How to Easily Track 404 Pages and Redirect Them in WordPress

How to Easily Track 404 Pages and Redirect Them in WordPress

What is a 404 Error?

A 404 error is an HTTP status code, which shows that the server couldn’t reach the web page you are trying to visit.

This means that if you enter a URL of a web page that does not exist, then you’ll see a 404 page not found error.

How to Easily Track 404 Pages and Redirect Them in WordPress

Now, there are many reasons why 404 error occurs. It could be because you made a mistake when entering the URL address, the page was deleted from the website, or the domain name no longer exists anymore.

Another reason that may cause a 404 error is that the page was moved to another URL but wasn’t properly redirected, resulting in a broken link.

Last but not least, sometimes server malfunctions can also lead to 404 errors in a WordPress website.

Why Track 404 Pages and Redirect Them?

Now that you know the different reasons that could cause 404 errors, let’s take a look at why it’s extremely important for website owners to track 404 errors and fix them.

404 errors are bad for your site’s user experience. If users can’t find the page they are looking for, then they will likely leave your site and go to your competitors.

This means you’ll lose potential customers and miss an opportunity to convert your visitors into subscribers.

Aside from that, 404 errors have a negative impact on your WordPress SEO rankings. Search engine ranking algorithm often penalize websites when they run into broken links.

Not to mention, these broken pages will cause you to lose valuable backlinks for your website which results in lower domain authority and significant drop in Google keyword rankings.

let’s take a look at how you can easily track 404 pages and redirect them in WordPress.

Method 1: How to Track 404 Pages and Redirect Them in WordPress Using AIOSEO

The easiest way to track and fix 404 pages on your WordPress website is by using the All in One SEO plugin for WordPress also known as AIOSEO. It’s the best SEO WordPress plugin that is used by over 2 million professionals.

AIOSEO allows you to easily find pages with broken links and fix them with just a few clicks using their powerful redirection manager.

The best part about AIOSEO is that it helps you setup faster 301 redirects which helps you improve search engine rankings.

First, you will need to install and activate the AIOSEO Pro plugin. For more details, please see our step-by-step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Once the plugin is active, go to All in One SEO » Redirects and click the ‘Activate Redirects’ button.

How to Easily Track 404 Pages and Redirect Them in WordPress

After that, you need to visit the ‘Settings’ tab under Redirects to enable 404 logs and track pages with broken links.

Simply scroll down to the ‘Logs’ sections and make sure that the ‘404 Logs’ option is enabled. Next, select the time period to record the 404 logs using the drop-down menu. We recommend no longer than one month for optimal server performance.

How to Easily Track 404 Pages and Redirect Them in WordPress

Once you are done, go ahead and click the ‘Save Changes’ button.

Now, you will see a ‘404 Logs’ tab in the Redirects section in AIOSEO.

How to Easily Track 404 Pages and Redirect Them in WordPress

When you first enable 404 logs, this page will not have any data. It only starts monitoring 404 pages after you enable the setting.

Once activated though, AIOSEO 404 logging actively monitors for 404 errors on your website and will display them here.

It will show a list of all the URLs that have a 404 error, how many times the link was visited under the ‘Hits’ column, and the date when it was last visited under the ‘Last Accessed’ column.

Once you have identified the pages with broken links, you can simply redirect them by clicking the ‘Add Redirect’ button.

When you click the button, you’ll see the option to enter a target URL and select the redirection type from the drop-down menu. For example, you can move a page permanently by selecting the 301 Moved Permanently option.

After that, click the ‘Add Redirect’ button and your broken link will now automatically redirect to the new target URL.

How to Easily Track 404 Pages and Redirect Them in WordPress

Note: With time, the size of your log file can grow and take up a lot of disk space. The lack of WordPress hosting disk space can lead to errors.

To make sure that you don’t run into this problem, it’s a best practice to delete and clear 404 error logs.

With AIOSEO, you can easily delete any individual 404 error from your logs by clicking the trash can icon.

How to Easily Track 404 Pages and Redirect Them in WordPress

You can also bulk delete your 404 logs by going to All in One SEO » Tools and then click on the ‘Database Tools’ tab.

Now scroll down to the ‘Logs’ section and click the ‘Clear 404 Logs’ button.

