How to Find, Resolve and Identify 404 Errors on Your Web Site

Arsen K

May 19, 2021

To keep a website running smoothly and optimized, any problems need to be fixed. One of the most common and frustrating problems is a 404 error page on your site. Fortunately, fixing this issue is pretty straightforward.

What is a 404 Error?

When someone types in a website address and the address is not found, the web server will return a 404 error page. 404 pages are often used as default error pages, but there are plenty of other reasons your web server may be returning a 404 error.

The most frustrating reason for receiving this error is when someone finds your site and gets confused about what exactly they did to get the error. However, it's important to keep in mind that this will happen on virtually any site. The important thing to do when you find you have a high number of these errors is to understand how they happen and how you can fix them so you get more traffic to your website instead of less.

How to Fix 404 Errors on Your Website

There are essentially two ways to fix 404 errors; they are both done at the server level. The first is to set up a specific 404 page. This is often a page that encourages users to return with an email address for more information, signs them up for a mailing list or redirects them to the main page of the site (sometimes with added links pointing toward pages on the site that would be useful for visitors).

The second way you can fix this issue is by updating your .htaccess file, which controls your site's error response. Sometimes this file will have some errors you can correct, or you may need to modify it with new rules. Regardless of which method you choose, you need to fix the problem at the server level. Your website may still receive this error in the future, but at least now you know why it happened and what needed to be done.

How to Track 404 Errors with PrivateAnalytix

Go to your PrivateAnalytix dashboard and create a goal.

Click on the "Create" button

You will be greeted with a dialog box. In this box, select "Custom Event" in the dropdown.

Then fill in the rest.

1. Create a name, like "404 Events". This name is for you to identify the event.

2. In the "Key" field, type "404".

3. Finally, click "Submit".

This goal will track the number of 404 events on your web site.

Finding 404 Errors

There are two ways to track these errors; one is by going through your server's analytics reports and the other is by using a third-party service. The advantage of going through your server reports is that this will help you see what exactly happened when visitors got the error. This can be helpful in figuring out why people are getting this error in the first place. If, however, you'd rather not track them manually, a third-party service like UptimeRobot will help you find any problems with your site quickly and easily. They'll also let you know how long errors have been occurring, which means you can sort out long-term issues from short-term ones. No matter which method you end up using, it's important to know when you're getting these errors, why they happened and how to prevent them from happening again.

Removing 404 Errors on your Website

Not only is it important to eliminate 404 errors from your site, but it's also possible that there are other errors on your website. In fact, if you use PrivateAnalytix, you'll be able to track all of the 404 events on your web site. If you know the specific error is just a 404 error and there are no other issues, you're in the clear. However, it's helpful to not have any open errors in your server logs, so you can avoid these future errors altogether by taking steps to fix them.

How to Fix 404 Errors on your Web Site

If you want to get rid of any future 404 errors on your site, there are a few things that are important to remember. First off, if you use PHP, make sure that everything is up to date on your server and that web requests are going out correctly (that the web server isn't logged into itself). Google also recommends removing old scripts from your site. Take note of the file extension and then determine which scripts are no longer needed by checking to see whether your site is using them. Once you know what you need to get rid of, check your server logs for any errors that may have been experienced while trying to remove the script. If you find any, make sure they're removed from your site and that everything is configured correctly so it won't cause problems in the future.

How to Prevent 404 Errors

If you're still falling short, there are a few other things to consider. Perhaps your site doesn't have enough traffic to cause these errors in the first place; however, if you still receive them on a regular basis, it could be a sign that something else is wrong with your website's design or functionality.

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