404 errors happen on the websites, whenever you change the URL of any webpage/script, image, etc. that the visitor tries to access. When the server fails to find a requested URL then it gives the annoying WordPress 404 error. If you can relate to this issue on your WP site, then here are a few steps that you need to take to deal with it.
Do you need to redirect your website visitors every time?
Redirecting all 404 errors can be bad for the search engine results. Please be reminded that they must lead users and search bots to relevant new destinations. You cannot simply redirect pages to any random web page, such as the homepage. Such practices can cause more problems to your website rankings.
A 404 page tells the search engines that a real page does not exist at that location anymore. Hence the Google bots will not spend time to crawl through those non-existent web pages. This can impact your website’s crawl coverage.
You need to ask yourself whether the content is really required on the website. If yes, then it is important for you to implement a redirect to a more relevant and new page. If the page doesn’t have the requirement to exist, then redirecting 404 errors can be bad for the search engine results.
WebFactory Ltd develops the best redirect WordPress plugin to fix the 404 error that most of the websites face. By using this functionality, users and search engines are sent to the right places. It automatically redirects your website users to the intended page quickly and effortlessly.
How to troubleshoot 404 errors?
To fix a 404 error you need to find out whether this error is caused due to the WordPress, or web server.
- If the file is static, then open the FTP client. Now verify whether or not the file exists.
- Open FTP Client. Connect to the server.
- Navigate to the location of the file
- Verify whether the file exists at that location or not
- If it doesn’t exist, then you have located the source of 404.
- However, if it exists, then pull the URL in a browser that leads to a 404 error. Find out whether this issue is based on WordPress or web server.
- For testing in FTP, create two documents at the root level [/var/www/yourdomain.com/].
Create an HTML file and name it test.html with the words “It works”. Upload this file to the location: http://yourdomain.com/test.html. If you find the text “It works” appeared on the server while it processes static files, then the issue is with WordPress.
A 404 error can adversely impact the performance of your website. Not just it frustrates users but also reduces your website ranking on Google’s Search Engine Result Page. Due to these issues, it is important to resolve the issue as soon as possible.
You can also use the reset WordPress plugin from WebFactory to speed up your WP site development. It is useful tool for developers who work on WP themes and plugins.