What is a 404 Page?
A 404 page is an error page created by the web server. When a user attempts to access a file or page that doesn’t exist, a 404 error page is displayed. This lets the user know that the page they were trying to access is no longer available, or didn’t exist in the first place.
Why would a website page be unavailable?
There are a number of reasons why a page may no longer exist at the previous address:
- The page may have moved – think of it as similar to moving house, you used to live at that address but now you live somewhere else!
- The link is broken – perhaps the link was mistyped and never actually worked, oops
- The page has been deleted – perhaps the content was no longer true or the creator changed their mind about publishing the content. Whatever the reason, the page is gone – never to be seen again 🙂
- The user may have mistyped the address (URL) – Some words are simply more difficult to spell, such as “refrigeration” and if you’ve mistyped a word the result may be that you end up on a 404 page
Why create a custom 404 page?
The reason to create a custom 404 page is to make your website easier to use. If a user ends up on a 404 page, we don’t want all panic to set in! We let them know that it’s ok and they haven’t run into a ditch, we help them find their way back to the page they were looking for in the nicest possible way.
View an awesome 404 page
Check out our example 404 page which displays the elements of a good custom 404 page including:
- Search box – to help the user find what they are looking for
- Links to our services – encouraging the user to explore our site further
- Some recent blog posts – to show that we are interesting people who write interesting content
- Call to action – why not! “Contact us today and enjoy a whole new level of website support”
- A simple form – so that users can tell us who/where is displaying the link and we can ask them to fix it or remove it