404 Error Page – What’s this? How to redirect?


404 errorWhile surfing on net you may some time encounter Error 404. It can be in any of the following form:

  • Error 404
  • 404 Error
  • 404 Not Found
  • Error 404 Not Found
  • HTTP 404
  • 404 Page not found
  • HTTP 404 not found

404 Not Found error messages can appear in any browser and in any operating system. Most 404 Not Found errors display inside the Internet browser window just as other web pages do.


Cause of 404 Error Message

The Error 404 “Page not found” is the error page displayed whenever – someone asks for a page that’s simply not available on your site. The reason for this is that there may be a link on your site that was wrong or the page might have been recently removed from the site. As there is no web page to display, the web server sends a page that simply says “404 Page not found”.

The 404 error message is an HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) standard status code. This “Not Found” response code indicates that although the client could communicate to the server, the server could not find what was requested or it was configured not to fulfil the request.

The 404 “Not Found” error is not the same as the “Server Not Found” error which you see whenever a connection to the destination server could not be established at all.

The default 404 error page as shown on Internet Explorer is given below.


There are a few causes of error 404 and those causes may be:

1. A misspelling of the URL in the address bar of your browser or the use of wrong letter case.

2. The webpage has been moved to another location in the site or another website.

3. The link to that webpage is broken.

How to fix 404 Error

If a visitor comes to your site and see a standard 404 error message than they will not make the effort to see any part of your site. Therefore it is very important to create a 404 page on your site and redirect traffic to correct url.

For this first of all you need to create a 404 error page. So for example, you would create a page at http://www.yoursite.com/404.htm which says something like:

It appears you are looking for something which isn’t there. Either you have entered an incorrect URL or we have messed up. Why not visit our home page or alternatively, search for what you are looking for in the search box below or you can create a fancy “Page not Found” page with home page link to your site.

In this way visitors are more likely to stay on your site.

Once you have your 404 page setup, all you need to do is send visitors to http://www.yoursite.com/404.htm page instead of error page. For this you have to follow the following steps:

  1. Make changes in .htaccess file for Apache users: Search for .htaccess file on your server root directory where your site’s home page exists. If you don’t find it (it should be one of the very first files), then you’ll need to create it by contacting & confirming from your administrator.
  2. Editing:
    Add this to the .htaccess file:ErrorDocument 404 http://www.yoursite.com/404.htm

That’s it. The above line redirect to http://www.yoursite.com/404.htm whenever server found 404 error. Upload your new 404 error page, if you haven’t already, and log into your site. Then try to go to a page that doesn’t exist. You should get the page you denoted in the .htaccess file. If you don’t than the following points may be one of the reason:

  • For IIS & .NET environment, make changes in web.config.file instead of .htaccess
  • CHMOD of the file should be 644. On Unix server you can change by giving command:CHMOD 644 .htaccess.

    On windows change the rights of the file by right clicking on rights column in front of filename on server root directory or ask server administrator.

  • If you’re on a shared hosting account, the provider may have already defined a filename in their master profile (like “missing.html”) for all clients. Just ask ‘em first.
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