Error 404: What the error page means and how to use it

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You know it: You click on a link, but a web page will appear letting you know that the requested page is not available. Typically, you will see error messages like “404 Not Found” or “404 (page) not found“. Error 404 is a standard HTTP status code. It is sent from the web server of the online presence to the web browser (usually: the client), has issued an HTTP request. The browser plays this code as an error page.

How did the “404 not found” message appear?

The classic trigger for Error 404 is when the site content has been deleted or moved to another URL. However, other reasons may cause the HTTP 404 page to appear in your browser – here are some typical pages at a glance:

  • The URL or its content (such as a file or image) has been removed or outsourced (without the internal links of the modified site).
  • The URL has been misapplied (such as lack of care when creating or redesigning), wrong linking (for example, by an incorrect distinction), or in the wrong browser input bar.
  • The web server responsible for the site is disconnected or disconnected.
  • The called domain cannot be transformed into an IP in the domain system.
  • The called domain does not exist (again).

Often, dead links exist for a long period of time because online affiliate service providers simply do not know that link content has been deleted or moved. This is especially applicable for search engines – where you can often find sites in search results that are no longer online (at least not by the specified URL). But other affiliate websites like blogs, portals, etc. It is generally not reported that a site has been deleted or provided a new URL. Since up to now not all website owners regularly check their external links, so a dead link is not immediately noticeable as a dead link.

Fix Error 404: How do site visitors manage this?

Error 404 is rarely the reason for having fun – after all, as a visitor to your site, you are not getting what you ask for. However, the appearance of page 404 does not necessarily mean that the information you are looking for is no longer available on the page: Sometimes, the bugs are actually found quickly and the site hopes for can be called up. So how can u. U. Error “404 not found” fix? It is best to try these solutions after another solution in the order shown:

  • Reload the site: Code 404 may appear for the simple reason that the page does not load properly. You can quickly check this by for example through the corresponding button in your browser or through the F5 key to reload the page.
  • Check the URL: Whether you’ve typed a web address manually in the URL bar or called through the link – the error can quickly get up here. Therefore, you should check the specific path of the site. It is possible that you or the link setup person entered the wrong URL. Incorrect spelling, wrong or unsetting can cause an error message. However, this can only be understood with ordered clean URLs (also known as “spoken URLs”), as they use readable words instead of unacceptable acronyms. path.
  • In the directory structure of the following site: For example, if a URL with the build example.com/Ordner1/Ordner2/Ordner3 gives a 404 error page, you can (in the upstream directory in their example I: example.com/Ordner1/Ordner2) check if the desired page is linked there – just delete the last specified directory in the URL bar. Maybe the site you are looking for has a new link, which you can find on the original page. If you can not find it there, you can, in turn, search the directory or folder above for information and links to the desired site. If you fail here and finally land on the home page, try the next method.
  • Use the search function of the site: Many sites offer search functionality on the start page. By entering one or more keywords, you can also find the site you are looking for.
  • Use the search engine: Moreover, you have the opportunity to search the site with a search engine that you trust. If the desired page still exists, you will typically find it by entering the website domain and describing it as the keyword of the topic you are looking for.
  • Clear your browser’s cache and cookies: If you’re able to access the site from another device and HTTP-404 errors only appear on a particular computer, the error may be related to your browser. If you clear your browser cache as well as all cookies of visited web pages, the page may be found again on this device.
  • Contact Websites: If the previously mentioned procedures are unsuccessful, you will most likely only have the opportunity to contact the person responsible for the site directly (you can usually find the contact in the site). publisher or service page of the site). The site operator will be able to tell you if the child page you are looking for still exists. If this has been moved to a new URL, it also gives the webmaster an important note: they can fix 404 errors by setting the domain redirect to automatically redirect visitors from the site. Only old to new address.

HTTP 404 errors can be harmful to site rank and reputation

Google, Bing and the Company evaluate the 404 negative error, especially if a page has many of them. When search engine crawlers find that checking the links on the site are often answered with a 404 code, they conclude that the site is not well maintained. Dead links have a disastrous impact on a site’s ranking, since online occurrences with multiple 404 error pages are classified as either search engine hits or even non-indexed. This can lead to a significant reduction in the number of visitors to the linked site.

In addition, a site with some broken links or a dead landing page (pages that are accessed from search engines) on the edge of the user’s confidence in the online presence. Many people then no longer bother looking for the desired content on the site – after all, users cannot be certain that the content is still there when the 404 Error message appears.

Tip: Want to know how well your site is found on search engines? Try it now with the free website checker:

Identify Error 404 on your own site

Therefore, it is important for the site owner to prevent any HTTP 404 pages. This applies to the avoidance of 404 errors on a separate website (internal 404 error) as well as for linking on 404 pages of other online offerings (external 404 error page). There are many free tools available to help you find broken links more easily. Three of the best and most famous are:

  • Google Search Console (formerly “Google Webmaster Tools”): If you own a Google Account and your site is already registered there, Google Search Console is a great option. are displayed by Google and may also be marked as edited here. The range includes other features – u. a. You can see errors in your robots.txt file and collect statistics to see how many times Google crawlers searched the site.
  • Dead Link Checker: One of the simplest and fastest tools for finding 404 external and external links is Dead Linker. With this web app, you simply enter the internet address of the website to be checked in the input line and activate the check. Here you have the choice to have a single site or entire site be inspected. The application lists all error pages that are tracked with status codes and URLs.
  • W3C Link Checker: The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) online tool will be very detailed when checking each page of the site. Accordingly, the control process takes longer than other web applications to review links. The W3C Link Checker works quite similarly to Dead Linker: You enter the URL to test in the field provided, and let the tool do the rest. Alternatively, you can specify a few more details when checking the site.

Create a 404 Error page

Some content management systems are a 404 error page that is generated automatically as soon as the URL of a web page can not be found. These are standard pages to honor HTTP 404 with fewer initial designs. Essentially, they can also be customized by special CMS extensions.

If your CMS does not offer features that allow you to create a 404 page or change, or your site alone on HTML, PHP etc. based, it’s more complicated. Then, you can create an error page as follows:

  • If not, create an error page (“404.html” or “404.php”) in the root directory (root directory).
  • Open the .htaccess file (or create a file if none exists) in the root directory, enter “ErrorDocument 404 / 404.html” and save the changes. This code generates an error page.
  • Call a site that does not exist under your website domain as a check – now a 404 error will appear in the browser window.

Why create a 404 error individual page?

The standard 404 error page is definitely better. However, a custom page for Error 404 makes sense for a variety of reasons. On the one hand, you can ensure that visitors are provided the appropriate HTTP status code: For example, if the requested content is no longer present on the site, it must be clearly labeled 410 Gone – this code says. that the search content has been permanently deleted.

On the other hand, you can provide additional links through a specially prepared error page (for example, to your start page or subpages with duplicate content to the original query). ). A search function for your site can provide about this. Such suggestions can prevent visitors from leaving your site immediately after receiving the 404 code. Instead, you create an incentive to stay on the site despite lack of content.

With the innovative 404 message, you can even make some visitors reconcile. Of course, users will still be disappointed not to find the promised content on your site. However, the original 404 site and / or interesting site can make up for this disillusion. Therefore, error pages even provide some potential.

If you ensure that the error message design matches your site’s style, you have laid the groundwork for a good 404 error page. Moreover, if you communicate in a humorous way, the preferred content is not available, many visitors will certainly smirk and tolerate. The inspiration for editing the imagination of the 404 bug can be found in our article on innovative and elegant 404 pages.