How to Easily Track 404 Pages and Redirect Them in WordPress

Aside from tracking 404 errors, AIOSEO redirect manager also comes with permalink monitoring. This means if you delete a page on your site, or change the URL of any blog post, then it will automatically notify you to setup a redirect.

In some cases, AIOSEO can even setup the proper 301 redirects for you without any effort.

Bonus Tip: Setting up faster 301 redirects in WordPress with AIOSEO

AIOSEO allows you to setup faster redirects by going to the Settings tab and choosing the Web Server redirect method.

How to Easily Track 404 Pages and Redirect Them in WordPress

This allows you unlock significant speed improvements when compared to the default WordPress / PHP redirect method.

Method 2: How to Track 404 Pages and Redirect Them in WordPress Using Redirection Plugin

The next method to keep track of 404 pages and redirect them is by using the Redirection Plugin for WordPress.

Note: This is an advanced plugin and some beginners may find it harder to use.

First you need to install and activate the plugin. For more details, please see our step-by-step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, go to Tools » Redirection and then scroll down to click the ‘Start Setup’ button to set up your redirects.

How to Easily Track 404 Pages and Redirect Them in WordPress

After that, the plugin will ask whether you would like to monitor permalink changes in WordPress and do you want to keep logs of redirects and 404 errors.

Just select the checkbox for these options and click the ‘Continue Setup’ button.

How to Easily Track 404 Pages and Redirect Them in WordPress

The plugin will now test the Rest API status. When the status result comes back as Good, you can click the ‘Finish Setup’ button.

How to Easily Track 404 Pages and Redirect Them in WordPress

After that, you can add a new redirection for your 404 pages. To start, enter the URL of the page you want to redirect in the Source URL column.

Next, select whether you’d like to exactly match the query parameter, ignore them, or pass them through to the target URL from the Query Parameter drop-down menu.

Now enter the Target URL to which the 404 page will be redirected, keep the Group option to ‘Redirection,’ and click the ‘Add Redirect’ button.

How to Easily Track 404 Pages and Redirect Them in WordPress

If you want more options to set up redirection, then click the ‘gear icon’ next to the Add Redirect button.

You can begin by adding the old URL showing 404 in the Source URL column, selecting the Query Parameter like before, and adding a Title to describe the purpose of this redirect.

After that, select the Match option from the drop-down. You will see multiple options, including URL only, URL and referrer, URL and user agent, and URL and login status.

How to Easily Track 404 Pages and Redirect Them in WordPress

In most cases, you want to use URL and referrer. Mainly because if you see several 404 requests for a specific page, then it’s likely not a user typo error, but rather it has to be someone who is linking to the wrong URL.

Now, whenever someone else links to the broken URL or a post that you moved, it will automatically redirect them to the new location.

Next, make sure that your action is ‘Redirect to URL’. The other options are complex and require advanced technical knowledge.

In the redirection type, you need to select an option from the HTTP code drop-down (like 301 – Moved Permanently).

Lastly, enter the target URL in the Matched Target column. After you have entered this information, hit the ‘Add Redirect’ button.

You can go to the new URL to test and make sure that the redirection is working properly.

The plugin also has the option to track 404 error logs. Simply click on the ‘404s’ tab at the top, and the plugin will show you recent 404 errors that occurred on your site since you installed the plugin.

How to Easily Track 404 Pages and Redirect Them in WordPress

Note: if you just enabled the Redirection plugin, the 404 log page will be empty. It only starts keeping a log of 404 errors after the plugin is activated.

404 errors happen — it’s how you handle them that counts.

While 404 pages are often used to provide visitors with a clever message saying they reached a broken link, this doesn’t guarantee the visitor will take action to go to another page on your website.

WordPress 404 plugins can help automatically handle your 404 errors. These plugins redirect visitors to a relevant page, log all your 404 errors, and give you creative control to customize your 404 page.

Why is your WordPress Website showing a 404 error?

A 404 error page displays when a specific page can’t be found on your website. This page usually alerts the website visitor that the requested page is no longer available or does not exist.

A default 404 page looks something like this:

How to Easily Track 404 Pages and Redirect Them in WordPress

 

Changes in your website’s permalink structure can lead to 404 errors. For example, if you change your URL from https://yourwebsite.com/blogpost to https://yourwebsite.com/blogtopic/blogpost, you end up with links that don’t point to a specific address, so your visitors see a 404 page and not the intended content.

