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Best of Best WordPress 404 Error Page Designs

Last updated on by
Elegant Themes
Best of Best WordPress 404 Error Page Designs

Every single user on the web has landed on at least one 404 page in their entire user surfing experience. The truth is that the number that users land on 404 pages is significantly higher than just one. Often when a user arrive on a 404 page, they end up leaving your site thus increasing your bounce rate. High bounce rate can negatively impact your website by decreasing your revenue from advertisers and more. You can reduce the bounce rate and increase pageviews by simply optimizing your 404 Error Page. In this article, we will highlight best of best WordPress 404 Error Page Designs, and we will give you our insights on creating a beautiful and highly usable 404 page design for your WordPress.

Showcase for Inspiration

Before we show you how you can design your own 404 page design for WordPress, we will highlight some of the best 404 Error Page Designs being used on WordPress for your inspiration. The criteria we used to pick these designs were creativity and usability. Some designs have both, and some only have one aspect.

1. WPBeginner

WPBeginner's 404 Page

2. Catalyst Studios

Catalyst Studio's 404 Page

3. Jamie Huskisson

Jamie Huskisson's 404 Page

4. 45royale Inc.

45royale 404 Page

5. Carsonified

Carsonified 404 Page

6. CSS Tricks

CSS Tricks 404 Page

7. Techkultura

Techkultura 404 Page

8. Inspiration Bit

Inspiration Bit 404 Page

9. Catswhocode

Catswhocode 404 Page

10. Ba.pe

Bape 404 Page

11. Cut and Taste

Cut and Taste 404 Page

12. CSS Remix

CSS Remix 404 Page

13. Ateaseweb

Ateaseweb 404 Page

14. Koller Media

Kollermedia 404 Page

15. Expansion Broadcast

Expansion Broadcast 404 Page

16. Function

Function 404 Page

17. Retard Zone

Retard Zone 404 Page

18. Kidmondo

Kidmondo 404 Page

19. Devlounge

Devlounge 404 Page

20. Chris Jennings

Chris Jennings 404 Page

Best Practices and Lessons You Should Learn from these

In the above showcase you probably saw some 404 pages that were very creative, whereas others that were just weird but memorable, and some that were simple yet elegant and usable. When creating a 404 page you need to remember to combine all three elements: creativity, usability, and the ability to leave a lasting impression.

When creating our 404 page, we actually looked at a lot of these above to get inspiration and combine the best elements from these into one. Most of the time, when people land on the 404 page, they are frustrated. So you need to assist them in finding what they are trying to reach, but in the most creative way possible.

A good structure that you can follow is:

  • Creative Image
  • List of Popular Posts
  • List of Recent Posts
  • List of Archives
  • Search Bar
  • Offer more help by giving contact options

Now you do not need to have all of them, but you should certainly have more than two of these options in your 404 page.

Analyzing our 404 page, some people say we do not have a search bar. We have our search bar in the sidebar, so there is no reason to display it twice. We are displaying archive by month, by category, and we are displaying the popular tags. Ofcourse the creative image is to make it all look friendly rather than dull.

Now we understand that not everyone is a great artist and cannot come up with some of the illustrations and cartoons above, but you can see the Devlounge example or Function’s example above to see how simplicity can also work. Devlounge has a very organized 404 page, no image, no nothing, but it is very organized and helpful. Function has a simple icon and other resources, but nothing super graphic.

When creating your own 404 page, keep that in mind.

How to Create a 404 Page in WordPress

In your WordPress theme directory there is a file called 404.php, if you don’t have that file then you might want to create one. You can add any HTML in that file to fit your needs. But it is recommended that you use the default parameters, so the page looks like it is part of the design.

<?php get_header(); ?>
<?php get_sidebar(); ?>
<?php get_footer(); ?>

Now wrap around the styling HTML around it. If you want you can even copy your page.php content in 404.php and just remove the content area and add your customized tags.

Here are some of the tags that you can use:

Display Archive by Months:

<?php wp_get_archives('type=monthly'); ?>

This code will display archive by months, but it will list all months. So it might become a mess if you have a blog that is three years old. To learn how to limit the count of months displayed check out the tutorial.

