Custom Error pages are web pages revealed to the website guest when something is erroneous with the web page requested. They also show when a server error has happened. Each website has a custom error page. The error can be brought about by different things. The most common error pages encountered are;
- 404 not found – This denotes that a web page cannot be found on the web server and is caused by various factors such as:
- Clicking a link to a non-existing page.
- Typing the wrong URL of a webpage.
- A webpage that has been detached or renamed.
- 500 internal error – This means that there is a problem with the web server hence it can’t process the request.
- 403 forbidden – This custom page indicates that you are not permitted to view the page requested.
These webpage’s can be added through various ways that may include the following steps:
Step 1. Creating the .htaccess File
This stage might not be essential in all cases. One has to confer with the web hosting documentation as to the identification principle they should use. To create the .htaccess file, open notepad or another text editor and create a new file. Name this file .htaccess and click save as, when it asks for file type click on ‘all file types’. In this file simply add:
ErrorDocument 404 /404.html
Once added, save this file, what this does is point any pages that would normally create a 404 error page and point to the 404.html page that you will create.
Step 2. Creating the Error Page
A very simple sample model of the contents of a 404.html file might be:
<!—- Logo & Navigation -->
404 Error – Page Not Found
We are sorry but the page you are looking for doesn’t exist.
Step 3. What your error document should include
This aims at informing the web users on how they can locate the document they want so as not to leave the website. These pages should have:
A link to the main page where the guest can find what they want.
A search box on the page in case there is a search engine for your website.
All the pages on the website should have a link on the sitemap.
Commonly mistyped URLs on the website can have links to the approved site on the page, so that guests can promptly get to the right page.
Navigational aids should be put here.
A contact form (or link to) so the guest can alert you of the error.
The purpose of this page is to ensure your guest does not exit your site if what they need can be found there. The 404 pages should be bigger than 512 bytes or else Internet Explorer (IE) will load what its built-in “pleasant HTTP error message” as a replacement for of your 404 page. However, if using WordPress you shouldn’t have a lot of difficulty with page size.
Step 4. Testing the Error Document
Satisfaction with your webpage requires that you upload it with the .htaccess file to the website and put to test by typing a URL that is not real. The error page should show up and from here on the links to the various pages are tested if they lead to the intended sites.
With the custom error pages; one has to…
Avoid Putting the wrong URL in the .htaccess file as it directs the webserver into a loop when the absent file is being accessed.
Be sure that they use the full URL and not a comparative link.
For maximum benefits, the Web Pages should have quality components some of which should include:
Unique – The page should be unique without generic images and should avoid bad jokes that do not make sense. Bad jokes and generic images turn away visitors.
Branding – The same branding should be kept while introducing appealing graphics that keep the visitor interested. Too frequently designers and webmasters go overboard and mislay the appearance of the innovative theme, devastating the visitor. Keeping the same theme maintains the brand of the website.
Apologetic – This is in keeping the gracious atmosphere with the client as they have not got the information they try to reach.
The custom pages are important in keeping the guest interested even if the page is not found.