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Setup a Custom 404 Page

A person clicks on a link in the search results or on a link on another website and they get this 404 error.

The person’s next action? Leave. Click the back button. For many folks who browse the Internet often, it is almost a subconscious move when they see 404.

There is nothing that entices a person to pause and take a look around.

What does your 404 page look like?

Some WordPress themes have a custom coded 404 page template that may display a custom message or your blog archive.

Take a look at your 404 error page by typing in a url that does not exist.


Check for existing 404 Page Builder

Before you add a plug-in to create a custom 404 page, take a moment to check and see if you have something installed that will handle this. Below are a couple of plugins and themes which have custom 404 page ability. They link to help documentation on how to set it up.

If you have a custom theme that was developed for you, please check with your developer as they may have created a template in the theme files to handle 404s.

Custom 404 WordPress Plugin

You do not need to WordPress developer to create a custom PHP file to handle 404 errors. This site uses the 404page. This allows us to designate a WordPress page as the 404 error page.

Pair the 404page plugin with a Visual Page Builder such as BeaverBuilder and you can create an incredible page that makes:

  1. Makes a visitor pause. It is something different. There isn’t the automatic reaction to a 404 error to click back.
  2. (Optional) Makes a visitor smile. Some websites use a cartoon or funny picture to build an emotional connection.
  3. Have the visitor read on. Place some suggested links below the “Oops we messed up” message that they might like to read.

Take a look at this site’s 404 page… Yeah. It is kind of boring.

Sample 404 Pages

Here are some examples of 404 pages which try and engage the visitor to stay.

  • New York Times, Search bar with Top News and Most Emailed posts
  • Yoast SEO, Search bar with recent posts and email signup
  • Yaro Starak, Oops with a contact me link and free offer

Here are some links to blog posts that highlight the funniest or most unusual 404 pages… or just search on your engine for “funniest 404 pages”.

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