hosting picks » seo resources » custom error pages

Custom Error Pages:

 

404 custom error pages are pages designed to retain visitors that happen to visit a non existent page on your website.  The general 404 error that they receive and we’re sure you have come across it a few times.
 
Visitors trust is lost and general behavior will be to close the browser window.  This results in a lost visitor and most likely a lost sale/conversion.
 
In order to retain visitors we recommend creating custom error pages that notifies them of an error and allows them to view your html sitemap (so they can still browse what they were looking for), a search page (so they can search for what they were looking for) or ideally a content page related to the page that the error occurred on (folder related).
 
In saying that, custom error pages are a must and are extremely easy to setup.
 
Step1: Create a 404 custom error page (html, php, etc.) and name it 404.html (or your desired extension) – make it larger than 512 bytes or Internet Explorer will show its own custom Error Page.
 
 
Step2: Upload your 404 custom error page to a folder called /errors on your hosting server (/public_html/your domain name/errors)
 
Step3: Check to see if there is a .htaccess file in the root of your domain. Skip step 4 if the .htaccess file exists
 
Step4: Next create a file called .htaccess (.htaccess file must be lowercase and contain the prefix fullstop .) and place it in your website root.
 
Step5: Open the .htaccess file with a text editor and insert the following:
 
---------------------
ErrorDocument 404 /errors/404.html
---------------------
Step6: Save
 
Step7: Open a new browser and test the custom error page setup by going to a non existent page on your addon domain
E.G. http://www.hotel-traveldeals.com/index.htm_notavalidpage404errorexample – you will see our custom error page goes to a page similar to our sitemap page.
 
Custom Error Pages Troubleshooting and Common Issues:
 
Custom Error Page Issue – Microsoft Internet Explorer and Google Chrome:
If your Custom Error Page is smaller than 512 bytes Microsoft Internet Explorer and Google Chrome will show its own Error Page when it picks up a 404 error. We therefore recommend making your 404.html custom error pages larger than 512 bytes. 
 
Custom Error Page Issue Joomla SEO/SEF and Addon domains:  
Joomla site as primary in root directory with SEO (SEF) module – How to add .htaccess file to an addon domain.
This issue is experienced when trying to add custom error pages to one addon/secondary domains when you have a Joomla installation in your root/primary domain (You receive 500 errors and your 500 custom 500 error page wont load).
You need to create custom error pages, call them 404.html and 500.html for this example and place them in a folder called /errors in your addon domain:
/public_html/your addon domain name/errors
Using cpanel File Manager create a new file in your addon domains root folder and call it .htaccess (.htaccess file must be lowercase and contain the prefix fullstop .)
Right Click the .htaccess file and select edit
Add the following and then click Save:
-----------------
RewriteEngine Off
 
order allow,deny 
deny from all 
 
ErrorDocument 404 /errors/404.html
ErrorDocument 500 /errors/500.html
-----------------
 
Test the setup by going to a non existent page on your addon domain
E.G. http://www.hotel-traveldeals.com/index.htm_notavalidpage404errorexample
 
Cant find .htaccess file:
Either the file does not exist yet or cpanel file manager is hiding the file.
Make sure that cpanel file manager is not hiding files – you can set this when launching cpanel file manager.
If it does not exist, simply create a new .htaccess file


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