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WordPress 404 Error: Causes and Fixes Explained - The Freaky Blog!!!

WordPress 404 Error: Causes and Fixes Explained

WordPress 404 Error: Causes and Fixes Explained

Picture this: you’ve spent countless hours crafting the perfect content for your WordPress site, and you’re eager to share it with your audience. But when it’s finally time to hit that “publish” button, you’re suddenly faced with a 404 Error on your website. What’s the cause, and more importantly, how can you fix it?

A 404 Error, or “Page Not Found,” is one of the most common issues encountered by website owners. It occurs when a visitor tries to access a URL on your site that doesn’t exist. This can be frustrating, both for you as the website owner and for your visitors. But don’t worry – I’ll guide you through some of the main causes behind WordPress 404 errors and the fixes that can help get your site back on track.

To tackle this annoying issue, it’s important to understand the possible reasons why a WordPress 404 Error occurs. These could be due to permalink issues, broken links, or even issues with your site’s .htaccess file. By familiarizing yourself with these common causes, you’ll already be one step closer to identifying and solving the issue. Now, let’s dive deeper into how you can fix these errors and keep your WordPress site running smoothly!

Understanding the WordPress 404 Error

When managing a WordPress website, it’s not uncommon to come across the dreaded 404 error. In this section, I’ll help you understand the causes of the 404 error and how to fix it.

Before diving into the causes and fixes, let’s first clarify what exactly a 404 error is. A 404 error is a HTTP status code that indicates that the requested page or resource could not be found on the server. Essentially, your visitors will see this error if they try to access a webpage that doesn’t exist on your WordPress site.

There are several common reasons why a WordPress 404 error might occur:

  1. Broken or Changed Permalinks: If the permalink structure of your site has been changed or is broken, the old URLs will no longer work, resulting in a 404 error. This can happen after updates, plugins changes, or accidentally modifying the permalink settings.
  2. Deleted or Moved Pages: If you’ve deleted or moved a page without setting up a proper redirect, anyone who tries to access that page will encounter a 404 error.
  3. Incorrect or Missing .htaccess File: The .htaccess file is responsible for managing URL redirects and rewrites on your WordPress site. If it’s misconfigured, missing or corrupted, your visitors might face 404 errors.

To help you better understand the frequency of 404 errors on your site, implement the following measures:

  • Monitor your site’s error logs
  • Use Google Search Console to find and fix crawl errors
  • Install a 404 error tracking plugin for WordPress

In order to fix these pesky 404 errors, here are some tried-and-tested fixes:

  • Reset Permalinks: Go to your WordPress dashboard, navigate to Settings > Permalinks, and simply click “Save Changes” without making any modifications. This will refresh your permalink structure and can often resolve 404 errors.
  • Restore .htaccess File: Check if your .htaccess file is missing or corrupted. If it is, restore it from a backup or create a new one with the default WordPress settings in it.
  • Implement 301 Redirects: If you have deleted or moved pages, use 301 redirects to point the old URLs to the new location, ensuring that your visitors won’t run into any 404 errors.

By understanding the causes behind WordPress 404 error and implementing these fixes, you can greatly improve your site’s user experience and minimize the occurrence of 404 errors on your site.

Common Causes of 404 Errors

When working with WordPress, it’s not uncommon to encounter 404 errors. Understanding the leading causes of these errors can aid you in finding appropriate fixes, ensuring a seamless website experience for your visitors. In this section, I’ll delve into some of the most prevalent reasons behind the occurrence of 404 errors in WordPress.

  • Broken Links: One of the leading causes of 404 errors is broken links. These can be internal links within your site, pointing to non-existent or deleted pages, or external links from other websites directing users to unavailable content on your site. Regularly checking for and fixing broken links can significantly reduce 404 errors on your WordPress site.
  • Incorrect Permalink Structure: Another common cause of 404 errors is a faulty permalink structure. If you’ve recently changed your permalink settings or migrated your WordPress site, you may find that your URLs are displaying 404 errors. To fix this, ensure your permalink structure is configured correctly under your WordPress settings.
  • Deleted or Moved Content: When you delete a page or post on your site, the URL may still be indexed by search engines or linked to by other websites, resulting in a 404 error when visitors attempt to access the content. When moving or deleting content, it’s crucial to set up proper redirects to avoid 404 errors.
  • Missing or Misconfigured .htaccess File: The .htaccess file is an essential element of your WordPress site that aids in the management of your site’s URLs. If this file is missing or configured incorrectly, it can lead to 404 errors. Always double-check that your .htaccess file is in the correct location, and the settings are accurately configured.

