What is a 404 Page, and How to Setup? (Practical Guide)

What is a 404 Page, and How to Setup? (Practical Guide)

Arif Chowdhury
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Last Updated on December 30, 2022 by Arif Chowdhury

It’s impossible to have a website that functions flawlessly. One of your site visitors will undoubtedly click on a link that does not exist anymore. The server will send them to a 404 error page if this occurs. Thus, every web admin needs to know what is a 404 page and how to use it.

You may use the 404 page in two ways:

  • The server could communicate with the user but could not locate the page users were searching for.
  • Having an active portion of your website encourages visitors to come back and explore it more.

Because of this, a 404 page on your website is essential.

Your first inclination may be to think that why not fix all the error pages of my site?

Because of the rapid expansion of your website, it will be hard for you to discover all broken internal links. Consequently, your audience will likely find those before you even realize them.

If there’s an issue with the broken link, the 404 page will be a temporary workaround.

If you want a 404 page that gets results, then you might start creating a stylish one.

Why do you need a 404 page?

Designing a 404 page and customizing it is pointless if you can utilize the one that comes with your website.

It’s because they may be tough to grasp.

You should use the 404 error page for any possible error on your site.

A 404 error message, such as the preceding example, only says what you already know.

To avoid this in the first place, what can you do? Your audience has no idea what occurred, why, or how to find the correct source or link.

Possible error in your website and its error codes.

You better expect your visitors to abandon your website and never return after seeing such a page. However, a recent report shows more than 88 percent of customers are less inclined to visit a website once they find an error page.

Quick Note: Whenever a link doesn’t work, a 404 error page will appear instead. When users click on a broken link, the website redirects them to a “404 Page Not Found” error message. A 404 status code is essential for a user-friendly and professional-looking website.

Recommended Reading: 9 Best Landing Page Builders for Lead Generation (Reviewed)

The following are some of the benefits of having a custom error page:

  • A more detailed explanation will help lessen the irritation and uncertainty that visitors may experience after finding a faulty link.
  • Add features like a search bar, suggested links, and more to make it easier for visitors to spend more time on your site.
  • With assistance from keywords, you may reduce your website’s bounce rate and improve SEO at the same time.

How can you make a 404 page?

The first step is learning how to make a 404 page so your visitor retention rate will not reduce because of an error in your site.

In this guide, we will talk about how to make a 404 page using below platforms:

  • Using WordPress plugin
  • Using website builder tools
  • Custom HTML website

How to create a 404 page in WordPress?

If you have a website on the WordPress platform, then your task is half done. Download the plugin below and choose your site as a default 404 page. You can customize that page later if you want.

Recommended Reading: 7 Easy Steps How to Build a WordPress Website from Scratch

The below plugin is best for making a custom 404 page:

404 page is one of the easy-to-use plugins. After installing, visit appearance and find “404 Error Page,” then select a page to show as a 404 page.

You can easily set up a 404 error page in WordPress using the plugin.

Thus, it is easy to design a 404 page by hiring a developer if you do not have the necessary skill or create it using a built-in editor.

How to make a custom 404-page using a website builder?

What is a custom 404 page? Instead of showing a boring 404 error page, you can make it humorous or exciting to your audience.

A 404 page may be easily created using a website builder. In addition, you may generate error pages quickly and easily by establishing a new page and making it the default.

When developing a custom 404 page, examine the guidelines provided by your website builder.

How to make a custom 404 page using HTML?

Websites that don’t utilize content management systems (CMS) or website builders might have a custom error 404 page configured as the default.

Quick Note: If you do not have prior experience in HTML web development, you should hire a developer or use website builder software.

Simple 404-page HTML code.

First, installing FTP software such as FileZilla could be significant. Then log in with your credentials and visit your server root directory. Here, find a file name, “.htaccess.”

Edit your .htaccess file using Filezilla.

Open this file with reading and write access and add the below line:

“ErrorDocument 404 /404-page.html”

Using this code, you direct your server to a page named “404-page.html” if the server does not find a page searched by a visitor.

Now, you should make a custom file and name it “404-page.html”.

You are done.

Next time someone visits a non-existent page, they will see your new 404 error page.

Recommended Reading: 8 Smart Steps to Make Your Website Loading Speed Faster than Before

How to make your 404 error page stylish?

It’s easy to make a 404 error page. However, to keep people on your site longer, you’ll need to put in more time and effort to make it stylish.

You should look for these three characteristics in a decent 404 error page.

Simple dialog of the error page.

Websites with 404 error pages frustrate and confuse users. “Servers” and “no replies” aren’t going to help anybody comprehend what’s happening.

Using primary language like “This page does not exist.” is the simplest way to tell your visitor what’s happening here.

“You’re looking for a page that doesn’t exist.”

“We’re sorry, but we couldn’t locate the requested page.”

Visitors will know after they click on the link and see your text.

Alternatively, include a list of plausible factors for the visitor’s 404 error page.

“I think you wrote it wrong in the URL address bar. Am I correct?”

“Most probably, the site owner deleted this page; I am sorry.”

Your personalized 404 page will have a lower bounce rate if you utilize straightforward language and provide an explanation.

Take a look at how the big brand makes their 404 page.

Here is a perfect example from a big brand.

It’s a plain explanation that everybody can grasp. Because it has a character from the brand and rhymed words, it is in keeping with its brand identity.

Quick Note: Take it easy; nothing is complex here. Look at the big brands, and you will find out that they make the whole thing enjoyable rather than dull and irritating to their customers.

Encourage your audience to visit the relevant page.

It’s time to keep improving your 404 page now that it’s online for people to view.

They may be unsure about where to go after seeing the error page. Therefore, you must also address this question on your 404 error page.

A compelling CTA will point your website’s visitors toward further resources they may find helpful. Some instances of CTAs are as follows:

  • Take visitors back to your homepage.
  • Products and themes that are most popular on your site.

If they can’t find what they’re seeking for the first time, they may return and try again.

Visitors may quit your site if you do not provide a call to action button on your 404 page. Using a CTA may help avoid this.

Along with the CTAs, be sure to provide a way for users to connect with you. Such as your social media page to follow you or a subscription option.

If your website visitors don’t find your CTAs particularly helpful, it will be easier for them to contact you.

Another excellent example of a stylish 404 page.

Here is another brilliant example of a 404 error page.

Make your audience laugh.

Finally, make it humorous to entertain your audience as much as possible.

This could be one of the perfect examples of a humorous 404 page.

Doing so makes your audience laugh instead of getting frustrated or angry.


How to fix a 404 error?

First, check with a browser to see if the 404 error is still showing. If the error persists, you should visit your website admin panel and find out why the error occurs. Most of the time, a 404 error occurs because of URL mismatches, or you probably mistakenly delete the content.


Most website owners, especially those new, do not know what a 404 page is and how to set it up. It’s okay if your site is brand new; however, once you start getting a handful of visitors, I advise setting up a 404 page as soon as possible.

Our guide will help you learn more about the 404 page and how to set it up. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask us in the comment section or email us.