Are you experiencing a lot of 404 page not found errors in WordPress? 404 errors are not good for your site’s SEO and user experience. The good part is that they’re quite easy to fix with WordPress 404 redirect plugins. In this article, we will show you 6 best free 404 redirect plugins for WordPress.
Why is Your WordPress Site Showing a 404 Error?
Before you start fixing the 404 errors, it’s very important to understand why WordPress outputs a 404 error.
Often WordPress beginners approach us asking why is their WordPress site showing a 404 error for posts that exist. It is one of the common WordPress problems that beginners encounter.
WordPress comes with support for SEO friendly URL structure. If you make changes to the URL structure, it will change the entire link structure of your website. Sometimes this is the reason why your site shows a 404 error even on existing posts.
Another reason for mysterious 404 errors for existing content is a missing or corrupt .htaccess file.
These are just few of the many possible reasons that may cause existing content to show 404 errors.
Try This Simple Tip to Fix 404 Errors in WordPress
A lot of the times, you can fix the WordPress 404 errors by simply flushing your permalinks.
You can do this by going to Settings » Permalinks in your WordPress admin area and click on the save changes button without making any changes.
WordPress will automatically update your .htaccess file. You should check your website to confirm that 404 errors are gone.
If it doesn’t, then it’s possible that your .htaccess file isn’t writable, and you may have to manually update it. We have detailed instructions on the process in our guide on how to fix WordPress posts returning 404 error.
Different Scenarios for 404 Errors in WordPress
Aside from the reasons above, there are many other reasons why your WordPress site will show a 404 error. For example, if you have recently moved from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, or moved WordPress to new domain may cause the site to show 404 errors.
In both scenarios, you need to fix your site’s permalink structure to resolve 404 errors.
On the other hand, if you deleted a post or page, then it will output a 404 not found error page.
The best way to fix that is by redirecting users to new location. You should also inform search engines about the new location of those posts and pages by adding a 301 redirect header message.
This allows you to offer a great user experience and not lose your search engine rankings.
Having said that, let’s take a look at some of the most popular 404 redirect plugins for WordPress that can help you manage these issues.
Redirection is a powerful WordPress plugin that allows you to easily set up redirects for your 404 pages. It comes with built-in option to track 404 errors that occurred on your website since you installed the plugin.
Redirection allows you to use powerful regex to match URL patterns and redirect them to appropriate pages. This is very useful if you have moved a site with a different URL structure to WordPress.
We have written a complete guide on how to track 404 pages and redirect them in WordPress using Redirection plugin.
While this plugin is great, the one thing you want to be careful of is the 404 logging setting. If you don’t set it up properly, then this plugin can make your database very heavy. Aside from that, this is the most powerful plugin available that’s 100% free.
The 404 to 301 plugin is simple and does two things. First it allows you to automatically redirect users seeing a 404 page to another page on your WordPress site. Second, it notifies you via email about the 404 incident.
Redirecting all 404 errors to a specific page is not an ideal solution. Users will be clueless as to how they got to this page when they obviously requested something else.
However, in some cases this might work very well. For example, if you know exactly what kind of 404 errors will happen on your site, and you know that users will find new page more helpful.
The most useful feature of the plugin is email alerts. This allows you to get instantly notified about a 404 error and then you can take appropriate action to fix it.
SEO Redirection Plugin is an easy to use plugin to track 404 errors and manage your redirects. It comes with a simple interface to manage your redirects.
It also keeps a log of 404 errors on your WordPress site, so that you can fix those errors.
The plugin creates a new table in your WordPress database to store your redirects. It also keeps history of all redirects on your website.
As the name suggests, this simple plugin redirects 404 errors to your WordPress site’s homepage.
You can also do that by adding this code in your theme’s 404.php file. Place this code at the very beginning:
<?php header("HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently"); header("Location: ".get_bloginfo('url')); exit(); ?>
For more information, see our tutorial on how to redirect your 404 page to the home page in WordPress.
This plugin redirects your 404 error to a 410 page. Instead of redirecting users from 404 errors to some other page on your site. This plugin sends them to an error page called 410.
The HTTP Specification defines the 410 response header to be used when a resource has been permanently removed. This is also helpful for search engines who are not instructed to ignore this URL and stop trying to access it.
The typical 301 redirect are supposed to be used when a content has moved to a new location. However, if you have removed a lot of content from your site, then adding a 301 redirect does not help your SEO very much.
410, on the other hand, stops search engines from continuously requesting that URL. It is also very helpful when you are trying to recover from a search engine penalty by removing duplicate or low quality content.
You can add a 410.php file in your WordPress theme and the plugin will start using it to show the error message to your human users.
404 error pages in WordPress themes are usually pretty dull and not very helpful. There are some tips that you can use to improve the 404 template in WordPress.
However, these tips require you to use code and edit the template file.
404page plugin allows you to simply select an existing page from your WordPress site and use it as 404 page.
We hope this article helped you find the best free 404 plugins for your WordPress site. You may also want to take a look at these WordPress 404 error page designs for inspiration.