The Importance of 404 Pages and How to Redirect Them
A 404 page, also known as a “Page Not Found” page, is displayed when a user tries to access a page that does not exist on your website. While these pages may seem trivial, having a proper 404 page is important for various reasons:
User Experience – Your 404 page provides an opportunity to inform users that the page they are looking for does not exist and suggest alternatives in a user-friendly manner. This helps improve your overall user experience.
Security – Improper 404 pages can expose vulnerabilities, so it’s important to keep them safe and secure.
How to Create a Custom 404 Page in WordPress
In WordPress, you can create a custom 404 template page:
Create a new page template called page-404.php and add the Template Name header:
<?php /* Template Name: 404 Page */ ?>
Add your custom 404 page HTML and content.
Go to Settings > Reading and select “404 Page” as the “Page for posts” option.
Select your “404 Page” template from the dropdown menu.
Save your changes and your custom 404 page will now display when a 404 error occurs.
Redirecting 404 Errors Automatically
You can redirect 404 errors to your custom 404 page using .htaccess redirects:
ErrorDocument 404 /404-page/
Replace /404-page/ with the URL of your 404 page. This will automatically redirect any 404 errors to your custom 404 page.
Keep 404 Pages Secure
To keep your 404 pages secure:
Avoid including sensitive data – Don’t include database info, configuration files, etc.
Limit page content – Only include essential information.
Use a plugin – Install a security plugin that can detect and remove sensitive data from 404 error pages.
Avoid custom error handling – Let WordPress or your theme handle 404 errors by default.
Hopefully this gives you a good starting place for optimizing your 404 pages in WordPress! Let me know if you have any other questions.