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How to Easily Track 404 Pages and Redirect Them in WordPress

Are you looking for an easy way to find 404 error pages on your WordPress website and redirect them?

404 errors occur when users try to reach a page on your website that no longer exists. These 404 errors create a bad user experience which can lead to a drop in search engine rankings and lower eCommerce sales.

In this article, we will show you how to easily track 404 pages and redirect them in WordPress.

How to Track 404 Pages in WordPress

What is a 404 Error?

A 404 error is an HTTP status code, which shows that the server couldn’t reach the web page you are trying to visit.

This means that if you enter a URL of a web page that does not exist, then you’ll see a 404 page not found error.

404 Error Example

Now, there are many reasons why 404 error occurs. It could be because you made a mistake when entering the URL address, the page was deleted from the website, or the domain name no longer exists anymore.

Another reason that may cause a 404 error is that the page was moved to another URL but wasn’t properly redirected, resulting in a broken link.

Last but not least, sometimes server malfunctions can also lead to 404 errors in a WordPress website.

Why Track 404 Pages and Redirect Them?

Now that you know the different reasons that could cause 404 errors, let’s take a look at why it’s extremely important for website owners to track 404 errors and fix them.

404 errors are bad for your site’s user experience. If users can’t find the page they are looking for, then they will likely leave your site and go to your competitors.

This means you’ll lose potential customers and miss an opportunity to convert your visitors into subscribers.

Aside from that, 404 errors have a negative impact on your WordPress SEO rankings. Search engine ranking algorithm often penalize websites when they run into broken links.

Not to mention, these broken pages will cause you to lose valuable backlinks for your website which results in lower domain authority and significant drop in Google keyword rankings.

With that said, let’s take a look at how you can easily track 404 pages and redirect them in WordPress. We will cover two different methods, so feel free to click the link below to jump ahead to your preferred method:

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If you’d prefer written instructions, just keep reading.

Method 1: How to Track 404 Pages and Redirect Them in WordPress Using AIOSEO

The easiest way to track and fix 404 pages on your WordPress website is by using the All in One SEO plugin for WordPress also known as AIOSEO. It’s the best SEO WordPress plugin that is used by over 2 million professionals.

AIOSEO allows you to easily find pages with broken links and fix them with just a few clicks using their powerful redirection manager.

The best part about AIOSEO is that it helps you setup faster 301 redirects which helps you improve search engine rankings.

For this tutorial, we will be using the AIOSEO Pro version because it includes the powerful redirection manager addon. There is a free version of AIOSEO, but it doesn’t include 404 monitoring and redirection manager.

First, you will need to install and activate the AIOSEO Pro plugin. For more details, please see our step-by-step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Once the plugin is active, go to All in One SEO » Redirects and click the ‘Activate Redirects’ button.

Activate redirects in AIOSEO

After that, you need to visit the ‘Settings’ tab under Redirects to enable 404 logs and track pages with broken links.

Simply scroll down to the ‘Logs’ sections and make sure that the ‘404 Logs’ option is enabled. Next, select the time period to record the 404 logs using the drop-down menu. We recommend no longer than one month for optimal server performance.

enable 404 logs

Once you are done, go ahead and click the ‘Save Changes’ button.

Now, you will see a ‘404 Logs’ tab in the Redirects section in AIOSEO.

404 Logs Under Redirects

When you first enable 404 logs, this page will not have any data. It only starts monitoring 404 pages after you enable the setting.

Once activated though, AIOSEO 404 logging actively monitors for 404 errors on your website and will display them here.

It will show a list of all the URLs that have a 404 error, how many times the link was visited under the ‘Hits’ column, and the date when it was last visited under the ‘Last Accessed’ column.

Once you have identified the pages with broken links, you can simply redirect them by clicking the ‘Add Redirect’ button.

When you click the button, you’ll see the option to enter a target URL and select the redirection type from the drop-down menu. For example, you can move a page permanently by selecting the 301 Moved Permanently option.

After that, click the ‘Add Redirect’ button and your broken link will now automatically redirect to the new target URL.

Click the Add Redirect button

Note: With time, the size of your log file can grow and take up a lot of disk space. The lack of WordPress hosting disk space can lead to errors.

To make sure that you don’t run into this problem, it’s a best practice to delete and clear 404 error logs.

With AIOSEO, you can easily delete any individual 404 error from your logs by clicking the trash can icon.

Delete 404 error from AIOSEO

You can also bulk delete your 404 logs by going to All in One SEO » Tools and then click on the ‘Database Tools’ tab.