Display list of Categories

<?php wp_list_cats(); ?>

This code will list all categories on your blog. Ofcoures you can style them however using list tags or others.

Display Most used Tags

<?php wp_tag_cloud('smallest=8&largest=12&unit=pt&number=30&format=list&order=RAND'); ?>

This will show the most used tags like how we have on our 404 page.

Display Recent Posts

<?php get_archives('postbypost', '17', 'custom', '<li>', '</li>'); ?>

There are more codes that you can use, you will just have to search the documentation and find it. If you have a specific question feel free to ask us at anytime.

Further Sources:

These lists has a lot more 404 examples. We only featured the WordPress ones.

404 Error Pages Reloaded

More 404 Pages

60 Creative 404 Page Designs


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

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Comments

  1. Nure says:

    Just awesome i like it
    thanks to share

  2. PatREllery says:

    Here’s a cool one: http://www.bookofzeus.com/404/

  3. Bruce says:

    Thanks for this informative information. I like:

    9. Catswhocode
    17. Retard Zone

  4. Dennis says:

    Nice one!
    My favourite is #6 CSS ;)
    Thanks for sharing.

  5. penthius says:

    After reading this I too decided to give it a go.

    It’s my first 404 , it will get better with practice I am sure ;
    http://ghostwhisperer.me/404

  6. Zach Hornsby says:

    After reading this article, I created one.

    http://netjelly.com/404

  7. Viidar says:

    How about this one? (in Norwegian, but you´ll get the picture):
    http://www.powertech.no/404

    Text: “Ups, Mari, has been down in the server-room again…” (mari works in the finance-department ;) )

  8. Michelle says:

    these are really great, thanks for sharing :)

  9. Dave says:

    This page also pretty good, and very funny…
    [Link Removed because the site did not use WordPress]

  10. Niche Website Builder says:

    Very creative indeed! Of course, my favorite has to be the 404 error pages featuring Homer Simpson and his infamous “D’Oh!”

  11. Phaoloo says:

    Nice examples, they inspire me for the next project.

  12. Rent Apartment in Kuala Lumpur says:

    Excellent collection of 404 page design!

  13. Andrew Yates says:

    Nice collection, how about this one… http://www.383project.com/404 ?

  14. arfandhia says:

    wow, nice colection,thanks for this list

  15. Johnson Koh says:

    Interesting collection. Thanks for the effort :)

  16. abrcity says:

    very nice article,very helpful

  17. Arif says:

    really nice designs, thanks for sharing

  18. Klim says:

    Some pages are really cool! Thanks for collecting them!

  19. Dave Sparks says:

    love the cats who code one, brilliant.

  20. Website Design UK says:

    Excellent showcase, my friend!! Well worthy of a Digg.

  21. Jeffro says:

    I like the catswhocode one. Works well with the site name! hah

  22. G.Han says:

    Beautiful post, very inspiring!

  23. Hans says:

    I really like the illustration on Catalyst Studios’. That on Carsonified is also very nice (all of them are) :D

    I like this one to
    http://jayj.dk/404

  24. Honour Chick says:

    lol, very funny 404 pages.

  25. Shahriar Hyder says:

    Very nice post. Please do check out the following article as well which is a compilation of:

    Custom 404 error pages that are cool, funny yet creative

    http://technosiastic.wordpress.com/2009/09/01/custom-404-error-pages-that-are-cool-funny-yet-creative/

  26. Asif Iqbal says:

    Very neat and clean options.. I am going to choone one of the best for my website.

  27. Michigan Fur Coats says:

    Very clever and unique.

  28. vq says:

    I wanted to throw two of mine in there:

    http://weare.clickpopmedia.com/404
    http://www.clickpopmedia.com/404

    Both WordPress. Let me know what you think.