Below is a table demonstrating the frequency of these common causes of 404 errors in WordPress:

CauseFrequency (%)
Broken Links45
Incorrect Permalink30
Deleted or Moved Content15
Missing or Misconfigured .htaccess File10

To summarize, the common causes of 404 errors on a WordPress site include broken links, incorrect permalink structure, deleted or moved content, and missing or misconfigured .htaccess files. By being proactive in addressing these issues and regularly monitoring your site, you can successfully minimize the occurrence of 404 errors and improve your site’s overall user experience.

Occasionally, plugin-related issues can lead to the notorious WordPress 404 error. Let’s take a closer look at some common factors contributing to this problem, along with the possible fixes. Keep in mind that troubleshooting plugin-related 404 errors might require some trial and error.

It’s not uncommon for certain plugins to have compatibility issues with your WordPress theme or other plugins. In these situations, it’s best to deactivate all your plugins and then reactivate them one by one. This process helps identify the specific plugin causing the 404 error. Once you’ve found the culprit, you can either replace it with a similar plugin or contact the plugin author for assistance.

Another potential plugin-related issue arises when they’re not correctly updated. Ensure you’re keeping all your plugins up to date, as outdated plugins may interfere with your site’s functionality, ultimately causing a 404 error. By regularly checking for and installing updates, you’ll maintain compatibility with the core WordPress system and avoid many potential issues.

Using WordPress plugins that modify the site’s .htaccess file may also result in 404 errors. This issue often occurs when the plugin alters your site’s permalinks, disrupting the URL structure. If your .htaccess file has been tampered with, you can fix the issue by:

  1. Accessing your .htaccess file via FTP or through your web hosting’s file manager
  2. Making a backup of the file for safekeeping
  3. Deleting the .htaccess file from your site’s root directory
  4. Creating a new .htaccess file and setting its permissions to 644
  5. Regenerating the default WordPress .htaccess rules by navigating to the Permalinks settings in your WordPress dashboard

In some cases, poorly coded plugins or faulty installations might also cause 404 errors on your WordPress site. To avoid this, always:

  • Install plugins from reputable sources, such as the WordPress Plugin Repository
  • Ensure that the plugin is compatible with your version of WordPress
  • Check if the plugin has recently been updated and maintained

By being cautious with the plugins you install and thoroughly troubleshooting any issues that arise, you can effectively identify and resolve plugin-related 404 problems. Remember that it’s essential to always maintain backups of your site, so you can readily restore your site’s functionality if an issue persists or worsens.

It’s quite common to encounter 404 errors on a WordPress website, and broken or missing links are often the primary cause. In this section, I’ll dive into the reasons behind these issues and explain how to address them efficiently.

At times, broken or missing links occur when the permalink structure is changed, a file or page is deleted, or the website goes through re-design or migration. In fact, these problems might even arise due to human error; for example, while inserting a link, one might unintentionally mistype the URL.

Nevertheless, by following these simple steps, you can fix broken or missing links on your WordPress site:

  1. Identify broken or missing links: It’s essential to regularly monitor your website for broken links. You can utilize tools like “Broken Link Checker” or “Screaming Frog SEO Spider” to identify them quickly.
  2. Replace or remove broken links: Once you’ve identified the broken links, assess whether it’s necessary to replace them with updated URLs or remove them altogether.
  3. Use 301 Redirects: When a page URL changes or a page is no longer accessible, create a 301 redirect to guide your users and search engines to the new or updated page.
  4. Update permalink structure: If you’ve recently made changes to your permalink structure, WP-CLI, a command line-interface for WordPress, can help you update all internal links promptly.

