If you are searching the web for some specific content then you may have come up with 404 error page displaying –
“The page cannot be found. The page you are looking for might have been removed, had its name changed or is temporarily available.”
This usually happens when there is no URL to deliver the content, some of the reasons of 404 Errors are:-
- The URL to that page/post have changed
- You may have typed the wrong URL
- The link may be broken
- The redirect may not be working properly.
An active website cannot avoid 404 errors completely,but it can be minimised. And the best part of wordpress is that it has several plugins to manage the 404 errors.
404 Errors Impact on SEO
A 404 error impacts your SEO in a bad way. Since a visitor will land on a 404 error, he/she will definitely hit the back button without delaying even for a second and this will result in bounce rate to increase.
The increased bounce rate will have a negative impact on your SEO and it may take a while for your website to recover from this.
If you are using Google Analytics plugin, you can see the errors easily as they are tagged and can be managed and redirected speceially for google through the webmasters tool.
But sometimes search engines can show more results of 404 errors as the spiders and bots crawl the hidden and deep links which a normal visitor may never visit. So, even hidden links are a source of 404 errors for the search engines.
Sometimes images and video embeds links are broken or changed and can return 404 error. This errors will not hamper your seo but it will not be a pleasant experience for your visitors.
So here the wordpress plugins comes into use. This plugins not only scans your site for 404 errors but also fixes them on your site, means that other search engines won’t get the 404 error and your visitors won’t end up with that sad 404 page.
How To Fix 404 Error On WordPress Posts .Sometimes your wordpress homepage shows working perfectly but the post and page returns an 404 error. Learn how you can fix it in 5 mins all by yourself.
An active website cannot totally avoid these errors, but a lot can be done to keep them down to the minimum.
Fixing 404 Errors
Fixing wordpress errors is easy if you know where the error is located. And if you choose to take the help of plugins than fixing errors would be a lot easier that doing it manually.
Have a look at – Complete Guide on Fixing WordPress Errors. Or you can download the pdf
There are many plugins that help you in finding, monitoring and redirecting broken links. I’ve listed a few of the popular ones here that do the job quite well.
Here is the complete list of all the plugins that can help you fixing 404 Errors in wordpress:-
[Note: We have organised them sytematically, from top to bottom according to their performance and ease of use.]
- Broken Link Checker
- 404 to 301
- 404 to Start
- Quick Page Post Redirect Plugin
- 404 Error Logger
- WordPress Ultimate 404 Plugin
1. Broken Link Checker
Broken Link Checker is a free plugin that can be found on WordPress repository. Its the first and the best plugins that comes into mind for handling 404 errors and on SmartActiveBlogger we make use of that plugin. It automatically scans your website and list all the broken links.
It automatically scans your website and list all the broken links in admin area, it may take time to list all the broken links as the scan will be done on your entire site and the scan time depends on the size of your website
It has a cool function of email notification, the plugin will automatically send you an email and notify you if their is a new broken link.
Redirection helps you keep track of 404 errors and manage them by using the 301 Permanent Redirect. Its another popular plugin on wordpress repository. Currently at the time of writing this post its has over 500,000 active installs.
Its very helpful if you want to redirect the spiders, bots and your readers from the broken url to the new url.
3. 404 to 301
404 to 301 or the Redirection, both the plugins works the same, redirecting any 404 errors to a new url but it has a few options like 301, 304 and 307 redirects. This numbers are specified to let the search engine know that either the page has moved temporarily or permanently.
It also comes with the cool feature of email notification but the twist is that this plugins allow you to disable the redirect feature and turn into just a monitor mode.
Its free, lightweight and easy to use. Developers and other users can access the plugin on GitHub.
4. 404 to Start
404 to Start can be said to be a rocket when it comes to catch 404 errors, it detects and notifies you about the 404 error even before search engine does. It has both 301 and 302 options for permanent and temporary redirects.
By default the plugin setting is set to 301 permanent redirect which can be toggeled to 302 redirect. You can set this plugin to automatically redirect all the 404 errors to homepage or set individually each and every redirect
You can choose an option to receive an email alert. It has a small built in analytics that notifies you about the browser the visitor is using and the URL they are trying to visit.
5. Quick Page Post Redirect Plugin
Quick Page Post Redirect Plugin is box full of option, it comes with quick and advance version.
The quick version lets you a type of post to redirected to any desitnation URL. The plugin will automatically redirect to the URL that you filled in.
The Advanced version comes with meta box for each post type and individual post/pages. You can then edit each and every post type and redirect them to a new and different urls. This feature is best if you are changing your domain address or redirecting the old post to the new ones.
6. 404 Error Logger
404 Error Logger is a simple and effective plugin that logs all the 404 errors found on your site. This can be helpful for you to identify all the broken links and it also records the IP address, user agents and referreres for better analysis of the errors.
The only problem is that this plugin doesn’t work if you are using a caching plugin.
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7. WordPress Ultimate 404 Plugin
WordPress Ultimate 404 plugin is a premium plugin and it gives you total control over your 404 pages. It comes with 4 premade templates that you can choose to display as your new 404 error page.
It also gives you the option to customise the templates and also it has the option to display your built in 404 error page that comes with your theme.
It comes with great feature out of the box, it records all the 404 errors with the visitors search keyword which can benefit you in SEO. You can define and redirect each 404 errors and also it tracks the hits of each error, so that you can know which page is most visited
The plugin is available to purchase at CodeCanyon for $19. It comes with future updates and 6 months support. Support can be extended to 12 month for an additional $5.70
It is important to fix all your broken links inorder to have a good SEO impression and to avaoid your visitors bouncing back. In your to do list of WordPress maintenance, you can –
- Schedule for regular 404 Error checks.
- Check both internal and external links regularly.
- Use WordPress plugin, desktop softwares or a web application to avoid broken links.
- Your frequency of checking should depend on the volume of your website and the contents it have.