WP Umbrella Logo

How To Create A Custom WordPress 404 Error Page

The WP Umbrella Team

There is nothing worse than linking to a page that is no longer available. A visitor may be disappointed, confused, and make a U-turn, leaving your site promptly.

The good news is that you have something you can do to alleviate the situation and even make it humorous if that’s your style. Changing the generic, sterile default 404 page with one that is actually helpful is all that’s necessary. 

In this tutorial, you will learn how to create an individualized Page Not Found message so that your website visitors aren’t irritated when they hit a blank page.

But first, let’s look at why you might get a blank page when trying to access a web page.

How and Why 404 Page Not Found Errors Occur

404 errors occur when you click on a link and the server does not find the page you requested. Various reasons may be involved.

A 404 Error may display if the website to which the link connected was removed. Typically, this occurs when an outdated page with popular content is removed, despite it having a lot of links pointing to it. 

You might also get a 404 Page Error if a page has been moved to a different domain address. The server may be down (or inaccessible for some reason), resulting in a DNS error. Broken links may also be caused by firewalls, content filters, and other forms of content blocking.

In short, you’ll find broken links everywhere on the internet. Administrators or website owners are responsible for making the experience as pleasant as possible for users. You should keep in mind that Web users are generally impatient when attempting to find information. The user will waste no time looking for another site if they can’t find what they’re looking for on yours.

So your 404 page error better be cool!

How to Create a Custom 404 Page in WordPress?

In WordPress, you have several options when it comes to creating a custom 404 page:

  • You can edit your theme’s existing 404 page.
  • Create a custom 404 page if your theme does not have one.
  • Install a 404 plugin.

Be careful,if you’re editing a WordPress theme, it’s best to use a child theme. This way, you won’t be overwritten by theme updates.

Editing your theme’s 404 page

The first thing you need to do is determine whether your theme contains a custom 404 page.

Open the theme editor (Appearance > Editor) from the Admin dashboard.

Look for the file named 404.php on the right side of the page.

The absence of 404.php means your theme lacks a custom 404 template, and you’ll need to add one (as explained further in this article).

Otherwise, just click on the existing file and edit it right in the WordPress dashboard.

Creating a WordPress 404 Page From Scratch

There are two easy ways to create a 404.php file if your theme doesn’t include one:

1. Copy the 404.php from another theme and edit the page as described above.

2. Create 404.php by copying your theme’s index.php to your current theme. Remove the WordPress loop related parts and add the content that is relevant.

Using A WordPress 404 plugins

You might prefer working with a plugin if you don’t feel comfortable editing your theme’s PHP code. There are 404 plugins that will help you create an error page, and many are also able to track and record all page not found errors.

We suggest the following plugins:

Redirection is the most popular redirect manager for WordPress. With it you can easily manage 301 redirections, keep track of 404 errors, and generally tidy up any loose ends your site may have.

404 Solution converts your 404 traffic by providing your visitors with a better browsing experience and eliminate 404 errors on your site.

Colorlib 404 Customizer is a free WordPress plugin that allows you to create a custom and stylish 404 page quickly via the Live Customizer.

This amazing plugin offers you the possibility to edit and customize the 404 page so you can match it to your website’s design.

Wrapping Up

Hopefully after reading this tutorial, you will now be able to create a custom 404 page with a user-friendly message.

Your 404 page should have less intrusive messages if you want your visitors to come back to your site again and again. In addition, it is wise to limit the number of times a visitor lands on a 404 page.

We hoped you like this article. You might also be interested in our article on WP-Config.php file – Tricks for Advance Users and Beginners.