How to deal with 404 error pages, best practices

Best Practices for Error Pages

What mean 404s?

Wen someone requests URL that doesn’t actually exist, most of the time, especially when using a framework the server will return an eror 404 page not found. In short, the server cannot find the file that the user is looking for.

Where the 404 error pages come from?

The 404 errors can occur from various reasons, like:

  • We have changed the structure of a link, a common situation is when changing the category urls and forgetting to do 301 redirect to new category urls
  • We removed content from the site, for example if we have a blog and deleted an older article
  • Even someone link a wrong url to your site

How to deal with 404 errors, which are best practices?

Over time I have seen different situations and opinions. For example, a practice is to redirect all 404 error pages to the home page.

A good practice I think it is to 301 Redirect the links to the most relevant posts, articles or categories.

If there is nothing relevant on your site where to redirect it, just let it be. In time google will deindex these pages, but if you don’t have patience to wait you can manually remove from Google webmaster tools.

Unfortunately, for a large site there may be a lot, and it’s very hard to remove them manually.
In this case, you can leave it as such, but for the user who gets on these pages, it is best to create a custom 404 error page not found.

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