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404 Error Pages-What are they and how do you create one?

We’ve all seen them, you’ve been browsing a website and you click a link and nothing loads apart from the words ‘404 Error’ along with the usual stuff.

So what is a 404 Error page? The 404 Error page, basically informs the user that the server cannot find the file they are looking for. However, instead of using the default 404 Error page you can create your own, this is how you do it.

First, you need your .htaccess file which should be within your web site directory. If you cannot find it you will need to create one. You will have to contact your host asking them how you would go about creating or editing this file. They may want you to use a text editor and then upload it, or they may want you to use a PICO editor and create or edit the file on the server.

How you have access to the .htaccess file lets edit it. Add this line to the .htaccess file:

ErrorDocument 404 http://www.yourdomain.com/404page.html

Make sure this line is kept on online. This is where your 404 Error page is kept.

Now you’ve change the .htaccess file you need to create the page. This is simply a normal HTML document. Once you’ve created the HTML document, save it and call it 404page.html. Now the next step is to upload the .htaccess file and the page to the server.

Now that is done your next step is to turn it on. This is done by setting the CHMOD attribute to 644. You can do this via telnet or some FTP programs. If your going to telnet into your server, use the following command:

chmod 644 .htaccess

Now test to see if it’s worked. Just go to a page that doesn’t exist on your server and you should see your new 404 Error page. If not, then make sure the CHMOD is set correctly, and if that doesn’t help, you may want to ask your hosting company for support.

Submitted by:

Stephen Hames

I currently own and run a small E-commerce template website located at http://www.sjh-designs.co.uk. You can find several more guides located at http://www.sjh-designs.co.uk/guides.htm.


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