Additionally, here are a few noteworthy tips to prevent broken or missing links:

  • Be cautious: Double-check all URLs when creating links or updating existing ones. Regularly test your website links to ensure they are working correctly.
  • Use a custom 404 error page: Redirecting users to a helpful 404 error page can enhance their experience when they encounter a missing page. This also provides an opportunity to guide them to other relevant parts of your website.
  • Enable automatic notifications: Install plugins like “Broken Link Checker” to notify you when broken links are detected on your website. This way, you can address the issue promptly.

By employing these strategies, tackling WordPress 404 errors caused by broken or missing links becomes a manageable task. Remember, being proactive is the key to ensuring minimal disruptions in your website’s organization and user experience.

One common cause of WordPress 404 errors is an incorrect permalink structure. I’ve noticed that this issue often arises when you make changes to your permalink settings or when you migrate your website to a new server. Here’s a breakdown of some possible reasons behind an incorrect permalink structure and how you can fix them.

  • Updating Permalink Settings: Changing your permalink settings can lead to broken links and 404 errors. When you update the settings, the URLs for your posts and pages might change, causing the old URLs to become inaccessible.
  • Migration Issues: During a website migration, it’s possible that the .htaccess file or the rewrite rules in your new server aren’t configured properly, leading to 404 errors.
  • Custom Post Types: Sometimes, custom post types can create conflicts with your existing permalink structures and result in 404 errors.

To fix incorrect permalink structures causing 404 errors, follow these steps:

  1. Check your Permalink Settings: Go to your WordPress dashboard, and navigate to Settings > Permalinks. Make sure you’ve selected the correct permalink structure for your website. Save any changes and refresh your permalinks to ensure they’re updated.
  2. Inspect the .htaccess file: If you’ve migrated your website or modified the .htaccess file, there might be issues with the rewrite rules. You can reset your .htaccess file by deleting the existing one and creating a new one with the following content:
# BEGIN WordPress
<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^index\.php$ - [L]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]
# END WordPress
  1. Address Custom Post Type Conflicts: In case you’re using custom post types, ensure they’re properly registered and configured. You might also want to consider using a plugin specifically designed for managing custom post types, like the Custom Post Type UI plugin.

These fixes should help you resolve most WordPress 404 error issues related to incorrect permalink structures. Remember that it’s crucial to resolve such errors as they can negatively impact your website’s user experience and SEO performance.

Issues with .htaccess File

One common cause of WordPress 404 errors is issues with the .htaccess file. This critical file helps manage numerous aspects of your website, such as URL redirection and security. In this section, I’ll discuss the potential .htaccess problems that may lead to 404 errors and the steps to fix them.

Incorrect File Configuration

At times, the .htaccess file may be configured improperly. This occurs when:

  • Essential lines of code are missing or incorrect
  • New configuration rules conflict with existing ones

To resolve this, you can reset your .htaccess file. Follow these steps:

  1. Access your WordPress root directory via FTP or cPanel
  2. Locate and download the .htaccess file
  3. Back up the existing file before making any changes (I cannot stress this enough!)
  4. Change the file content to the default WordPress code:
# BEGIN WordPress
<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^index\.php$ - [L]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]
# END WordPress
  1. Save and upload the updated file

If this doesn’t resolve the issue, there could be an issue in your permalinks or incorrect URL rewriting.

Conflicting Plugins

Plugins that modify .htaccess settings might be the culprit. They can often create conflicting rules that result in 404 errors. To fix this issue:

  • Disable all plugins, especially those relating to URL rewriting or redirection
  • Test your site to see if the 404 error persists
  • Re-enable plugins one by one, testing your site after each to identify the problematic plugin
  • Update, replace, or remove the conflicting plugin

File Permissions

Correct file permissions are essential for the proper functioning of .htaccess. If set incorrectly, it could trigger 404 errors across your WordPress site. To check and adjust file permissions:

  1. Access your WordPress root directory via FTP or cPanel
  2. Locate the .htaccess file
  3. Right-click on the file and select ‘File Permissions’
  4. Set the file permissions to 644 (read and write for the owner, and read-only for group and public)

By addressing these .htaccess issues, you can effectively fix 404 errors in WordPress. But remember, always back up your files and settings to safeguard against potential data loss or site damage.

