Do you want to know how to easily find and fix 404 errors in WordPress?
When a website visitor gets a 404 page not found error it’s not a good user experience and could result in them leaving your site and going to a competitor. Not only is this bad for business but it can also hurt your rankings in search engines.
No need to worry because we’re here to help you out!
In this post, we’ll show you how to find and fix your 404 errors in WordPress. We’ll also explain what 404 errors are and what causes them.
Feel free to use our table of contents to jump straight to the section you want:
- What Are WordPress 404 Errors?
- What Causes WordPress 404 Errors?
- Easily Find and Fix 404 Errors in WordPress
What Are WordPress 404 Errors?
WordPress 404 errors or 404 page not found mean that the web page you’re trying to visit is broken or doesn’t exist anymore. The page has most likely been deleted from the website or moved.
A 404 error is an HTTP status code, which means a code or short note that’s issued by a server in response to a request. And in this case, the request is to visit a certain web page that the server can’t find since the link is broken.
What Causes WordPress 404 Errors?
WordPress 404 errors are likely caused by any of the following:
- The page has been deleted
- The page was moved to another URL and the redirection wasn’t done properly
- You mistakenly entered an incorrect URL address
- The domain name doesn’t exist anymore
- Server malfunction (hardly ever happens, but it might)
To make this super easy to understand on a server level, we’ll walk you through a case example…
404 Error Case Example
Every time you’re trying to visit a page, you’re actually telling a server to send you that page. So when you for example are going to walmart.com, you’re telling the Walmart server that you want to see their homepage.
This is called a request. And the server then responds to your request by sending you back Walmart’s homepage.
For example, if you were talking to a real person, the conversation would go something like this:
You: I want to see your “Home Decor Deals” page.
Walmart’s server: Okay, got it. It’s coming right away.
However, if there’s a 404 error, it would sound something like this instead:
You: I want to see your “Home Decor Deals” page.
Walmart’s server: I’m sorry, I don’t know what that page is?
This response from Walmart’s server is bad and can hurt both the user experience and your SEO in more ways than one, which we’ll take a look at next.
404 Errors Can Hurt Your SEO
If your website visitors can’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll leave your page and find another one that works and can provide the answer they’re looking for. This means that you’ll lose a potential customer and your bounce rate will increase, which can hurt your SEO.
You’ll also lose all backlinks you’ve managed to get to your website and the extra votes they give your site. And we all know how important they are for SEO. Especially, since pages with a high number of backlinks tend to rank higher in organic search.
In addition, your deleted pages are still in the index (Google’s database), which means that users can find them in search results and click on them. And when your page displays a 404 error, it’s frustrating for users since they didn’t find what they were looking for.
That said, the best way to avoid this from happening in the first place is by redirecting your deleted or moved pages to your new ones using 301 redirects. This automatically sends your website visitors to a different URL than the one they landed on.
Let’s show you how to easily find your existing 404 errors and redirect them to your new ones using All in One SEO (AIOSEO) next.
Easily Find and Fix 404 Errors in WordPress
With AlOSEO’s built-in Redirection Manager, you can easily find and fix your WordPress 404 errors. Best of all, you don’t have to have any server knowledge to do this.
Alright, let’s dig in!
Finding Your 404 Errors
If you can see when a 404 error happens, you can easily create a 301 redirect and keep website visitors on your site. And this is where AIOSEO comes into the picture and will be your new “best friend”.
When a redirect is set up properly, it happens instantly, and your visitors often won’t even notice they’ve been redirected to a different page.
Also, the link juice (or votes) you’ve been working up will also be transferred to your new URL. That being the case, there’s no need to worry about losing hard-earned rankings on Google for your old content.
Once you’ve installed AIOSEO, the first step is to enable redirects on your website. Simply go to Redirects in the All in One SEO menu, and click on the Activate Redirects button.
Enabling 404 Logs
The next step is to also enable your 404 logs. Simply go to Redirects and the Settings tab.
Then, scroll down until you see the Logs section. And to start logging your 404 errors, click on the 404 Logs toggle so it turns blue.
Setting Log Retention
You can then set how long you want to keep your logs. Just click on the drop-down menu to the right of the 404 Logs toggle and choose your time frame.
Viewing and Deleting Individual Logs
Now that you’ve set up logging, you can easily view or delete your logs. To view your logs, you click on the 404 Logs tab, and you’ll see a list of URLs with 404 errors .
In the URL column, you can see the 404 page that someone has visited. And in the Hits column, you’ll see how many times it’s been visited. You can also see the date the URL was last visited in the Last Accessed column.
And to view the log details, simply click on the Additional info icon in the right menu.
Deleting Your 404 Logs
If you want to delete your log entries, you simply click on the Delete or trash can icon in the same menu.
Clearing All 404 Logs
And if you want to clear or delete all the 404 logs, you can go to Tools in the All in One SEO menu, and then click on the Database Tools tab. In the Logs section, you’ll see a section with 404 Logs. Click on the Clear 404 Logs button, and it’ll clear all the 404 logs.
As you can see, AIOSEO’s Redirection Manager makes it as easy as 1-2-3 to track and manage your 404 errors!
Now, let’s show you the simple process of fixing your 404 errors next.
Fixing Your 404 Errors
To fix your 404 errors and redirect them to another page of your choice, you simply click on the Add Redirect link.
This will display a simple form where you need to add your Target URL (where you want to redirect that URL to) and what Redirect Type you want to use.
The most common redirection type is 301 Moved Permanently. If it’s just a temporary redirect, you can use 307 Temporary Redirect instead. Just click on the drop-down menu to choose your Redirect Type.
For more details, please visit our step by step guide on how to add 301 redirects in WordPress.
We hope this helped you learn how to easily find and fix 404 errors in WordPress. By keeping track of your 404 errors, you can redirect them to your new pages before they hurt your SEO rankings. Your website visitors won’t even notice that you’ve deleted or moved a page.
One more thing…
Are you running a local business? Then, you may want to check out our local SEO checklist to help you rank in local search and on Google Maps.
Not using AIOSEO yet? What are you waiting for?