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What Is 404 Error?
A 404 error is a webpage error that pops up when the server hosting your website cannot find the link to the page you’re asking for.
Basically, every time a link is clicked on any website, the server will deliver the webpage to your screen as quickly as it can find it.
You have to make this request every time you click a link (though you might never know that’s how it works!)
This relationship between the user and the server is what gives us a communication system known as HTTP (which you might notice in the website bar at the top just before www. starts). There are a whole array of error codes that can come out of an HTTP communication, but the 404 error can be the most annoying to deal with.
Of course, 404 error pages aren’t a good thing to have on a site – in fact, they can even cause the site’s search engine ranks to plummet if they’re not kept in check.
When people notice your website has a few 404 pages on it, they’ll assume the whole thing doesn’t work and will often choose not to spend much longer than is necessary browsing your site and services. So you’ll need to fix them ASAP.
How To Fix 404 Error
Let’s talk about the fix then. It’s not all doom and gloom when you see one of these pages, and it’s definitely not a death sentence for your website either. Quite a lot of websites have broken links just like this so you aren’t alone. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a single site on the internet that hasn’t showcased their own 404 error in their lifetime.
Check Your Typing
The first thing you can try to do to get your 404 error page is quite a simple and common fix. You may have simply mistyped the URL yourself, either in the backend or the frontend. It doesn’t matter, either way, you’re only human after all! Check to make sure that your URL is 100% correct before trying to do anything further in fixing the 404 error page. It might be as quick and as painless as a missing letter.
Next, you’ll want to try and do a 301 redirect to try to help locate the correct page. Basically, a 301 redirect is a response you can give to the server after it can’t find the page that will allow you to communicate to it, telling it that the page is actually found in another location now. It should be work after this if you find that the previous point didn’t.
Revise Deleted Pages
Sometimes, some pages just don’t work and they need to be deleted to help with the seamless and efficacious operation of your website. However, this won’t stop some users from finding an old page that no longer exists (or finding a new page with links to a page that has since been deleted). You’ll want to keep on top of which pages have been deleted previously and either restore them to their original self or try and remove all links that might cause the 404 error.
Search On The Site
If you’re looking for a specific page and used the URL you thought was correct but ended up not being, you may have been met with the 404 error. The easiest solution is to instead use the search on the website to find the page you’re looking for, as the URL might have changed or you might just be misremembering it.
Delete Browser Cache/Cookies
The browser you use doesn’t matter when coming across a 404 error. If the page is wrong, you’ll get it regardless. However, sometimes you’ll find that it’s only your machine that seems to be turning up the 404 error and any other one gets away with loading the page just fine. If this is the case, then a good thing to try is deleting your browser’s cache and cookies to try to clear up some space to allow for easier access to the page.
Hopefully, we’ve helped to give you some idea as to how best to deal with your website’s problematic 404 error pages.
If you have managed to find some, it can be very frustrating, but it’s easy enough to correct if you know what you’re doing.