Now scroll down to the ‘Logs’ section and click the ‘Clear 404 Logs’ button.

Clear 404 logs from database tools

Aside from tracking 404 errors, AIOSEO redirect manager also comes with permalink monitoring. This means if you delete a page on your site, or change the URL of any blog post, then it will automatically notify you to setup a redirect.

In some cases, AIOSEO can even setup the proper 301 redirects for you without any effort.

Bonus Tip: Setting up faster 301 redirects in WordPress with AIOSEO

AIOSEO allows you to setup faster redirects by going to the Settings tab and choosing the Web Server redirect method.

AIOSEO Server Level Redirects

This allows you unlock significant speed improvements when compared to the default WordPress / PHP redirect method.

Method 2: How to Track 404 Pages and Redirect Them in WordPress Using Redirection Plugin

The next method to keep track of 404 pages and redirect them is by using the Redirection Plugin for WordPress.

Note: This is an advanced plugin and some beginners may find it harder to use.

First you need to install and activate the plugin. For more details, please see our step-by-step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, go to Tools » Redirection and then scroll down to click the ‘Start Setup’ button to set up your redirects.

Start setup of Redirection plugin

After that, the plugin will ask whether you would like to monitor permalink changes in WordPress and do you want to keep logs of redirects and 404 errors.

Just select the checkbox for these options and click the ‘Continue Setup’ button.

Basic setup Redirection plugin

The plugin will now test the Rest API status. When the status result comes back as Good, you can click the ‘Finish Setup’ button.

Rest API test in Redirection

After that, you can add a new redirection for your 404 pages. To start, enter the URL of the page you want to redirect in the Source URL column.

Next, select whether you’d like to exactly match the query parameter, ignore them, or pass them through to the target URL from the Query Parameter drop-down menu.

Now enter the Target URL to which the 404 page will be redirected, keep the Group option to ‘Redirection,’ and click the ‘Add Redirect’ button.

Add new redirection

If you want more options to set up redirection, then click the ‘gear icon’ next to the Add Redirect button.

You can begin by adding the old URL showing 404 in the Source URL column, selecting the Query Parameter like before, and adding a Title to describe the purpose of this redirect.

After that, select the Match option from the drop-down. You will see multiple options, including URL only, URL and referrer, URL and user agent, and URL and login status.

More options for add new redirection

In most cases, you want to use URL and referrer. Mainly because if you see several 404 requests for a specific page, then it’s likely not a user typo error, but rather it has to be someone who is linking to the wrong URL.

Now, whenever someone else links to the broken URL or a post that you moved, it will automatically redirect them to the new location.

Next, make sure that your action is ‘Redirect to URL’. The other options are complex and require advanced technical knowledge.

In the redirection type, you need to select an option from the HTTP code drop-down (like 301 – Moved Permanently).

Lastly, enter the target URL in the Matched Target column. After you have entered this information, hit the ‘Add Redirect’ button.

You can go to the new URL to test and make sure that the redirection is working properly.

The plugin also has the option to track 404 error logs. Simply click on the ‘404s’ tab at the top, and the plugin will show you recent 404 errors that occurred on your site since you installed the plugin.

404 Logs in Redirection plugin

Note: if you just enabled the Redirection plugin, the 404 log page will be empty. It only starts keeping a log of 404 errors after the plugin is activated.

We hope this article helped you learn how to track 404 pages and redirect them in WordPress. You may also want to take a look at our guide on best WordPress contact form plugins to allow users to notify you when they see a 404 error, and our comparison of the best business phone services for remote teams.

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Reader Interactions

36 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Hi, can you erase the 404 URL that the crawl found (without having them among the actual pages in the dashboard)

    I want to erase them but don´t know how to “locate them” lol
    Or in that case the only option is to redirect them to the homepage?

    Thank you

    • It would depend on the specifics of what you mean. If the page does not exist then redirecting it to the home page would let search engines know the page does not exist

      Admin

  2. Good I stumbled upon this. Had been looking for a way to redirect error 404.pages. I think this did a good job for me. Pls can I uninstall the plugin once I have completed all redirects as I already have slot of plugins and they are beginning to slow down my site.

  3. Nice… I have recently moved from http to https and i see in google search results both http and https links both works but i want for all non https link that the user is redirected to https. Does the above tool is what i need?
    Does google sees http to https as different website shall i use change of address tool or is enough that i have registered also the https ?
    Do you have a quide or plan to make one with easy steps http to https ?

