Just in case you don’t know, a 404 Error Page is what your users see when they try to navigate to a URL that does not exist. Hopefully, this doesn’t happen very often, but given enough time and users, it certainly will. Perhaps they’ve mis-typed the URL, or maybe you’ve moved or deleted a resource.
This is a perfect “make lemonade” situation. Instead of the default, dead end page, by using a custom 404 Error Page, you can assure your users that your website is working and help them find what they were looking for, or something else of value on your site. Have a look at the screen shots below. Which would you rather your users see?
Custom 404 Error Pages are HTML files, just like any other standard web page, so you can make it look any way you wish, and add functionality that suits your site. All you have to do to install the new 404 Error Page on your website is upload it to the root directory of your site with the file name 404.html.
And that’s it!
A few last tips.
By adding a tracking code, like Google Analytics, to your 404 page, you can easily see how often people are landing there and diagnose potential issues or broken links. Also, make it clear that this is an error page. You don’t want it to look too much like a real page, or people may keep returning to the incorrect URL, or share it with others.