The “404 – Not Found” is an HTTP status code. In the context of web browsing, it signals that the browser was able to communicate with the server, but the server couldn’t find what was requested.

Deciphering HTTP Status Codes

HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) status codes are standardized codes sent from a website’s server to your browser. They help identify the success or failure of your requested web page. The “404 – Not Found” is just one among a variety of other status codes.

Origins of the “404 – Not Found” Error

The “404 – Not Found” error emerged from the HTTP standard. The error means the page you’re trying to reach could not be found on the server. This could be due to the page being removed or moved, and the URL was not changed accordingly or that the page never existed in the first place.

Implications of Encountering a 404 Error

There are several implications when encountering a 404 error.

User Experience

A user encountering a 404 error may become frustrated and leave the site, reducing site traffic and potentially, sales or sign-ups.

SEO Ranking

Too many 404 errors can negatively impact a website’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization) ranking. Search engines like Google might lower the ranking of sites with many broken links, considering them to be of low quality.

Fixing the “404 – Not Found” Error

There are several ways to handle 404 errors on your website.


A redirect can guide a user away from a 404 page to relevant content. This is especially useful if the missing page has a similar page somewhere else on your site.

Custom 404 Page

Creating a custom 404 page with helpful links and a search bar can turn a negative experience into an engaging one.

Regular Audits

Regular audits of your website for 404 errors can help catch and fix them before they become a problem.

Preventing “404 – Not Found” Errors

Prevention is better than cure, and that’s true for 404 errors as well.

Keep your URLs consistent

If you change the URL of a page, make sure you update all the links to that page.

Use a URL redirector

A URL redirector can redirect old URLs to new ones, preventing 404 errors from occurring.

Regularly test your website

Regular testing of your website can catch 404 errors before your users do.

Table 1: Common Solutions for 404 Errors

RedirectingGuide a user from a missing page to relevant content.
Custom 404 PageCreate a custom 404 page with helpful links and a search bar.
Regular AuditsPerform regular audits of your website to catch 404 errors.


A 404 error occurs when the server couldn’t find the requested webpage. This could be because the webpage has been removed, the URL has been changed, or the page never existed.

Fixing a 404 error involves identifying the broken link, then either updating the link to the correct page, redirecting the link to a relevant page, or replacing the page that was removed.

If your website has many 404 errors, search engines may consider your site to be of low quality, which can lower your SEO ranking.

A custom 404 page replaces the standard error page with a custom one. This can help retain users on your site by providing them with helpful links or a search bar to find what they’re looking for.

Regular website audits, keeping your URLs consistent, using a URL redirector, and regularly testing your website can help prevent 404 errors.

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