25 Popular 404 Error Pages


As I was browsing around collecting the screen shots for this post I was surprised to see how many popular websites have neglected to optimize their 404 error pages.

While there are not very many people that get lost on the net and end up on a page that does not exist, there are still ones that do. What happens when they arrive to one of these pages? The visitor will either hit the back button to return to where they came from or they will hit their browser’s home page button, either way they end up leaving your website.

There are ways to improve the bounce rate if a site simply by optimizing the error pages. Instead of saying “Oops… Page does not exist.” you can say “Oops, the page you were trying to reach is not here but please take a look at other information that might interest you” and have a category or article list below. Instead of leaving right away, your visitor will have something to look and click on instead of just an error page.

 Here is the list of 26 of some of the popular websites’ error pages.

whitehouse

WhiteHouse.gov
We’ll start with the WhiteHouse.gov. It has a nice, clean error page with information on how to procede.

amazon

Amazon.com
This one is pretty basic and with the amount of business, visitors and items they sell, I think they could have done a lot better. It would also probably raise their sales.

 

ask

Ask.com
Same for Ask.com, this page could have been more. They could have a few recommended categories or even ads or something to click on.

bluefly

BlueFly.com
I can see that they put a little more effort into this one. At least there is a suggestion to go to the homepage.

barnes & nobile

BarnesAndNoble.com
Wow, Barnes & Noble really surprised me with this one. Nothing… Not even a logo.

compete

Compete.com
Compete.com has a good error page but just like the others, it could be more.

copyblogger

CopyBlogger.com
Here is a good error page. This being a blog, it is surrounded by sidebars, which give plenty to click on. Also the text of the page suggests next moves for the visitor.

danzarrella

DanZarrella.com
Dan’s site just sends you to the homepage instead of showing an error page. This is actually pretty clever. The user will never know that the page could not be found, unless of course they were looking for something specific.

ebay

Ebay.com
Nice and full error page here. Lots of clicking choices.

facebook

FaceBook.com
Very basic… Could be more I think.

google

Google.com
Not very

impressive. Could add an arrow and say “Try again” or something. I doubt anyone would mind with Google though.

linkedin

LinkedIn.com
This is a nice error page. It even asks “Are you looking for any of these LinkedIn features?”.

msn

MSN.com
See? Google and others could have done this too. MSN did a good job on their error page.

neimanmarcus

NeimanMarcus.com
Yaa, not good. If not for any other type of site but for eCommerce online retailer, a full, optimized error page is a must.

newegg

NewEgg.com
Just like this … very good error page.

overstock

Ovestock.com
And this one too. Very good error page.

problogger

ProBlogger.com
Darren knows…,  good error page.

seobook

SEObook.com
Aaron has his error page just forward to this sales page. Why not? Perfect!

seomoz

SEOmoz.org
Good error page on Rand’s SEOmoz too. Suggested links on the page.

shoemoney

ShoeMoney.com
Jeremy’s blog suggests to try to search for something else. This is also a good way to keep a visitor on the site.

smashingmag

SmashingMagazine.com
Another good error page. Google Ads and all.

techipedia

Techipedia.com
Tamar’s error page is loaded with choices. Good one.

twitter

Twitter.com
Lol, does Twitter even need one? I guess it does, if user’s account no longer exists. This should probably do OK, but more choices is better. 

wdi

WebDesignIdeas.org
I of course followed suit and had mine done with a list of most popular an recent posts.

yahoo

Yahoo.com
Yahoo’s error page is good but I really liked what MSN did on theirs.

More Error 404 Resources From the blogosphere:

SmashingMagazine: Wanted: Your 404 Error Pages
SmashingMagazine: 404 Error Pages: Reloaded
Francesco Mugnai: The 100 most funny and unusual 404 error pages
DzineBlog: 36 Cool Custom 404 Error Pages
HongKiat: 49 Nice And Creative Error 404 Pages
404ErrorPages: 404 Error Pages
SEOmoz: Get Creative With Your 404 Error Pages

So… have you even taken a look at your Error 404 page? I think you should. It will be a good investment in the long run.

Share with us your thoughts on error pages.

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13 Comments

  1. Anrkist says:

    I’ve never really thought of an error 404 page… I suppose I like to think none of the sites I create have them.

    But I do notice the search engines hitting pages they shouldn’t be, perhaps it’s time to throw some SEO tactics down on the good ol’ 404.

  2. Well thanks ;) Actually, it’s just a cool sitemap plugin I found. You can get it at http://www.dagondesign.com/. Very cool plugin in general and I highly recommend it.

  3. I have also never thought about doing much with the error pages, thanks for pointing this out.

  4. Metellus3D says:

    Great list of 404 pages. For one of my clients I just have the site default to the homepage instead of an actual 404 page. I do like the idea of letting a user know what they tried to find wasn’t available though.

  5. BillyQ says:

    Sending someone straight back to the homepage when a 404 should be raised is confusing for the user and not standards compliant. The best 404 pages should try to guess what the user was looking for depending on the text contained within the erroneous URL.

    Throwing a couple of links to parts of the site does not constitute a good 404 page.

  6. valiik says:

    That is a good point, but I edited your comment and erased the unnecessary name calling.

  7. Webdev says:

    I have two observations. The first is that Google’s Not Found error landing page obviously could be made better, but this simplistic way of expression is still fits the company’s minimalistic style.
    The second thing is that if one take a look at these 404 pages from bird’s sight, it can be easily observed that one of the best error page owners are the blogs. The answer is simple. It doesn’t require any effort to customize your 404 page if you don’t want it to, WordPress and other blog platforms did a great job for you: take the header, sidebar and footer, put it together and display a short text, that the content isn’t available. Moreover, WordPress’ deafult theme also displays the search form offering the visitor the chance to make another try.
    Guys at WordPress do a great job :)

  8. Its an awesome trick man. But 404 error page means that the website or webpage might b under maintenance or temporary unavailable.

  9. These pages are cool. I like Google Ads and all…LOL

  10. Brian says:

    For whatever it is worth, that Barnes and Noble one is not their 404 page. That is a browser error page (Internet Explorer) and it means that the name did not resolve properly in DNS. It was either a timeout, or you had a typo in your URL.

    This is the actual Barnes and Noble 404 page:
    http://www.barnesandnoble.com/error.asp?dec=404

    It has not only a logo, but the full smash of toolbars, search box, menus, etc…

  11. valiik says:

    Thank you Brian for sharing your findings. I wrote this post in February and B&N did not have an error page then. They must have added it since then. It looks really good now! They must have read my post ;)

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