Avoid HTTP 404 (Not Found) error

Updated on Mar 13, 2019

Method Type: User
(This means that this method is handled by user)

Status: Must be done by the user.


The Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is an application protocol and the foundation of data communication for the World Wide Web. When a user makes a HTTP request to the web server it is expected that he will receive a response from a page which will load and show content. This usually happens when there was a moved a page or resource but there is not redirect from the old URL to the new one. When that happens, the requestor will receive a 404 error instead of being automatically routed to the new page. Also, if there is a missing element in the code of the page (usually a .js or a .CSS file) on request, the web browser will be redirected to the 404 error page that will generate another full site load. If you have a few elements missing the result will be an even slower loading time. This can be detrimental to the user experience and will lower the visitor/client conversion rate for that website.

How to avoid the HTTP 404 (Not Found) error:

  • When you find a 404 error on your website you will have to check if the content existed in the first place.
  • If the content existed but was removed, you will need to remove the page.
  • If the content was moved you can setup a redirect to the new URL so the client can be properly navigate to it.
  • If the content never existed on that page, you may want to look into your admin dashboard and make sure there are no plugins that might have created broken links in your CMS. Also check your short URL settings and the redirect rules in your admin dashboard for any unusual configuration.

You can check for missing elements (.js; .CSS and others) on your website by making a request on this website. When you scroll you will see all of the elements on your website and their loading times. If you have a missing element the whole row will be marked in yellow.

Avoiding the HTTP 404 (Not Found) error provides the following Advantages:

  • Visitor retention and better chance for a visitor to become a client/user
  • Better overall user experience
  • Making a good impression for a well build and maintained website
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