Once upon a time, in the early days of websites, the majority of 404 pages were not very attractive. Some people even called them ugly.
The 404 page had one job: inform visitors that the page (URL) they were looking for was “not found.” Unintentionally, these 404 pages sent potential customers to the back button, or even worse, the big red X.
Remember these? Cringeworthy, to say the least.
These days, it’s easy to find beautiful examples where websites created custom 404 pages to turn this “uh oh” moment into an “oh wow” moment.
Before jumping into how to create your own custom 404 page, let’s cover the basics:
What is a 404 error?
The 404 error message is a standard response code to indicate that the client (ie: web browser) was able to communicate with the server (hosting a website), but the server wasn’t able to find what was requested (ie: the web page).
To inform the user of this error, the website’s server typically generates a 404 page.
In most cases, 404 pages are triggered by:
- Pages that have been removed or deleted
- Pages that never existed - like a typo from the visitor while searching
- Pages that were renamed and not properly redirected (301 or 302 redirects)
How to make a custom 404 page:
This will all depend on what platform you use for your website. Keep in mind that most modern website builders automatically generate a “system” 404 page so that if you haven’t yet created something custom, you won’t be seeing an ugly 404 page.
To view your current 404 page, simply type in your website into any browser and add a few random characters at the end. If you don’t like what you see, or think it could be improved, you need a custom 404 page!
What’s the easiest way to make a custom 404 page?
Well, if you’ve built your website with PageCloud, all you need to do is create a page and name it “/404”. From there, you are free to customize it as little or as much you want.
Check out 15 beautiful 404 page designs.
If you’re using another website building platform, you will have to do a search for “website builder name + custom 404 page”.
Unfortunately, not all website builders make it easy or even possible to make a custom page. For example, if you’re using WordPress, you will need to learn how to code, and if you’re using Wix... Custom 404 pages are not yet available.
Try building your own custom 404 page with PageCloud today.