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Do we need a better 404 page for WordPress Plugins Repository?

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Do we need a better 404 page for WordPress Plugins Repository?

Update: Our opinion was heard. The Plugins repository now has a 404 page :)

Have you ever found an article about a WordPress plugin that you think might be the solution? You click on the link just to find out that you landed on the WordPress plugin’s directory main page. Well that is probably because that specific plugin was removed from the repository. We recently received an email about an article on our site which was pointing to a dead plugin page. This user was very new to WordPress and was extremely frustrated. He could not figure out why he was being pointed to the repository front page rather than the actual plugin’s page.

Well this brings us to the point of this article. Do we need a better 404 page for WordPress plugins repository? We certainly think so. We believe that it will improve user experience, and it will certainly help new users. As someone who has been using WordPress for a good amount of time, we never even noticed this issue. Everytime this happened, we automatically knew that the specific plugin was removed. But how is someone who is new to the community suppose to know this?

We suggest that WordPress.org plugin’s repository have some sort of 404 page that explains “This plugin has been removed because it failed to meet our criteria. We welcome you to search for alternative plugins.” This does not even have to be a separate page. The users can still be pointed to the main plugin’s repository page as long as this note is added in a prominent spot.

What are your thoughts?


Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress lovers led by Syed Balkhi. Page maintained by Syed Balkhi.

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  • Zach Levine

    I think the repository needs a complete overhaul with more advanced search terms for plugins. Maybe then id use it inatead of searching it via Google

  • msafi

    I agree. But I think the server should return 404 header, still. A simple notice to the user does not suffice, in my opinion.

    I have a tutorial on my website that revolves around a single plugin, which was removed from the repo. I only found out about the removal by accident. Had the repo been returning 404, the broken link checking service I use would’ve notified me and I would’ve fixed the problem quicker.

    It’s unusual for WordPress, with its devotion to best practices, usability and these sorts of things, to have chosen this implementation. It should be changed.

  • graphicscove

    I agree with you on this one. Too many times have I searched for a plugin only to be redirected to the front page. I like your suggestion of letting people know it’s been removed but I’d also like to see a ‘similar plugins’ list. I mean if you’re searching for the plugin only to have the search cut off it doesn’t really work well. At least with some related plugins listed that are still live in the WordPress repository you can carry on your search.

    • wpbeginner

      @graphicscove Great idea. Yea perhaps a similar plugins would also be great :)