404 page not found WordPress explained – Create a 404 page

Let’s discover all about 404 page not found WordPress and how a proper 404 page not found design provides a better user experience.

“404 page not found WordPress” is a term people often search on the internet. So, what does 404 page not found mean? What is the purpose of this? Why do we need a good 404 page design on a website? What is the relation between user experience and a 404 page not found design? And, last but not least, how to create a custom 404 page in WordPress?

I will try to answer all these. Let’s dive into the article.

What does 404 page not found mean?

When you see this during a visit to a website, it means your web browser was successfully connected to the host aka the website’s server. But it was unable to show the resources that you were trying to see.

Let’s say, you are trying to visit “exmaple.com/page-url” but it shows “error 404 page not found”. It is because there is no content now with the slug page-url on exmaple.com.

Take Google as an example.

An example of a google error 404 page not found

It is not always a web page. It could be any missing files (image, js, or CSS) on the server that can generate this error on the browser.

What causes the error 404 page not found on WordPress?

Often people say “error 404 page not found WordPress”. If you use WordPress, then it is simply a page view that displays in certain cases when you visit a website. Now, the question is when it shows and why?

The one-line answer is, it shows when a page user looking for does not exist for some reason. Well, the reason could be the webmaster deleted or changed the page URL without proper redirection.

But remember, if this error shows on all of your WordPress site’s URLs, then it is normally something wrong with your WordPress website’s permalink. Saving the permalink again from the WordPress dashboard Settings should fix this site-wide issue.

Purpose of a custom 404 page not found design

Now, we already know “what does 404 page not found mean”. So, what is the purpose to display this 404 page not found on the website?

The simple answer is, by showing this, we tell users that the page you are looking for does not exist. From this page, we also direct users to other pages and help them engage properly.

Why do we need a proper 404 page design?

A 404 page with proper instructions is crucial for a website. Let me answer why?

Imagine, you landed on a website, maybe from search results, and found the page does not exist. In this situation, you become confused, right? So now, a 404 page design with the right instructions can help you overcome this situation.

For example, a 404 page with the text, “Oops, the page you were looking for was not found” will give you a clear message. And the further text, “We hope you can find the information you are looking for by visiting our Home Page or using our search function” carry a more personalized message.

An example of 404 page not found design
A good example of 404 page not found design

With a perfect 404 page design, you will have a clear idea and can decide what you should do next.

404 page not found design and user experience

A standard 404 page not only gives users a clear idea but also helps them navigate the website properly. Your prospective customer will obviously get a better user experience when browsing your website. And, a better user experience means better brand value and conversion.

A lot of website owners do not even bother to put a proper 404 page not found on a website. But, nowadays, when so many businesses are online, you are just behind your competitors if you do so.

When it comes to better user experience, a 404 page not found design plays a crucial role. It helps people navigate through your website properly and creates a good impression of your business.

How to create a custom 404 page in WordPress

WordPress powers around 40% of the world’s websites. That is why “404 page not found WordPress” or “how to create a custom 404 page in WordPress” are very much popular search terms.

I will now show how you can create or customize your default 404 page on the WordPress website.

Please note I will show this 404 page not found design procedure on a WordPress Full Site Editing (FSE) Block Theme. Because this is the latest way. In a classic theme, this solution is different.

Default 404 page not found WordPress

default 404 page not found design
Default 404 page not found design in WordPress

So above is our default view of the 404 page with the default Twenty Twenty Two Block theme. It has “404″ with big letters and then the text “This page could not be found. Maybe try a search?” with a search box.

Nothing wrong with this but only the lack of personalizations and the proper instructions. It means a bad user experience.

Customize the 404 page design

Study shows that non-techy users don’t understand what this 404 number is. So, this can easily confuse them. Let’s customize the design and overcome this 404 page not found WordPress thing.

First, log in to your WordPress dashboard and then go to “Appearance -> Editor“.

how to create a custom 404 page in wordpress
Start creating a custom 404 page in wordpress

Now, click the top dropdown “Home”. It will expand, and if you click the “Browser all templates“, it will open all the template lists.

Template list view
Template list view

Now click on the “404“, template.

404 page template
404 page template

The default 404 page view will display. Now, click on the settings tab at the top right and then click on the 404 text block in the body.

Settings view of the 404 page template
Settings view of the 404 page template

Let’s change the “404” text to “Oops, the page you were looking for was not found” with the heading level 2. Next, style it a bit from the right panel and from the block itself.

Fixing the so called error 404 page not found
Fixing the error 404 page not found

Also, change the small description to “We hope you can find the information you are looking for by browsing our Home page or using our search function.” Of course, I will give a link to the text “Home” and provide a “Search Function“.

Changing the description of the WordPress template
Changing the description of the WordPress template

In this way, your users will have a clear idea and navigate through your website properly. Meaning the users will get a better experience when visiting the website.

More customization possibilities for the template

You could also apply a background to the whole block and apply some padding to make it stand alone.

Customizing 404 page template
Customizing 404 page template

This is just an idea of customization but you could also apply background, or other text to give your users a more personalized experience. It is up to your wish and imagination. The main goal is to provide a better experience to your users.

404 page not found design
Completed 404 page not found WordPress design

So, we are done! Isn’t it simple to create or customize a 404 page design? I believe your answer is yes. Wow, we just learned, how to create a custom 404 page in WordPress using the Full Site Editing (FSE) Block theme.

I hope, now your query about error 404 page not found WordPress” has come to an end :).

I regularly write tutorials on new topics that can help you scale and grow your digital business. Let’s keep in touch and be ahead of your competitors

Please check these quality WordPress themes and create your next WordPress website project easily. Also, remember to subscribe to the Youtube Channel for awesome content. Till then take care :).

About the Author

Jamal is a WordPress Developer having more than 10 years of experience and is based in Helsinki, Finland. He is doing his 9-5 Developer job but, in his free time, he loves to create tutorials and connect with people.

Hooray! Our FREE Figma UI UX design course has been released

X