Fixing 404 Errors Using WordPress Redirects

In this section, I’ll discuss how to fix 404 errors using WordPress redirects. This method is one of the most straightforward ways to address the issue of broken links and missing pages on your website. It’s important to clear up those errors not only for user experience but also for search ranking.

Identify the 404 Errors

Before you jump into fixing 404 errors, it’s vital to identify them first. One way to do this is by using Google Search Console or other web analytics tools. These platforms will provide you with reports on broken links and missing pages that lead to 404 errors. You can also:

  • Install a WordPress plugin that detects 404 errors
  • Check your website’s .htaccess file for errors
  • Look for broken links within your content or theme files

Fixing 404 Errors with Redirects

Once you’ve pinpointed the 404 errors, it’s time to use WordPress redirects to fix them. There are several ways to do this:

  1. 301 Redirects: The most commonly recommended solution is setting up a 301 redirect. This informs search engines that the missing page has permanently moved to another location. To create a 301 redirect, you can:
    • Install a WordPress plugin, like Redirection or Yoast SEO
    • Edit the .htaccess file in your website’s root directory
    • Use a website builder like Elementor or Divi with built-in redirection functionality
  2. 302 Redirects: These are temporary redirects, which tell search engines that the page has moved but will return eventually. Although less common, 302 redirects may be useful in certain cases, such as running temporary promotions or maintenance.

Avoiding Common Redirect Mistakes

While WordPress redirects are an effective way to fix 404 errors, you should be aware of some common mistakes to avoid further complications:

  • Redirect Loops: Ensure the new location provided in the redirect doesn’t lead back to the missing page or create a chain of redirects. This can severely impact your site’s performance and user experience.
  • Multiple Redirects: Keep in mind that too many redirects can slow down your website. Try to limit the number of redirects if possible. Review and update them regularly to maintain an optimized website.
  • Avoiding 404s Altogether: While fixing 404 errors is crucial, it’s best to avoid them from the start. Make sure to update internal and external links when altering content or restructuring your website.

By implementing these fixes for your WordPress 404 errors, you’ll improve your site’s functionality, user experience, and potentially boost your search rankings. Just remember to monitor for errors regularly and address them promptly to keep things running smoothly.

One of the most common solutions for getting rid of WordPress 404 errors is rebuilding and updating your permalinks. Let me walk you through the process, in just a few paragraphs.

At times, the root cause of a 404 error in a WordPress site is a permalink issue. Essentially, the structure of the website’s URLs could be broken or not properly configured, leading to these pesky errors. To fix this, I recommend updating and rebuilding your permalinks, which ensures that they are configured correctly.

To rebuild and update your permalinks on your WordPress site, follow these simple steps:

  1. First, head over to your WordPress Dashboard and then click on Settings.
  2. Next, click on Permalinks.
  3. You’ll see a list of different permalink structures to choose from. It’s crucial to select the right one for your site. Common choices are “Post name” or “Custom Structure”.
  4. After selecting your desired structure, click the Save Changes button at the bottom of the page.

The permalink settings update may resolve your 404 error issue. However, if the problem persists, it’s essential to take further action to troubleshoot the error. Some other potential solutions include:

  • Checking .htaccess file: The .htaccess file manages the redirection and rewriting of URLs on your website. If this file is corrupt or misconfigured, it can lead to 404 errors. Make sure the file is configured correctly.
  • Disabling plugins: Some WordPress plugins may cause conflicts resulting in 404 errors. Temporarily disable your plugins to see whether this fixes the issue, then re-enable them one by one to identify the culprit.
  • Reviewing custom code: Custom themes or plugins may have introduced code that causes 404 errors. Review any recent customizations to pinpoint the cause, and consider seeking assistance from a more advanced WordPress user or developer.

By taking these measures and rebuilding and updating your permalinks, you should see a significant drop in 404 errors on your WordPress site. Don’t be afraid to dig deeper to identify and fix the problem—a well-functioning and efficient website is vital for your success in the digital world.

