404 pages are present when a page has been removed/deleted or turned off to be worked on, these pages present an error saying something along the lines of, "The page you're looking for has been removed or deleted". You can customize these pages so they'll redirect your customers or inform them of it being down and to check back at a later time. Broken links and 404 pages are useless for search engine bots and it’s a dead-end. It’s an important part of SEO to fix all possible 404 pages. In this article we'll show you how to find these pages on your site. 

Applies to Version(s): 3.6.0 - 3.8.2r2 (or Current)

How do I find 404 pages/broken links on my site?

Note: There is no permanent fix for 404 errors as the internet is forever changing, the only thing you can do is keep your pages and site up to date

There are many tools for finding and fixing links and one of the best most sure fire ways to do this is using Google Webmaster Tools/Analytics. Google will crawl your site and show you where they're located. 

There are other tools to use, but using Google Webmaster Tools/Analytics are free, other sites will charge and some are free but they might not be able to show you everything you're looking for. Here is a link to some of the recommended sites, even if you google "Free 404 checker" more sites will show up as well to help you decide.

With Webmaster Tools you will need to verify your site and this link will walk you through how to do this very easily. 

Once you verified your site you can go into your Webmaster Tools account and click on your site as seen here:

Now when you click on "Manage Property" you will come to another page where you can verify your site and the link I've provided earlier will ensure this. 

Now that you're verified you will see more options now to use in Webmaster Tools and this screen shot will show you how to check for errors:

You can now see all the errors on your site, and mine shows clearly the index.php file hasn't been customized and will constantly be marked by Google as an error until it's fixed or changed. 

Google also provides some helpful tips on creating a useful 404 pages.

How do I fix the 404 errors and broken links?

Note: You won't be able to directly fix this through your index.php unless you have source code, using the .htaccess file to redirect will be the easiest option

There are a few methods you can use to fix the 404 error/broken links and I'll outline those here.

  1. Redirect the 404 error/broken link elsewhere - using your htaccess will help you do this, customers can redirect to a home page, or an specific page of your choosing. This article can provide this help.
  2. Fixing the source link - It this link is broken and sending your customers to a page not found error, you can fix this if you control the server environment or have FTP access.
  3. Adding back the removed pages - If the page that is returning the error is missing, you can always restore it or add it back using that same URL as a Custom URL
  4. Forgetting about the error - It's not always important to fix, but if this isn't a high priority issue or even if your customers aren't being caused harm by this, you can then simply ignore the issue. 

Fixing the error will require you to access the .htaccess file, this can be accessed via the Server, FTP or the Admin of the cart in the File Manager

Links to Related Articles.

301 Redirects

Search Engine Optimization

Google Analytics

Adding Meta Tag

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