Rectify and Redesign: 404 Error Pages


Today, over 40% of the world's population has access to the Internet. That's more than 3.2 billion people around the globe, the majority of which surf on a daily basis.​

Naturally, like all things in this world, the Internet isn't perfect.

Every now and then, you try to access a web page and are presented with the most widely known error message of all time – the "404 Not Found".

But what does it mean...

Simply put, it means that the internet server you're communicating with can't find the page you have requested. Most of the time, the error is caused by a broken or dead link.

There are the rare exceptions when the "404 Not Found" error is not the server's fault, but yours.

To determine if this is the case review this short list of options below...

  •  Begin with the obvious - Check to see if you've entered the correct URL. If it is in fact correct then...
  • Force the page to refresh – you should be using Ctrl+F5, instead of the usual F5 or refresh button. That's because Ctrl+F5 will also clear the page's cache, then query the server for a forced reload.
  • Clear your browser's cache – before clearing your browser's cache, you should check the website from another device. There's no need to clear the cache if the website doesn't load from other devices as well.
  • Scan for viruses – on rare occasions, some malware types will cause a fake "404 Not Found" error on all the website you're trying to visit. Use a trusted anti-virus or anti-malware product to restore the health of your device.
  • Contact the website administrator – if none of the above has solved your problem, it's time to contact the person in charge of the website.
  • Contact your server host – if you're the owner of the website that's showing the error, and you're exhausted all of the options above, contact your server host. The problem might be on their side.

One thing you've probably noticed is that the "404 Not Found" page often has variations between different websites. This is because the page is fully customisable. It's up to every site owner to customise it or leave it in its original form. Which leaves room for much appreciated creative expression.

So now, perhaps you've decided that your sites 404 page needs a makeover. If so check out this handy guide with tons of creative inspo from Canva.

Because a broken link doesn't always have to be a let down.

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