First lets start by explaining what a 404 error is. A 404 error is the error code that gets thrown back from the server when the server can't find the page you asked for. Browsers can see when this error occurs and will redirect the visitor to dedicated 404 page instead of just showing the browser not found page. Here I'm going to show you a Wordpress plugin that helps you remove all 404 errors from your wordpress blog by redirecting these pages to the correct pages. It will log when your website throws a 404 error and let you know the URL which the 404 has occurred on.
A good place to start finding out what 404 errors your website is getting is by using Google Webmaster tools. From here you can find out lots of information about your site. You can find out search queries, links to your site, the main keywords and crawl errors. The thing we are going to look at is the crawl errors section, here Google will let you know which pages are getting 404 errors and what pages are linking to them. This will help you narrow down the link which is pointing to the 404 error. This is a helpful feature but it doesn't log these 404 errors in real time and you can't delete the 404s after you have fixed the problem, so you have to wait for Google to re-crawl your site and notice that this page isn't a 404 anymore. I want to find a better solution to handle 404 errors as I don't like the idea of people coming to my site just to find a 404 error, I want them to find the page which I intend them to find.
I starting searching for a Wordpress plugin that can deal with 404 errors and found a plugin called Redirection.
Since installing this plugin it has become quite addictive to keep checking the logs to see what pages have 404 errors. It was surprising the amount of 404 errors that was coming through, not only from pages but from old images that I had on a couple of articles. This makes it obvious to me that some people have been stealing the images that I'm using on my site. From the 404 error logs you can can easily click on a button and the URL will be sent to a form to setup a redirection for the 404. All redirections will be changed into 301 permanent redirects which tell the search engines that these pages have been moved to a new location.
Here is the form that is used on the redirection plugin.
You provide it with a Source URL then you need to select what you want to do with the 404 error, you can redirect to a new URL, redirect to a random page, send to the 404 error page or just do nothing. The only option I use is redirect to a new URL, this is so I can make sure the 404 pages are corrected and go to the right pages. ## Since Using The Redirection Plugin
Since using this plugin I have removed most of the 404 errors on my site and can see additional activity from people using my site. For example I have seen that some people have tried to access my admin page but have gone to the wrong address. Things like this is useful to know so I can take action trying to correct security loopholes on my site. I highly recommend using this plugin on your Wordpress site and you get it from the Wordpress plugin directory.
Get weekly updates to your email