On my last blog, I showed how you can fix 500 internal error on WordPress. This was one of the most types of error most people face with their WordPress website. However, there are also some frequent issues people face with their WordPress website. On this blog, I will discuss another issue which people face with a wordpress website and that is error 404 not found. Like 500 internal error, this issue can also be fixed with some simple steps. So don’t be nervous take a deep breath and follow the steps I show you but first let’s have a quick look at what is a 404 error and what causes this error.
What is a 404 Error
Error 404 or sometimes referred to as 404 error depending on which browser you use. Wherever you or a user tries to access your website, your browser sends a query to the web server and gets back with information which includes an HTTP header. The Header HTTP contains HTTP location tags to clarify the application to what happened as you send a request. The application most of the time operates fine and the HTTP status code never appears. However, if there is something incorrect, your internet browser generally shows an HTTP condition tag notification that shows the precise issue. Just like any other error message, the 404 error is the result of such a process.
- 404 not found
- HTTP error 404
- Not found
- The requested URL was not found on the server.
- The page cannot be found
- We can’t find the page we are looking for.
Why 404 error not found occurs?
Now you know what 404 error is now let’s talk about why 404 error occurred on WordPress website. There are several reasons for it but it is nothing too serious unless it is causing issues with customer experience. So let’s look at some main issues why 404 error occurs:
- When a user mistypes your URL.
- If the users PC encounter caching issues.
- Your website may not have peddled to the DNS that you are using so when trying to reach one of the pages of your website, you see the 404 error.
- You use any plugin or theme which is not compatible with your version of WordPress you will see 404 error.
It’s important to realize that the 404 error occurs not only on WordPress alone. It can arise irrespective of the system your site utilizes. If you use WordPress, however, you have an edge as there are plenty of ways to solve the problem. Let’s talk about what you can do if you face a 404 error from WordPress.
How to fix 404 error not found
In some instances, 404 error discovered in the WordPress site will vanish quickly on its own. This generally occurs due to the web hosting provider’s fault. I will suggest you try the three methods I will show you on this blog before doing some serious troubleshooting.
1. Reset permalinks:
As I observed over the years the main reason for 404 error occurs on WordPress due to how the system generates the permalinks. WordPress offers different options for how you want to set the permalinks.
If you stumble upon 404 error the first thing you need to do is reset all your permalinks. To do that you need to login to your website using wp-admin login. Go to settings and select the permalinks tab. The tab will show you the current permalink setting which you are using at this moment. All you need to do it change it for any other options click save and after a few moments change it again the way it was and click save. Your 404 error should be ok right now.
2. Restore .htaccess file:
The .htaccess file can be found in any PHP based web application. This is one of the most important files in the FTP account as this file contains server related configuration rules. When reset the permalinks the .htaccess file gets rewritten as well.
To fix the issues you need to login to your FTP account. After you log in you will see a .htaccess file which is located in your root directory. All you need to do is download the file from the live server and edit it with notepad++ and copy the default code from this site: https://wordpress.org/support/article/htaccess/ which fits your WordPress website’s version. Then you re-upload the file into the root directory and refresh your website. Your site should be ok right now.
3. Deactivate Plugins and themes:
When none of the above alternatives functioned for you, a particular plugin is probably the cause of this error. This usually occurs when a mixture of plugins do not function well with each other. Unfortunately, it is not a simple and easy way to sort it out. All WordPress plugins must be disabled immediately. Sorry !!! The problem here is that you do not know which plugin is causing the issue so you have to do is select a plugin to deactivate it and check if your site still shows 404 error. Then you move on to the next one. If you find a plugin which is causing the issue you need to do is update the plugin if there is an update available. If not you can try the alternative plugin for the process.
If the plugins are not the one to blame then your theme is to blame. As there can be one theme active at a time it will be easy for you. You go to the theme tab select any other theme which is not in use. If the error 404 is gone after selecting the new theme then you should update the theme or use a different one.
Impact of 404 error on your website
404 error has a direct impact on your SEO though it depends why the 404 error is happening. If a user mistyped the URL then it will not have any impact on your SEO but however, if the issue is with your website content and google can’t crawl properly through your website then it will negatively impact your website’s SEO performance. If the problem is with the permalinks then google won’t be able to crawl through your contents. So fix it as soon as possible.
The site’s overall performance is at stake due to 404 error. Most people don’t know, but sites that generate many 404 errors can easily lead to performance problems since the responses typically aren’t cached. I have seen on many websites facing this issue, and it can be a big issue when promoting a page and sometimes viral traffic accidentally lands on 404 pages.