How to Find and Fix a 404 Error on Your Website

Encountering a ‘404 Not Found’ error can be a frustrating experience for internet users. This error occurs when the requested page on a website cannot be found. It’s not just an annoyance for visitors; 404 errors can also harm your brand and negatively impact your Search Engine Optimization (SEO), making it harder for search engines to index your site effectively.

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In this article, we will delve into the implications of 404 pages, methods to find them, and strategies to fix them.

Why 404 Errors are Detrimental to Your Website?

  • User Experience Degradation: Imagine the frustration of clicking on a link and being met with a ‘page not found’ message. This experience can quickly deter users from engaging further with your site. It disrupts the browsing experience and can damage the credibility of your website.
  • SEO Penalties: Search engines aim to provide the best possible results to users. A website riddled with 404 errors is seen as poorly maintained and unreliable. This can lead to lower rankings in search results, diminishing your site’s visibility and reducing organic traffic.

Common Causes of 404 Errors

404 errors typically arise due to:

  1. Deletion of Pages: Removing pages without setting up proper redirects is a common mistake. Users trying to access these pages are then confronted with a 404 error.
  2. URL Modifications: Changing the URL structure or moving pages without implementing redirects can lead to these errors.
  3. Typos in Links: Simple mistakes like typing errors or incorrect link formats can also result in 404 errors.

Methods for Detecting 404 Errors

Identifying 404 errors is the first step in resolving them. Here are some effective tools and methods:

  1. Google Search Console: This tool provides a comprehensive overview of your site’s health, including a list of 404 errors. By navigating to Diagnostics > Crawl Errors, you can access detailed reports on these issues.
  2. WordPress Plugin – Broken Link Checker: WordPress users can benefit from this plugin that scans your entire site for broken links and reports back with actionable data.
  3. Serpstat Audit: Performing an audit with Serpstat gives a broader view of your site’s health, including the identification of 404 pages. This tool helps you understand the errors and offers solutions.

Fixing 404 Errors

For WordPress users, the “Redirection” plugin is a popular choice. It manages 301 redirects (signifying a permanent move of a page), logs 404 errors, and helps tidy up your site. This can improve your site’s rating and reduce error occurrences.

Steps to Fix 404s using Redirection Plugin:

  1. Install and Setup: Install the Redirection plugin and allow it some time to scan for broken links.
  2. Navigate to Tools > Redirection: Access the plugin dashboard.
  3. Locate and Redirect Broken Links: In the dashboard, click on “404s”. Add a new redirect by entering the broken link under “Source URL” and the desired URL under “Target Link”.

This process may take time, especially for larger websites, but it is crucial for enhancing user experience and SEO.


What is a 404 Page?

A 404 page is an error message displayed when a website cannot find the requested page. It typically indicates a broken or dead link.

Why should I fix 404 errors?

Fixing 404 errors is crucial for providing a good user experience and maintaining high SEO rankings. Broken links can deter visitors and negatively impact your website’s visibility on search engines.

How often should I check for 404 errors?

Regular checks are recommended. The frequency can depend on the size of your website; larger sites may require more frequent checks.

Is it necessary to fix all 404 errors?

Ideally, yes. However, prioritize fixing those that significantly impact user experience or SEO.

Can 404 errors affect my website’s traffic?

Yes, frequent 404 errors can lead to a drop in website traffic as they negatively impact both user experience and SEO rankings.


While fixing 404 errors might seem tedious, it is essential for maintaining a healthy, user-friendly, and SEO-optimized website. Regular monitoring and prompt addressing of these errors can significantly improve your site’s performance and visitor satisfaction.

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