A missing or corrupt .htaccess file creates 404 errors, too. In WordPress, this file rewrites your URLs to make them readable by people and search engines. When you create a custom taxonomy or new custom post type, you can get a 404 error if you don’t update the .htaccess file.

The good news is that you don’t have to interrupt the visitor experience with a 404 page. Let’s explore how to remedy this issue.

How to Fix 404 Errors in WordPress

If your 404 errors are due to permalink changes, there’s a quick fix. You’ll just flush (or refresh) your permalinks on your website.

Go to Settings > Permalinks in your WordPress admin dashboard. Then, scroll down without making any changes and click Save Changes.

How to Easily Track 404 Pages and Redirect Them in WordPress

WordPress will automatically update your .htaccess file. Now, check your website for any remaining 404 errors. If they still remain, your next option is to use a 404 redirect plugin.

1. Redirection

How to Easily Track 404 Pages and Redirect Them in WordPress

Redirection is a simple and easy-to-use WordPress plugin that’s compatible with nearly any website. You can use it to set up a couple of redirects to a handful of outdated pages, or you can set up an in-depth and complicated redirect structure that includes thousands of redirects within it.

This plugin can be used for both 404 pages and 301 redirects. Both of which are useful when looking to enhance your visitor experience and improve the overall ranking of your site.

You can also set up conditional redirects that will forward a visitor to another page only if that visitor meets certain criteria. This allows you to truly personalize the website experience depending on how the visitor has interacted with your site in the past.

What we like about this plugin:

Redirection is a trustworthy and reliable plugin. It’s been on the market for over ten years and has hundreds of five-star reviews. It’s simple to use, easy to get started, and a breeze to manage over time.

What we don’t like about this plugin:

If you look at the reviews, most are overwhelmingly positive. However, some users reported malfunctions with their database shortly after downloading this plugin. Keep this mind and definitely investigate more if needed, but this shouldn’t completely deter you from downloading this plugin.

2. 404 to 301

How to Easily Track 404 Pages and Redirect Them in WordPress

404 to 301 is a simple plugin that will redirect all 404 errors. For each 404 error, you can set a global redirect or custom individual redirect.

This tool also saves you time by finding the broken links on your website. Then, it keeps a log of each 404 error so you can easily track and fix them. Plus, you can receive email notifications about any 404 errors.

What we like about this plugin:

Along with setting custom and global redirects, this plugin tracks down broken links on your site that you may not know about, in turn making it easier to reduce the total number of 404 errors that visitors encounter.

What we don’t like about this plugin:

Although there is a space for you to report bugs and errors, some users have experienced a lack of support with this plugin. This may be an issue if you run into compatibility problems between the plugin and your site.  That being said, if you are having issues with getting support with this plugin, you can always uninstall and move on to another option on this list.

3. 404 Solution

How to Easily Track 404 Pages and Redirect Them in WordPress

The 404 Solution plugin gives your visitors a better site experience by redirecting 404 URLs to any existing page. To save time, the tool displays a list of page suggestions to help you redirect to a relevant page. It also automatically removes redirects when the URL matches a new page or post.

What we like about this plugin:

Suggestions for relevant page redirections are great, but where this plugin really shines is the automatic removal of redirects when you repurpose URLs and point them to new pages.

What we don’t like about this plugin:

There isn’t much to dislike here and not many users have reported problems with this plugin. All around, this is a very strong option, but one potential issue you may face is a lack of features if you’re searching for a highly-advanced 404 redirect plugin. In which case, while simple and reliable, this option may not be best for you.

4. Custom 404 Pro

How to Easily Track 404 Pages and Redirect Them in WordPress

The Custom 404 Pro plugin is lightweight and easy to install. It lets you redirect 404 errors to existing pages or specific URLs. It also goes beyond common 301 redirects to include support for 302, 307, and 308 redirects.

What we like about this plugin:

Along with 404 redirects, Custom 404 Pro also logs errors when they occur and regularly sends an email containing this information to site admins, in turn making it easier for teams to find and eliminate 404 pages.

What we don’t like about this plugin:

There doesn’t seem to be too much documentation available to support this plugin. However, there is a Github page that you can use to reach out for help.

5. All In One SEO (AIOSEO)

How to Easily Track 404 Pages and Redirect Them in WordPress

As the name makes clear, AIOSEO is all about SEO. This popular plugin provides a host of features to boost site SEO — among them is a robust 404 redirect option.

