This is my 404 error page. If you are reading this, then the resource you are looking for does not exist. Please use search tools to find what you are looking for. The 404 “Page not found” message is shown whenever someone asks for a page that’s simply not available on my site. The reason for this is that there may be a link on this site that was wrong or the page might have been recently removed. As there is no web page to display, the web server shows this “404 Page not found”.
What is an error page?
When communicating via HTTP, a server is required to respond to a request, such as a request for a web page, with a numeric response code and an optional, mandatory, or disallowed (based upon the status code) message. In the code 404, the first digit indicates a client error, such as a mistyped Uniform Resource Locator (URL). The following two digits indicate the specific error encountered. HTTP’s use of three-digit codes is similar to the use of such codes in earlier protocols such as FTP and NNTP.
At the HTTP level, a 404 response code is followed by a human-readable “reason phrase”. The HTTP specification suggests the phrase “Not Found” and many web servers by default issue an HTML page that includes both the 404 code and the “Not Found” phrase.
A 404 error is often returned when pages have been moved or deleted. In the first case, a better response is to return a 301 Moved Permanently response, which can be configured in most server configuration files, or through URL rewriting; in the second case, a 410 Gone should be returned. Because these two options require special server configuration, most websites do not make use of them.
404 errors should not be confused with DNS errors, which appear when the given URL refers to a server name that does not exist. A 404 error indicates that the server itself was found, but that the server was not able to retrieve the requested page.
Why have a 404 page?
Having a good Error page is perhaps as important as having great contents. Sometimes it may not be your fault visitors landed on error pages, but being able to communicate and direct them back to the home page is as good as a second chance to re-engage a visitor. Error pages help you do that.
If you have access to your server, we recommend that you create a custom 404 page. A good custom 404 page will help people find the information they’re looking for, as well as providing other helpful content and encouraging them to explore your site further.
An error page can be a standard HTML page. Therefore you can customize it any way you want. Here are some suggestions for creating an effective 404 page that can help keep visitors on your site and help them find the information they’re looking for:
Tell visitors clearly that the page they’re looking for can’t be found. Use language that is friendly and inviting.
Make sure your error page uses the same look and feel (including navigation) as the rest of your site.
Consider adding links to your most popular articles or posts, as well as a link to your site’s home page.
Think about providing a way for users to report a broken link.
No matter how beautiful and useful your custom error page, you probably don’t want it to appear in Google search results. In order to prevent 404 pages from being indexed by Google and other search engines, make sure that your web-server returns an actual 404 HTTP status code when a missing page is requested. Use the Change of Address tool to tell Google about your site’s move.