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Tuesday 12 September 2023

Finding and Fixing Error 404 Pages: A Step-By-Step Guide

In the world of website management, encountering a 404 error can be frustrating for both website owners and visitors. These "Page Not Found" errors occur when a web page is missing or has been moved without the necessary redirection. They can lead to a poor user experience and negatively impact your website's credibility. In this blog post, we'll explore how to find and fix error 404 pages to ensure your website remains user-friendly and professional.

1. Detecting Error 404 Pages: Before you can fix these errors, you need to identify them. There are several methods to do this: 

  • Google Search Console: If you've submitted your website to Google Search Console, it will notify you of 404 errors in the "Coverage" report. This is a valuable tool to identify problematic pages. 
  • Website Audit Tools: Numerous online tools, such as Screaming Frog SEO Spider, Moz Pro, or Ahrefs, can crawl your site and identify 404 errors. 
  • Manual Checks: Review your website, paying attention to any broken links or missing pages. This can be a time-consuming process but is essential for detecting pages missed by automated tools.

2. Understanding the Cause: Once you've identified 404 errors, it's crucial to understand their causes. These can include: 

  • Deleted Pages: Pages that have been intentionally or accidentally deleted. 
  • URL Changes: If you've revamped your website structure, URLs might have changed, and old links could lead to 404 errors. 
  • Broken Links: External websites linking to your pages with incorrect URLs. 

3. Fixing Error 404 Pages: Now that you've found the errors and their root causes, it's time to fix them: 

  • Redirects: If a page has moved, implement a 301 redirect from the old URL to the new one. This ensures visitors are seamlessly directed to the correct page. Most content management systems (CMS), such as WordPress, offer built-in tools for setting up redirects. 
  • Re-create the Page: If a deleted page contained valuable content, consider re-creating it with the same or similar information. This is especially important if it has backlinks. 
  • Custom 404 Page: Create a custom 404 error page that provides helpful information and navigation options for visitors. This keeps them engaged with your site, even when they land on an error page. 
  • Fix Broken Links: If the 404 error is caused by external websites linking to incorrect URLs, contact the site owners and request that they update the links. 
  • Remove References: If the 404 error is due to a page that no longer exists and won't be replaced, remove references to it from your website to avoid future user frustration. 

4. Ongoing Maintenance: 404 errors can be an ongoing challenge, especially on large websites. To minimize their occurrence, consider these steps: 

  • Regular Site Audits: Periodically audit your website using tools or manual checks to catch and fix 404 errors as they arise. 
  • Test All Changes: Before making any changes to your website's structure or URLs, test them thoroughly to avoid inadvertently creating new 404 errors. 
  • Monitor Backlinks: Keep an eye on your website's backlinks and be proactive in addressing any that point to incorrect URLs. 
  • Implement a 404 Error Monitoring System: Consider setting up a system that automatically detects and logs 404 errors, making it easier to address them promptly.


Error 404 pages are a common issue for website owners, but with the right approach, they can be efficiently managed and minimized. Detecting 404 errors, understanding their causes, and implementing fixes not only improves the user experience but also enhances your website's overall SEO performance. By creating a well-designed custom 404 page and regularly monitoring your site for these errors, you can maintain a professional and user-friendly online presence. Remember, in the digital world, every little detail counts, and addressing 404 errors is an essential part of maintaining a seamless and trustworthy website. Regenerate


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