      • Thanks a lot :) I forgot to add that it was a migration from weebly to wordpress. The site is a perfect copy, all structure kept the same but at weebly was example.com/sample.html where at wordpress example.com/sample.
        I have given the new sitemap to Google and deleted the order without redirect that happened before a month plus now the https I have seen a major drop down in SEO in search results. Is there a way to recover from this? For example if I can find again the old sitemap from weebly? For the Google map section things are the same. Some advice please?

  4. Hello, thank you so much for this tutorial! It helped me redirect some of my 404 pages that result from my recent Blogger-WordPress move.
    However, I noticed I have A LOT of posts that need to be redirected to the right URL, judging from the number of tracked errors on the 404 tab. My question is is there a way to automate this? Some of these links are mobile links from my former blog with the m? added to them. The thing is it may take so long to do all those redirects one after the other. I am also concerned about losing the confidence of those who visit my site.
    How do I fix this? Is there a way to automatically redirect all the 404 pages to the right posts? Please help me.

  5. I have just installed it and did some redirection. I hope it works the way I expect. Anyway, its a nice plugin. Thanks for the helpful post about it.

  6. Watch out with the Redirection plugin though!

    Redirection Plugin Trialing Slash Issue

    a. Issue with and without trialing /

    b. Currently, I have to setup two redirects per URL

    ​If you don’t the URL that’s not setup in redirection will 404.​

    the bug is easy to miss! and the plugin documentation doesn’t specify that you actually need to create two redirects per one.

    if you visit the target page by clicking the source first it will work

    and then if you visit the non-trailing slash it will work

    you have the visit the non-trailing slash first to get the 404 (i.e. like a visitor of your site)

    and it seems nobody is talking about this either!!!

    • FYI… this is not a bug. This is what regex is for – you can check the “regex” box to use that option. Regular expressions allow you to create 1 redirection and then tell it to redirect with or without the trailing slash. Regex is how ‘normal’ htaccess file rules are created, which is what this plugin does via WP instead (unless you have it set up to use Apache or nginx). More about regex here – . GL.

  7. Redirects not only help search engines but will also help users coming from other sources. If you are confident that you will not loose any visitors then you can deactivate the plugin.

  8. Great little plugin. Just handled a big batch of redirects on a site with it. I have a quick question though.

    While I am aware that the plugin must stay activated for the redirects to work, how long after the big “G” (google) has indexed the correct page(s) and ranked them accordingly wuld it be safe to remove the plugin?

    For example: if howdy/doody/funny is redirected to howdy/doody/funny/humor, and Google is now ranking and indexing howdy/doody/funny/humor, after you alert google of the repair in Webmaster Tools; is it not safe to remove the plugin then? Or is this permanent for the life of the site?

    Excuse the lengthy question. Thanks in advance. :)

  9. Does this work if I am building a new website in WordPress (on a new domain) and replacing my site that is currently with Weebly (on our old domain)? We decided it would be easier to use a new domain (plus it’s more SEO friendly, I think) to build the new site on WordPress so the redirect would need to come from our old domain (TitanMgmtGroup.com) and redirect to the appropriate pages on our new domain (TitanPropertyManagement.co). What do you think, should I redirect the old domain or should I switch the WordPress site to the old domain once I’m done building it? Thanks for any help you can provide.

  10. I really love the redirection plugin, it has however been misbehaving alot lately, I think the developers have not been keeping it up to date. It still works but can sometimes get you stuck with redirects you can’t remove even after deleting them.

    I’m sticl with a tricky problem. I converted atons of auto generated categories to tags and now have a ton of 404’s I need to somehow redirect automatically.

    Any ideas how I can bulk redirect 404 category links to the tag equavalent?

  11. I’ll give this plugin a try, sounds like it’ll work great. My only concern is that it will slow the site down. This leads me to a question: if I use the plugin now and fix all my 404s through 301 redirects with this app, then delete the app when I’m done redirecting all the pages, will the redirects stay, or will they go away with the app. In other words, do I need to keep the plugin installed and activated to keep the 301 redirects active? Thanks!

  12. And what does Google like this? Or will it give you a lowere rate?
    Google cleans up the 404 results automatically right?

  13. What are “match”, “action”, and “regular expression” used for? Was hoping that would be covered in the article.

  14. Is it better to manage the 404 error pages in the htaccess file or with this plugin? Is there a performance issue using one of these two systems?

    • @javierojuel This plugin is a must have for pretty much every blog. It is very well optimized. The point is that you can’t track 404 pages as well as this plugin does. Also by doing the hard code way, you can screw things up if you don’t know what you are doing. Redirection protects you at least to some extent.

  15. Ironically, the Velvet Blues Plugin for WordPress link in this article goes to a 404 error page.

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