One of the most common types of website errors is a 404 error. You’ve likely heard of this particular error and have a general idea of what it means, but you might not know quite enough about it to prepare for this error and fix it.
To give you a better idea of how to go about fixing 404 errors, here we’ll break down the definition of this error type and some specific methods you can use to get your web pages up and running again.
What Exactly Is a 404 Error?
A 404 error is a type of client-side error that can result from a number of causes, showing that a given URL doesn’t appear on the server. These errors may appear on a page in the format of “404 Error,” “404 Not Found,” “HTTP 404,” or another format that indicates the page is broken or non-existent.
There are multiple potential causes of 404 errors, including:
- Deleted or moved pages that leave a broken link behind
- Issues with DNS settings that cause the domain to direct users to the incorrect DNS address
- Mistyped URLs that people may inadvertently enter into URL bars
- Caching issues that involve browsers caching the erroneous page instead of a valid page in its place
- Lack of file permissions
Depending on the nature of the 404 error, there are different ways to fix it.
4 Ways to Fix a 404 Error
If you’re having problems with 404 errors on your website, you may take one or more of the following main steps to address the issue:
1. Redirect the 404 to Another Page
One of the most effective ways to resolve 404 errors is to redirect your broken page to its functional counterpart. Even if you don’t have a page that directly replaces the broken page, you can choose a highly relevant page to use a 301 redirect on that will take users to the working page. Sometimes a broken page could simply result from a URL with a different word or spelling, in which case you should have a specific page that will function as the most appropriate replacement.
If you can use the right redirects to connect users to relevant pages, this will help avoid any confusion and lead people in the right direction when navigating your site.
2. Correct Your File Permissions
Sometimes 404 errors result from incorrect file permissions that prevent users from loading the web page. These permissions indicate who has the ability to read, run, or modify the files on your server. If there’s an issue with these permissions, you can easily experience a 404 error.
The platform you use to host your website should give you the tools you need to change the permissions for your various files. You might be able to change the permissions for all files or individual files, depending on the issue.
3. Restore the Deleted Page
In some cases, you might want to restore a deleted page if people attempt to visit it and encounter a 404 error. While you may have intentionally deleted a particular page in an effort to consolidate content or otherwise improve your website, you may find that it’s actually beneficial to restore some deleted pages, especially if people seem eager to access particular pieces of content.
Conversely, you may decide to ignore the 404 error entirely and intentionally want people and search engines to find a 404 error page. These types of pages could have hurt the quality of your website, making deletion necessary. However, if you do wind up deleting pages to optimize your website, be sure to eliminate any internal or, if possible, external links going back to those broken pages. Doing this kind of cleanup can help ensure that those old, low-quality pages don’t hurt your website’s ability to rank or otherwise perform well.
4. Anticipate Typos
People may encounter 404 errors on your website when typing a URL directly in their browser, potentially leading to misspellings and other typos that lead them to the wrong page. If you believe that this is a real potential issue for certain pages, you could anticipate them by having URLs with certain types redirect users to the correct page.
By viewing your website’s log files, you can find out which typo versions people enter most and get rid of any redirects that people don’t use. Also, this measure is a great way to prevent a particular type of cyberattack known as typosquatting.
Other Ways to Fix 404 Errors
In addition to these bigger fixes, you can take the following smaller steps to fix 404s that occur for other reasons:
- Reload the web page, as you might see a 404 on your end, because the page merely failed to load properly.
- Use search engines to look for a particular page or website that may have changed domains.
- Delete your browser’s cookies and cache, which could be the reason you’re seeing a 404.
Build a Website With the Help of Experienced Professionals
If you want to build a website for your business, you should work with experts who know how to anticipate and address 404 errors that occur for any reason. Additionally, these experts should know how to put together an appealing site that best represents your business and remains relatively efficient and error-free.
If you need some help with your website, the professionals at Vigor Seorchers offer reliable web design and web hosting services that can give you the perfect platform. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you with web design, hosting, and much more.