup 301 redirections for those. Or if you want to make the process simple, download and use this simple plugin Redirection from the Developer’s site.
- After you upload and activate the plugin, go to Tools> Redirection. Under source URL, enter the error URL and under target URL, enter the URL where you want to redirect. You can set your home page or any useful post/page as target URL which you think visitor will like.
After you know what is 404 error page and you are getting through this, if you do not fix your 404 error pages then you might loose your visitors, as after seeing the error message visitors might close the page without checking other pages. Also redirection helps search engine to find new pages rather than going to a broken end finally.