Administrators can easily redirect multiple URLs to the same page, and the plugin also keeps a log within WordPress dashboards that list redirect information including visitor, browser, and referrer details.

What we like about this plugin:

The automatic redirect function of AIOSEO lets site owners point users and search engines toward new content when old pages go offline, in turn helping boost engagement and drive improved SEO.

What we don’t like about this plugin:

If you’re looking for a simple, straightforward, and free plugin, this is not the choice for you. However, if you’re looking for a slew of SEO features and tools that can improve the ranking of your site — and you don’t mind paying an annual fee — then AIOSEO is an excellent choice for your URL redirection needs.

6. All 404 Redirect to Homepage

How to Easily Track 404 Pages and Redirect Them in WordPress

 

Manually creating redirects for individual URLs is a time-consuming task. This plugin saves you time by redirecting all 404 pages to your homepage. So, when visitors land on a broken link, they will be redirected back to your homepage. It takes less than five minutes to install and configure this plugin.

What we like about this plugin:

Simplicity is the big benefit here. While other plugins offer more customization around where visitors are sent when they’re redirected, All 404 Redirect to Homepage sends everyone to the same place, meaning you don’t need to spend time thinking about which page is the best destination for redirects.

What we don’t like about this plugin:

Some users reported issues with redirect loops on their pages. Fortunately, the developers have added documentation for how users can navigate this roadblock. Simply disable the plugin and check the validity of the page. Once the page is valid, the redirect should work as intended.

7. SeedProd

SeedProd is a comprehensive landing page builder for WordPress that also includes custom 404 page support. If you’re feeling creative, you can build your own 404 page from scratch — complete with images, videos, and buttons — or you can streamline the process with one of SeedProd’s pre-built 404 page templates.

What we like about this plugin:

Along with custom 404 pages, SeedProd also integrates with most email marketing tools, allowing your 404 pages to help drive new subscriber traffic.

What we don’t like about this plugin:

There’s a lot to like about SeedProd, but similar to our thoughts on AIOSEO, this plugin may not be the best option for your site if you’re looking for quick, simple, and free. While the 404 page templates will save you some time, you’ll still have to go through the process of designing the entire page effectively from scratch, which may be a turn-off for some users.

8. 404page

How to Easily Track 404 Pages and Redirect Them in WordPress

Unlike the above-mentioned tools, the 404page plugin does not create redirects or additional server requests. This plugin allows you to set up a helpful custom 404 error page to keep visitors on your site. Just activate the plugin and change your permalink settings to Plain in your WordPress dashboard.

What we like about this plugin:

While redirects are helpful, they may take visitors somewhere they don’t want to be. 404 page doesn’t move users when they encounter an error — instead, you get to build a custom page that offers relevant information and features, such as links to your homepage or contact page, search bars, or even product offers.

What we don’t like about this plugin:

As we highlighted earlier, this plugin doesn’t create redirects. If that’s a must-have, we recommend choosing another option on this list.

Which WordPress 404 redirect plugin works best?

he answer depends on what you need. If you’re looking for an end-to-end WordPress website builder that also happens to include solid 404 page functionality, choose something like SeedProd

If you need a quick and simple solution for 404 page redirects, consider a plugin like All 404 Redirect to Homepage or the 404 solution. And if you really want to streamline 404 handling by creating a custom 404 page to help keep visitors engaged, opt for 404page.

How to Create an Effective WordPress 404 Page

It’s important to redirect your visitors to a relevant page. If none exists, you still can capture your visitors’ attention with a custom 404 page. That way, you don’t lose quality traffic, and you provide helpful information to your visitors. Here are a few tips to build an effective 404 page.

  • Clearly state that the page they’re looking for doesn’t exist.
  • Add a search box to help visitors find what they need.
  • Keep the branding of your 404 page consistent with other pages on your website.
  • Encourage visitors to read your latest blog posts.
  • Add humor, like a funny image, to engage your visitors.

 

Working With 404 Errors & 301 Redirects

Several 404 errors can interrupt the visitor experience, leading to high bounce rates. Rather than fixing each error one by one, an effective solution is to use a redirect plugin for WordPress. These plugins keep track of your 404 errors and redirect broken links to related pages. So, take the next steps to improve your website.

Redirecting your 404 pages to your homepage is a great way to help reduce your bounce rates

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