What is 404 Error and How to Fix it?

Search engine finds out the stuff by following the links from pages to pages. For this purpose Googlebot visits the site and accumulate all the information: information about any new uploaded post, old post, broken link, incoming links to site or even any irrelevant link. 

After collecting all this information Googlebot report back to Google where after determine the quality. Thereafter instant information further processed for search indexing. 

Sometimes when you have made a website and the delete it, now when Googlebot will visit your site and crawl but it will not found your site. Now when a visitor will search this site, which is removed and not found by Googlebot, then search engine will respond with error “404” or “File Not Found”. Following may other replies by search engine you will receive:

  • “404 Error”
  • “File Not Found”
  • “HTTP 404”
  • “Error 404 Not Found”
  • “404  Page Not Found”
  • “The requested URL was not found on this Server”
  • “404 File or Director Not Found”

These were some words which we receive from search engine when search engine can’t find our requested website/URL address.

How to fix 404 error?

Common Causes of “404 Error”

There are many reasons due to which search engine could not found stuff and answer required user query, that’s why return back with 404 errors or file not found. Here I point out some major reasons due to which this error occur. 

  • When thesearched URL doesn’t exists.
  • When thesearched URL deleted.
  • When required URL not available for the time being.
  • When required URL renamed without redirecting from old URL to a new page.
  • When searched URL moved from another server.
  • When you written a wrong URL then also occur 404.
  • When Web service extension or MIME type is disabled.
  • When virtual directory is mapped to the root of a drive on another server. 
  • If Generative Rule on URL changed.
  • Wrong Spell in Backlinks
  • If required URL is prevented by DNS Setting
  • If required URL is password-protected from Googlebot Access
  • If required URL is not in Google Index. 

These are some causes as a result of 404 errors occurs and search engine could not find the enquired URL. It may be due to your own mistakes if you have typed a wrong URL or you wrong spelled any URL in address bar. Sometime it occur due to mistake of site owner or blogger because if he wrong spelling of URL in Google index. 

But sometimes due to one or two digit spelling mistakes, Search engine always shows the relevant results and the URL which are likely near to the enquired URL regarding their spell. I mean if their spellings are same, there is just difference of one or two digits, and then search engine will show those similar URL also. 

How to Fix 404 Errors?

In case if required URL is really not existing then you can’t remove this error. Let it be. 

Although there are two solutions to remove or fix 404 errors on the reason if URL is working and moved on any other location, renamed without redirecting from Old URL to new URL or any other reason excepting it has been deleted or not exist. One is provided by Microsoft Support while second I suggested. 

Solution by Microsoft:

To remove this error, first verify that required URL exists or not. 

Use the IIS Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in to determine where the file requested must exist in the IIS computer’s file system. This is mostly significant if the Web site uses a virtual directory (VDIR). 

A VDIR is a directory that is not contained in the home directory of the Web site, but appears to client browser as though it does. This virtual directory must be mapped to a subfolder on a drive or reference the files by name. 

For example, assume that the URL that caused the 404 error is http://Microsoft.Com/Test/File1.htm and the IIS snap-in shows that for Microsoft.Com Web site, the /Test/ directory is actually a virtual directory that maps to the location of c:Information on the IIS computer. This means that you must verify that the File1.htm file is located in the c:Information directory (and that the file name is spelled correctly). 

IIS6 Dynamic Content: A 404.2 entry in the W3C Extended Log file is recorded when a Web Extension is not enabled. 

Use the IIS Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in to enable the appropriate Web extension. 

Default Web Extensions include: ASP, ASP.net, Server-Side Includes, WebDAV publishing, FrontPage Server Extensions, Common Gateway Interface (CGI). Custom extensions must be added and explicitly enabled. 

See the IIS 6.0 Help File for more information. IIS6 Static Content: A 404.3 entry in the W3C Extended Log file is recorded when an extension is not mapped to a known extension in the MIME Map property. 

Use the IIS Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in to configure the appropriate extension in the MIME Map. See the IIS 6.0 Help file for more information. This solution is taken from https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/248033. 

E-Marketing Solution to Fix 404 Error:

I had discussed this topic “solution to Fix 404 Error” with other my two colleague Muhammad Naeem and Asad Niazi (both are also the member of editorial board of nadeemandco blog) at least continuously 4 to 5 hours. 

We go through dozens of top sites on internet on this matter and even we discussed this matter with some other blogger to guide us for prepare a simple, easy and useful solution for our respective audience and visitors. 

At end we summarized all our study, observation, discussions, deliberation and notes and concise them to a simple, easy and useful solution given as under. 

  • Press F-5 to reload/refresh the page, if error was temporarily occurred, it will fix the matter immediately and will show the required URL/Page.
  • Check URL. Is there any spell mistake or you have typed a wrong URL. If yes then type the correct URL and go through your required page. 
  • If 404-error is still occurring, go to history of your browsing data and clear up your browser cookies. If you are using Google Chrome simply write “chrome://history/” in web address bar and clear cookies. (Don’t write inverted commas) just write simple chrome://history/
  • If error removed after following the above mentioned three points then well, and if 404 Error is still occurring then use 301 redirect to remove the 404 error.
You can also use 301 redirection, to remove 404 error, step by step as given here:
  • Open Your Webmaster Tools and note down web page links which are error.
  • Open your web service directory.
  • Search file “.htaccess” > Edit the file
  • Now enter new error URL, then new URL, as given here: redirect 301 /<oldURL>http://www.newURL.com/ Or redirect 301 /<mywebsite>http://www.myownsite.com/
  • Similarly place all error URL in .htaccess> file to remove error. 
  • Save File and open your webmaster tools again in browser> crawl > all crawl errors > select all URLs > click marked as fixed. 
  • Your 404 error has been fixed. If not, will be fixed within 24 hours. Don’t take tension, now forget this problem.

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