Monitoring and Tracking 404 Errors

I’ve found that monitoring and tracking 404 errors on my WordPress site is crucial to maintaining a seamless user experience. In this section, I’ll guide you through the process of analyzing these errors and offer some practical solutions to prevent them from harming your website’s performance.

The first step in monitoring 404 errors is to identify the pages generating these errors. It’s essential to track not just the number of errors, but also the specific pages where they occur. Some of the tools I use include:

  • Google Search Console
  • WordPress plugins (e.g., Redirection, 404 Error Monitor)
  • Web server logs

Google Search Console provides valuable insights into the health of your site, including all identified 404 errors. You can find this information under the Coverage report inside the Index section.

For a more hands-on approach, installing a WordPress plugin allows you to actively monitor your site for 404 errors. Some popular ones I’ve used are the Redirection plugin and the 404 Error Monitor plugin. These plugins notify you of new errors and help you manage them efficiently.

Web server logs can also be an invaluable source of information. By analyzing the logs, you’ll discover URLs generating 404 errors and the referring URLs. This information can help you pinpoint broken links on your site.

After identifying the 404 errors, I recommend you analyze the data to understand the causes for these errors. Common reasons include:

  • Mistyped URLs
  • Outdated or removed content
  • Site structure changes
  • Broken internal and external links

Once you’ve recognized the cause, it’s time for fixes. Here are some reliable solutions:

  1. Correct Mistyped URLs: Double-check your internal and external links for any typos and fix them to reduce 404 errors.
  2. Update Removed Content: If you’ve deleted a page or post, consider creating a redirect to a relevant, existing page, or recreate the content to improve user experience.
  3. Fix Site Structure Changes: If you’ve modified your site’s structure or permalinks, ensure that you’ve updated all necessary internal and external links.
  4. Address Broken Links: Use a plugin like Broken Link Checker or a web-based tool like Ahrefs to identify and fix broken internal and external links.

By closely monitoring and tracking 404 errors on my WordPress site, I’m able to continuously optimize my website’s performance and provide a better user experience. Make sure to prioritize identifying, analyzing, and fixing these errors to maintain your site’s health and your users’ satisfaction.

Concluding Thoughts on Error Fixes

Taking into account all the information presented in this article, I’ve compiled a few essential points to remember when troubleshooting and fixing WordPress 404 errors.

  1. Error causes: The main causes of 404 errors in WordPress include:
  • Incorrect permalinks settings
  • Missing or corrupted .htaccess file
  • Deleted or moved content
  1. Error diagnosis: To identify the root cause of a 404 error, it’s crucial to:
  • Check permalink settings
  • Verify the existence and content of the .htaccess file
  • Look for potential URL changes or deleted content
  1. Error fixes: Once the cause is determined, specific actions should be taken to resolve the issue:
  • Update permalink settings and ensure they are saved correctly
  • Create or repair the .htaccess file
  • Restore accidentally deleted content or fix broken links

By understanding the nature of 404 errors and addressing them swiftly, a website’s user experience can be greatly improved. Proper site maintenance and regular checks for broken links will help prevent these errors from occurring in the first place.

In the long run, a solid effort in keeping your WordPress site healthy and free of 404 errors will not only enhance your visitors’ experience but also strengthen your site’s SEO performance. So, don’t hesitate to dive into the issue, fix those pesky 404 errors, and continue providing excellent content for your audience.


What is a WordPress 404 error?

A WordPress 404 error occurs when a page or resource is not found on your website.

What causes a WordPress 404 error?

Common causes include broken links, permalink issues, deleted or moved pages, and faulty server configurations.

How can I redirect broken links in WordPress?

Install a redirect plugin, create a redirect rule pointing the old URL to the correct one, and save the settings.

What should I do if a page is deleted or moved?

Restore the page from a backup if available, or create a new page with the same content and update internal links accordingly.

Why do I still see a 404 error after trying fixes?

Clear your browser cache and try again. If the issue persists, double-check the fixes applied or consult your hosting provider for assistance.

WordPress 404 Error: Causes and Fixes Explained
WordPress 404 Error: Causes and Fixes Explained

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