404 Error Page: How to Design and Why Is It Important? Top 10 Examples You Need To See

What Is a 404 Page and Why Is It Needed?

404, also known as error 404, is an HTTP status code that means "not found."

A 404 response refers to a page (resource) that does not exist on the server. It is an HTTP standard way to inform users or search engine spiders that they have gone to a page that has been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable. 

The following is a sample HTTP header showing a 404 error:
HTTP/1.1 404 Not Found
Server: Apache/2.0.49 (Debian)
Date: Sun, 17 Apr 2020 22:35:49 GMT
Content-Type: text/html; charset=iso-8859-1

There are generally three kinds of 404 errors: server-side errors, client-side errors, and DNS errors.

  • Server-side errors are due to issues on the web server or within the website database itself. This is the most common type of error by far.
  • Client-side errors happen when a user's web browser requests a page that wasn't found on the server, but it does use some resources from that page anyway (such as images or links).
  • DNS errors mean that the domain name is not resolving to an IP address.

How to Set Up a 404 Error Page?

If you don't want to send a 404 error to your users, you can simply send them a custom 404 page instead.

There Are Two Ways For You to Set Up a Custom 404 Page:

Method one: You can create your own 404 error page by adding it in the root directory of your domain, then have Apache point at that file.

  • To do this, create an html file (such as "404.html", "notfound.html", etc.) in the root directory of your site.
  • Then add these lines to the .htaccess file of your website (sometimes there is no .htaccess file yet, but simply create one):

    RewriteRule ^(.+)$ /yourdirectory/yourfile.html [L]
    This will send any requests that cannot be matched to a file within the directory to yourfile.html, which can be a custom 404 page.

Method two: You can create a custom 404 page and then have WordPress automatically switch it whenever you receive an HTTP status of 404.

  • To do this, add the following code snippet (copied from here ) to your functions.php file, replacing .html with the extension of your custom 404 page:

    function wp_not_found($template) {
    return $template;
    else {
    $page = get_404_page(); // If we got a page, include it if it exists if (is_array($page)) { foreach ($page as $item) { include( ABSPATH . WPINC .
    '/template-loader.php'); // Then load the template. }
    } // Otherwise, tell them there's nothing to see.
    } else {
    wp_die(__('Error 404'));

  • In the above function, replace.html with the extension of your custom 404 page. If you have additional query parameters (e.g. ?s=abc), be sure to include them when changing $wp_query->request (for example $wp_query->request = '?s=abc' ).
  • Note that in the code snippet above, you can modify wp_die() to substitute your own custom message like "404 – Page not found" if you want, or leave it as is for a simple "Error 404".

What Should Be the Design of the Page With 404 Error And Why It Is Important?

The page design of 404 error is very crucial because it represents your company image in front of your users when they meet a non-existing page or link.

There are three elements on a 404 page: The most important one is related to the logo, another important element is the below-the-fold end-user content and thirdly, you can put more contact information here like Email, Phone number, address, etc.

10 TOP 404 Error Page Designs:

Although the 404 page is a page that displays an error, it is still one of the most important pages on the site. What is more, this is a place where everyone can engage their imagination. In the process of creating an exciting and attractive page, you should be inspired by examples that already exist.

In order to better understand how to make a page with a 404 error, we have collected the most interesting examples. Creativity is the most important thing in this case. 

  • The first option - is the standard of simplicity and minimalism. One of the most popular social networks Instagram hints to us that everything simple is brilliant.
  • The design of the page on GitHub is an example of the developers' cute imagination. Attractive drawn characters always attract attention.  Every user will hold his or her gaze for at least a moment in any case.
  • The 404 web page on Kickstarter and Evernote is a combination of functionality and an unusual approach to design. Using animation is another inventive way to make your site even more attractive.
  • Another example using animation is MailChimp. They have very professionally combined simplicity, functionality and uniqueness in their design.
  • Another tool in creating a bug page is branding. Spotify and NASA have no equal in this. With this technique, the page takes on a charm that continues the theme of the site.
  • But still the best in the connection of the website's topic, functionality and brand is the company Lego. They turn a bad user experience into an opportunity to sell.
  • However, the most effective method is the use of humor in the development of page 404. Companies like Blizzard, Mashable use this method.

We have given you 10 really cool examples of 404 page design. We hope that you got your portion of inspiration to design a non-standard option. George Bernard Shaw said "Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last, you create what you will." So dream, invent and do your best.