How often does your site get a 404 error? If you haven’t heard of this error type before, then you probably don’t know what it means. The 404 page is usually displayed when a user tries to access a web page that no longer exists or has moved elsewhere.
A 404 not-found error is a common problem that webmasters face from time to time. However, it is one that webmasters and content creators should try and avoid, because it can have a negative impact on your business and the customer experience.
In this article, we will discuss how to fix 404 errors, and how to avoid them, plus give insight into other error types. So, if this is something you are interested in, read on for more!
What Are 404 Errors?
A 404 not-found error occurs when a visitor tries to access a webpage on your website but finds that the requested file doesn’t exist. People will come across a 404 error message for a plethora of reasons. Let’s look at a few examples!
- Your server is down
- The page was deleted by mistake
- The page was moved to another location
- The page was renamed
Why Do I Get 404 Errors?
The most common reason behind getting 404 not-found errors is that you accidentally remove a page from your website or move it to a different folder. When you do so, the old URL becomes invalid and visitors are directed to the default “404 Not Found” page.
Another reason behind this error type is that some files were removed from your website. For example, if you delete an image from your website, then the corresponding HTML code won’t work anymore. As a result, a 404 error appears on your browser.
How Can I Prevent 404 Errors?
There are several ways to avoid getting this error type and avoid a negative impact on your business. Here are some of them:
1. Update Your Website Urls Regularly
One of the best ways to prevent 404 not-found errors is to keep your website URLs updated. You should check these on a regular basis. Make sure that all your URLs have a permanent address and that they match the actual location of your content. If you change the name of a page, then update its URL accordingly.
2. Use Robots Exclusion Script
You can use a robots exclusion script to block search engines from accessing certain parts of your website. This way, you can stop Google from indexing specific pages or folders.
3. Use Redirect Pages
You can use redirection scripts to redirect users who try to visit nonexistent pages to other pages on your website. These scripts help you to create custom 404 pages and redirect traffic to new locations.
4. Use Canonical Tags
You can use canonical tags to tell search engine crawlers which version of a page is the correct one. This helps you to rank higher in SERPs.
5. Use 301 Redirects
When you decide to delete a page from your site, you can use 301 redirects to direct traffic to the new location of the same page. This ensures that the search engines don’t lose track of your previous content.
6. Check Your Site With Search Engines
You can use tools like Screaming Frog SEO Spider to scan your entire website and find out where there are broken links. Once you identify these issues, you can take appropriate actions to resolve them.
How To Fix 404 Errors
To fix 404 not-found errors, follow these steps:
Step 1: Identify The Cause
Check whether the issue is related to the server settings or not. If yes, then you should contact your web host for assistance. You can also check whether the problem is due to a plugin or theme. In this case, you should disable the plugin/theme and reinstall it again.
Step 2: Install A Plugin
If the problem is caused by a missing plugin, then install it again. It may be possible that the plugin has been deleted accidentally.
Step 3: Rebuild The Page
If the problem is caused by moving a page to a different directory, then rebuild the page manually. Simply copy the contents of the original page into the new location.
Step 4: Remove The Old File
If the problem is related to removing a file, then simply remove the old file.
Step 5: Test Again
Once you have fixed the issue, test the website once more. If everything works fine, then you can proceed to the next step. Otherwise, you need to repeat the above steps until you get rid of the issue.
How To Fix 404 Errors On WordPress
If you are experiencing 404 not-found errors on WordPress, then this is often because of a permalink issue or a redirect conflict.
To fix this, you should go to the WordPress dashboard to check if it is a problem across the whole site. If this is indeed the case, then it is best to update your permalink settings.
Common Errors Similar To The 404 Error
Error 404 is not the only one you will see during your time on the internet! Your website could experience many different error messages, but all risk giving you a negative impression, so it’s important to deal with them. Let’s look at some of the examples!
- 500 Internal Server Error – This error type typically happens when something goes wrong inside your website, this error shows up. It means that your server cannot process the request properly.
- 403 Forbidden – Sometimes, you might want to restrict access to certain pages. In such cases, you can set up a password-protected area.
- 500 Internal Server Error – This error type is similar to the previous one. However, it occurs when you try to access a restricted page.
- 400 Bad Request – This error type usually appears when you try to upload files to your website or when you try to download a file.
- 401 Unauthorized – This error type indicates that someone else is logged in to your account.
404 not-found errors can be a cause of frustration for website wonders and content creators because they mean customers cannot access your website and it causes a disruption to your business and a bad user experience for customers.
Therefore, it is vital that your marketing efforts extend to regularly checking for 404 not-found errors and fixing them should they appear.
We hope this article taught you everything you need to know about 404 not-found errors to make sure that you do not face any issues in the future.
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