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How to Make a Custom 404 Page in WordPress

How to Make a Custom 404 Page in WordPress

It’s inevitable for every person to encounter a 404 error page at some point during their internet use. And while it’s difficult to avoid it sometimes, it doesn’t make it any less annoying when it actually pops up.

Therefore, the least you can do for your visitors is to customize this error page in order to make it more personable and user-friendly when they run into it. We will show you how you can create a custom WordPress 404 page with the help of two different plugins.

What is a 404 error page?

The server responds with a 404 error when it can’t find a certain page the user has searched for. In other words, that particular page or post does not exist on that website. This error message can appear because of a broken link, or if the user has typed your page URL incorrectly. Another reason why it can show up is because the search engines had already indexed your page before you deleted it.

Default WordPress 404 page

Every WordPress theme has an integrated 404.php template that shows the error message to users. Nevertheless, these templates look pretty basic, both visually and information-wise. Usually, WordPress will just inform the user that the resource couldn’t be found on their server. But, if you want a more personalized touch to this page, then we advise you to change it.

Setting up a custom WordPress 404 error page with a plugin

Forty Four 404 Plugin

Forty Four – 404 Plugin for WordPress is a simple and lightweight plugin that lets you modify its design with ease. A great thing about it is that it doesn’t load any unnecessary scripts, CSS or images. This means that your visitors won’t have to wait too long for your page to finish loading.

With the Forty Four – 404 Plugin, you get to change the background image, color scheme and the way your text looks like. The only thing that you can’t change, however, is the search box, which has to remain on this page.

Here’s an example of how your 404 page can look like with this plugin:

Example of 404 Page

Once you installed the plugin, you can find it by going to Appearance > 404 Page section in your Dashboard.

404 Page Section

As soon as you take a look at the plugin screen, the way to use it will be clear to you straight away. This is because it has an identical structure to that of a regular WordPress page. Namely, it contains a field for entering the title, as well as the text field. In other words, all the text that you enter into these fields will show up on the page itself.

Plugin Screen

Below you will notice the presence of some additional options, such as for changing the text and background color, whether you want your background to be a picture or simply a color instead, if you want to hide the 404 title, and more.

We’d also like to mention the Back to Home Text option. If you end up deleting the text from this field, then the link that leads to the home page won’t show up on the 404 page.

404 Page Plugin Options

On the right corner of the screen, right underneath the Publish button, you have an option that allows you to add your own Background Image. This setting activates as soon as you publish the page.

Publish the Page

We’ve also customized our own error 404 page with this plugin. You can see how it looks like in the picture below.

Page 404

If you’re interested, there is also a premium version of the plugin that contains some extra options, such as an ability to add a custom logo or menu on your 404 page.

Using a 404page – your smart custom 404 error page plugin

If you want to be able to add more elements on your page that will in turn make it more personalized and unique, then 404 page – your smart custom 404 error page plugin can be a perfect solution to you.

Custom 404 Error Page Plugin

This plugin functions in such a way that allows a 404 page to be built as a regular page. Then, it gets called via the plugin and gets placed as a 404 page.

After installing it, you can access it at Appearance > 404 Error Page in your Dashboard:

404 Error Page

From here, all that you need to do is choose an already-made page from the dropdown menu.

404 Page General Settings

When compared to the plugin we presented above, the 404 page plugin definitely gives you more possibilities. The former has predefined fields on the page, while this one gives you the freedom to create any field types you want and customize your page completely to your liking.

Setting up a custom 404 page without a plugin

If you know a bit of PHP and HTML, you can modify the 404 page in the code. This can be done by going to Appearance > Editor and then finding the 404 Template. Here you will also be able to change the default text which appears on the 404 error page.

404 Page Without a Plugin


We’ve provided you with a few ways that will help you easily generate your custom 404 page. The only thing left for you to do is to figure out how you want to design your 404 WordPress page, and then proceed with creating it.

Once you customize your error page, at least there will be no danger that the lack of personality default error pages usually have will turn off your visitors. So, go ahead and make your own 404 page ASAP, and don’t forget to let us know the results!

We hope this article was helpful. If you liked it, feel free to check out some of these articles as well!


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