When you own a website and the links to your homepage are not working, just giving Redirect404 errors, that should be a cause for alarm. Despite the effort you put in ensuring that your site offers the best experience to the site’s guests, if you merely overlook these flops, your endeavors may be nothing but unproductive. 404-errors are harmful in that they turn away visitors who may negatively affect site traffic and backlinks too.
You may be there bothered, wondering, is this issue fixable? Do I need an expert to resolve the problem? In this article, we are going to enlighten you on the few simple steps that will help you fix the Redirect 404 errors.
What are 404 errors in web pages?
As you routinely browse through the internet, you may have come across a 404-error status code when trying to enter a particular website. The error indicates that the webpage you are trying to access cannot be found on its server. You might have entered the wrong address or else the link could be broken. 404 errors are frustrating to the users, though Google reports that this does not influence the rankings undesirably.
Causes of 404 Errors
One of the leading reasons of 404 errors occurring could be the user typing a misspelled URL address which leads to them not reaching the right website. To enter a particular website, you must type in the correct URL address; a wrong address will result in a 404 error.
The other cause of the error is when the server of the website becomes faulty causing it to lose the content of the site. That means that whatever you are trying to access is not practically present.
Nonetheless, the most regular source of the error is when you, as the owner of the website, updates a different blog post, but fails to update the new URL. Therefore, whenever someone tries to enter the webpage through the previous URL link gets the 404-error code message. Such links are considered broken and fixing them requires you to redirect the previous URL to the updated URL. Therefore, whenever the user clicks on the old URL, it will automatically redirect them to the new one. You can enable the redirection process by use of redirection tools such as plugins integrated with the blogging platforms such as WordPress.
Finding 404 errors
One of the methods for detecting broken links would be creating an account with Google Webmaster, and once you log in, there are tools to help you identify the faults easily.
You can as well use other broken link checking tools such as W3C Link Checker and Dead Link Checker. Once you identify the broken link, you may decide to delete it or fix the problem. WordPress has a provision for redirection plugins that help in redirecting broken links to the updated new ones. Some of the plugins you would find on WordPress are:
- Safe Redirect Manager
Safe redirect is among the most widely used redirection plugin on WordPress. The plugin is available at no cost, it is easy to use and has a provision of selecting the type of error code present. Safe redirect manager is the best redirection plugin for starters as it has a friendly and straightforward user interface.
Redirection is the most used plugin on WordPress having above 1 million users. It is available for free, and it’s easy to use with straightforward procedures to redirect the broken links. It has a feature that restricts users of some browsers from redirecting and allowing redirect on specific browsers.
- All 404 redirect to homepage
This is yet another popular redirection plugin existing on WordPress for free. It has a feature that distinguishes it from other plugins; it redirects all 404 pages to your webpage automatically rather than providing the redirect URLs for an individual to follow the link manually. Therefore, with this tool, the user does not even get the 404-error code message.
- 5sec redirect
WordPress provides the 5sec redirect plugin at a cost thereby making it appropriate for users with sophisticated needs. It has advanced features such as complete URL cloaking support, redirects any page or custom-made URL, in-built statistics for redirects, and absence of permalinks does not affect its functionality.
Steps involved in redirecting 404 error pages
404 pages are essential as they help you identify when there is a broken link or other faults related to lack of web content. Sometimes, the disappeared content may be merely not much. For such a case, it would be easier to redraft the material and to redirect those broken links manually. However, for a substantial amount of content and broken links, here are some straightforward steps that you should follow if you want to use a plugin tool such as All 404 Redirect to Homepage or redirection.
- Install the specific plugin
For an adequate description and more comprehensible illustration, we are going to focus on one redirection plugin, ‘All 404 Redirect to Homepage’ available on WordPress. The first step will be to install the plugin by logging into your admin dashboard. On the menu bar click on Plugin, then go to Add New. Look for All 404 Redirect to Homepage and click on it to install. Finally, click on Activate and the plugin is now active on your WordPress account.
- Personalize the plugin
After installing the plugin, you need to customize its options for it to serve the purpose adequately. The first thing you want to do is to enable the plugin. Click on the Settings and go to the plugin’s settings by clicking on All 404 Redirect to Homepage. On the redirection status button, check to enable. Once the plugin is activated, what you need to do is to set your homepage as the page to be accessed after redirecting broken links. To do this, input the address of the page on the dialogue box labeled ‘redirect all 404 pages to’ then save the adjustments by clicking on the Update Options.
- Try out the plugin
Once everything is set up, you can assess the working of the plugin by inputting a misspelled URL address on a browser. See whether it redirects you to your homepage, if it does, its then good to go.
With platforms like WordPress, you are assured of better-quality services due to such provisions of redirect tools. With fixed broken links, you can make more out of the internet including marketing your products through blogs. If the information reaches many people through the internet, your business may be potentially viable therefore ensure that your page is smoothly accessible