When you visit a website and try to open a page, which doesn’t exist or a page with a broken link, the server usually sends the 404 error message “Not Found”. This server response tells browsers and search engines that the page is not available. For that reason when you make your site you should be careful to avoid broken links and error pages because they cannot be crawled by search engines and slow down the indexing of your website. The 404 error is a standard HTTP status code that shows that the client connected to the server where the site is hosted, but that particular page you searched for could not be found.
Custom 404 Error Pages
The standard message for every not existing page is “File Not Found”. However, these messages could be customized for any particular website. You can easily do this by using custom 404 Error pages. With this option, you can customize your 404 error message in order to make the page fit your website’s design and give your visitors additional information if you want to. When somebody looks for a page that does not exist it is also important to return the right 404 error response code and not just the page displaying the error. Custom error pages also help you to find the source of the broken URL and track how your site’s visitors got there.
Why is it called 404 Error?
Back in the early 1990s, when the HTTP status codes were established, Tim Berners-Lee, considered the father of the Internet, formatted a set of codes with three-digit numbers. All these numbers and codes are still being used and indicate different sorts of technical information.
All the codes that begin with a “4”, indicate a client error. This means that the user has requested something that cannot be reached anymore.
Different codes beginning with “4” are:
- 400 Bad Request – This message is displayed when there’s a request mistake for a particular website.
- 401 Unauthorized – Such a message appears when users try to access information to which they do not have permission.
- 408 Request Timeout – This appears when the server surpassed its maximum time to load a page before the request has been finished.