What’s the point of an error 404 page?

on Friday, 6 December 2013
When users are browsing your website, they might occasionally navigate away from the site or type in the URL incorrectly and be quickly confronted with an error 404 page. The standard 404 page isn’t much to look at, and other than alerting the user that the content they are looking for is no longer there, it serves very little function.

In some cases, if a user repeatedly struggles to find the content they are looking for, the user may decide to navigate away from the site completely and continue their search elsewhere.

This is perhaps why many webmasters have opted to change their error 404 pages to reengage the user and keep them browsing their site. Here are some common features of great 404 pages and their uses:

Search Box

Many users end up on 404 pages because they’ve incorrectly typed in a URL. Including a search box on the page might encourage the user to search for what they were looking for rather than navigating away from the site altogether.

Useful Links

Another simple way to keep the user onside is to include helpful links so they can click back to the homepage or other parent pages. This way, the user can quickly get back to where they were, rather than get frustrated and leave.


There are some great examples across the web where webmasters have got creative and included images, memes or cartoons in their 404 pages. A distinct and unique spin on the 404 page is great for brands, as it will grab the attention of the user.

Injecting a little humour into your 404 page might raise a smile from your user;it might also go some way to keep them on the site.


It’s seems obvious, but explaining to the user what the error means can be really helpful. A brief paragraph explaining that the content might have moved, the page has been deleted or the URL might be incorrect helps the user to get a rough idea of how they ended up on the page in the first place.

Southpark Studios 404



Virgin Holidays Cruises

2 comments on

'What’s the point of an error 404 page?'

  1. Hi Aktar, I was looking for solution for this error and thanks for sharing this article with us.

  2. I think this is your personal experience as the article show the real problem we face with the error 404 page... Thanks for shairng with us.