  29. Tobbi says:

    Great collection. My favorites a #2 and #6

  30. GailGrannum says:

    Wow, you have really expanded my concept of the 404 page alternatives. Thank you for sharing very creative examples that will assist me in reducing my bounce rate. BTW – I have tweeted this article to my peeps.
    Gail

    • Editorial Staff says:

      We appreciate all the support on twitter :) If you ever have any questions or need help with WordPress feel free to ask us either via twitter or email.

  31. Teddy says:

    Thanks for the showcase! I always find a lot of inspiration in 404 pages – basically, a good 404 page will have to appease the possibly frustrated user as well as make a good impression so that the visitor will continue probing the site instead of navigating away almost immediately.

    Oh, and thanks for the tutorial too! I find it very useful and detailed for those who are still new to WordPress and PHP :) awesome job!

    p/s: Some shameless self-promotion here: http://www.teddy-o-ted.com/wp-admins (to trigger a 404 page) and http://www.teddy-o-ted.com/demo/ (not strictly a 404 page but I’m thinking).

    • Editorial Staff says:

      Love your Hot Dog idea. Also Oh God Dammit is pretty good too. Tough choice eh.

      • Teddy says:

        Kind of a tough choice. I think I’ll most probably be porting the hot dog idea over to my main site’s 404 template, heh.

        Speaking of which, what inspired you to make the 202 + 202 = 404 title? That’s an interesting one :)

        • Editorial Staff says:

          The idea of WPBeginner <<< Beginner and the whole number idea because I like numbers. Simple addition.

  32. werthers says:

    B3ta once ran a competition a long time ago for 404 images and they blew all these out of the water. One featured a map of the internet and an arrow and you are here to 404, it also had porn and the rantings of nerds among other areas.
    It’s going a long time back so I don’t know if many of the images are still hosted

  33. subcorpus says:

    awesome …
    need to think of kewl way to do that on my blog … hehe …

  34. j2brown says:

    I’m biased, since it’s my own site, but I think it’s rather creative:

    http://www.sterlingfire.org/?error=404

  35. Michel says:

    Another excellent resource for 404s:

    http://simplebits.com/notebook/2007/11/03/404.html

    See all comments in this blog post by Dan! (not WP blogs) (but still the collection is impressive) :-)

  36. Oleg says:

    Yeah! Nice Ideas! I have my custom 404 Error page too: http://www.xtraboy.com/some-error

    Take a look at it. It’s funny :) Thanx ;)

  37. Simran says:

    Awesome collection. Thanks for sharing :)

  38. Robert says:

    Some of these are great!

    I run a coffee blog in Vancouver and I used a split coffee cup as a my 404 page.

    http://coffeevancouver.ca/error

  39. Mike says:

    techkultura from Polish:

    404 The Way of the Samurai Codex

    “If the searched page doesn’t exist,
    Immediately fulfill Seppuku.”

  40. ilmu komputer says:

    they all very creative design.

    Good.

  41. TalkVietnam says:

    Nice collection. Thanks.

  42. Chris Berry says:

    Here’s a good WordPress example.
    http://roanoketweetup.com/404

  43. lipelip says:

    Nice collection, here is mine

    http://www.lipelip.be/micou

    I’m a fan of chuck norris :)

  44. joyoge bookmark says:

    nice 404 designs, thanks for the tut

  45. Michel says:

    Mmm, and how about this one? >

    http://www.optimiced.com/en/404

    100% WP powered, 100% custom designed;-)

    • Thomas says:

      I’m pretty sure putting Adsense on a 404 error page is against Google’s terms of service, don’t you think?

      • Michel says:

        My WordPress theme uses standard templates, so the 404 page simply has a small adsense block at the top, as most of the pages of my blog have it, too. I wouldn’t worry about it, nor do I care much if this page shows (or not) adsense at all. I was showing the design of the page, not the adsense block — looks like you were looking elsewhere;-)

      • Michel says:

        Plus, if there’s content on the 404 page, Google allows to show ads on it — this is not against their TOS (this info could be useful to others, too) :)

  46. Dave Bowker says:

    How about this one? Can’t go wrong with Oompa Loompas!

    http://quoterelish.com/err

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