How to Find and Fix 404 Errors

If you’ve changed post slugs, taxonomy slugs, or permalink structures, you likely created 404 pages (page-not-found URLs) along the way.

These 404 pages certainly aren’t helpful for visitors who stumble across them and can increase your bounce rate. It can be a particular problem if search engines, pingbacks, and/or internal and external links are sending traffic to the old URLs.

Here’s how to resolve the issue:

Stage 1: Identify 404 Problem Pages

  • If you’re registered with Google Webmaster Tools, you can view the list of 404 errors that the Googlebot has come across.

  • You can also use the 404 Notifier plugin, which can notify you via email or RSS feed whenever a 404 error is thrown.

Stage 2: Redirect

  • If the 404 errors are due to a change in permalink structure, upgrade to the latest version of WordPress. WordPress 2.3 and above will automatically redirect your old permalink structure to your new one.

  • If the 404s are because of changed slugs, or other, more complex content relocations, use the powerful Redirection plugin to point visitors and search engines to the right place with 301 redirects.

14 Comments

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  4. Thanks for the helpful info. I never knew exactly what a 404 error was until now.

  5. This has been a learning experience for me. Great post!

  6. thanks for the info i am going to fix my urls. There are more then 300 404 errors in my webmaster…

  7. Thanks for the information. It was a bit disheartening to see I had so many 404 errors. I should be able to correct them now !

  8. Thank you so much for this, I’ve been looking for the past hour how to fix my slugs problem. I had no idea wth happend, I only changed the slugs a bit and then boom ! 5 x 404 Pages. Was so frustrating cause I didn’t even knew how to search for a solution. Finally found your site and now my problem is fixed. Thanks a lot. It’s so refreshing to see people that get to the point and not write stupid things for 1000 words that don’t teach you anything.

    Thank you

  9. AlexCH

    I’ve just had a scare with w3 cashe plugin. It messed up my htaccess big time. What a nightmare. Installed latest WP and all is good.

    Cheers

  10. yuvi

    Very useful comment…. but i am using a custom CMS, not wordpress. Please tell me how can i fix the 404 error?

  11. 404

    @ yuvi the information given by the author was helpful bro.

  12. Thanks I have seen these in my webmaster tools but I was never really sure what they were. Working on fixing them now.

  13. Jessica

    Thanks! This should clean my site up!

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