Sunday, June 05, 2005

Ask Girl Geek: What Causes a 404 Error?

Hi Annette,

What's this message in my website stats that say 175 people got a "404 error" when trying to visit my website?


Hi Deb,
Again, I have to go to my trusty expert, Julie, from Here's what Julie said.

A 404 not found error could me a lot of things. Let's take me, for example. If someone visits my site and bookmarks a page named design.htm and I change that page a few months down the road and then they come back. It's now gone. It's a 404 error. You will get that for many things even images that were there at one time and now changed or removed from the site. This goes for the search engines too. There are SO many little search engines out there. Of course they don't have the big money to update like google or yahoo. So, they cache many pages of the site. Normally the index.htm stays that and not index.html or .shtml so you never have to worry about that not being found. It's the deeper pages in a site that get cached and then results in a 404. And, it could be as simple as someone typing in a url wrong to a page in her site.

We have custom 404 pages that can be done in her site. Just take her template with the nav and change the text to say "oops, page not found - look to the navigation and find the correct page you are looking for".

Thanks Julie!

And thanks for asking!

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