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Exploring 404 Not Found WordPress: Main Causes and Solutions

Have you ever stumbled upon a WordPress website only to be greeted by an unwelcome message: 404 Not Found WordPress?

It’s frustrating, isn’t it? You were hoping to find valuable information or an engaging page, but instead, you’re met with a dead end. This common error can be particularly prevalent in WordPress websites, confusing visitors and website owners.

This article will explore the mysterious world of the “404 Not Found WordPress” error in WordPress, uncovering its causes, implications, and, most importantly, how to effectively address and prevent it.

So, if you’re tired of encountering dead links and want to ensure a seamless browsing experience for your users, read on to discover the secrets behind the enigmatic 404 error in WordPress.

Table of Contents:

What is the 404 Not Found WordPress?

What is the 404 Not Found WordPress

The WordPress page 404 Not Found is a standard HTTP status code that implies the server could not find the requested resource. A 404 Not Found WordPress error typically occurs when a visitor tries to access a page or post on a WordPress website that does not exist or has been moved.

Furthermore, this error can also occur if there is an issue with the website’s permalink structure, which defines the format of the URLs used for individual posts, pages, and other content.

In summary, the 404 Not Found WordPress error indicates a resource or page cannot be found due to incorrect URLs or resource changes. Also, WordPress offers default error templates and customization options, and plugins can improve handling.

What causes 404 Not Found WordPress errors?

What causes 404 Not Found errors

A “404 Not Found” error in WordPress usually occurs when the server cannot find the requested page or resource. There are several potential causes for this error:

  • Permalinks. If misconfigured or updated without updating the necessary settings, incorrect permalink settings in WordPress can cause 404 errors.
  • Broken or deleted links. If you have internal or external links on your website that are broken or point to non-existent pages, users may encounter 404 errors when trying to access those links.
  • Deleted or moved content. 404 errors may occur when visitors try to access old URLs after deleting or moving content without proper redirects, causing potential issues with visitors.
  • Plugin or theme issues.WordPress plugins and themes can cause 404 errors due to incorrect URL handling or site functionality issues, causing pages to return 404 statuses.
  • .htaccess file. The .htaccess file is important for WordPress site behavior because it prevents 404 errors if missing or containing incorrect directives.
  • Server configuration. Issues with the server configuration, such as misconfigured rewrite rules or insufficient permissions, can also lead to 404 errors.

Always back up your WordPress site before making significant changes or modifications.

Impact of 404 Not Found WordPress

Impact of 404 Not Found WordPress

When a WordPress website displays a “404 Not Found” error, the server cannot locate the requested page. This error can have various impacts on the website and its visitors:

  • User experience. 404 error pages can cause frustration and confusion, negatively impacting the website experience and causing higher bounce rates or lower engagement.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Multiple 404 errors can negatively impact a website’s SEO, indicating poor website maintenance and potentially lower rankings.
  • Broken internal links. 404 errors result from broken internal links, disrupting user journeys and preventing valuable content access. Therefore, regular monitoring and fixing are necessary.
  • Backlink loss. WordPress site’s 404 errors can lead to the loss of valuable backlinks, impacting SEO and organic search rankings. So, monitoring and redirecting broken backlinks is needed for your WordPress.

By addressing 404 errors promptly and maintaining a well-functioning website, you can enhance user experience, preserve search engine rankings, and improve your WordPress site’s overall health and performance.

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How to fix the 404 Not Found WordPress?

1. Check the URL

A 404 Not Found error on a WordPress website indicates the server cannot locate the requested page or resource due to an incorrect URL. So, correcting the URL can resolve the issue and restore website functionality.

Check the URL

Here are the steps to check the URL and fix the 404 Not Found error in WordPress:

  • Verify URL accuracy and check spelling, extra characters, and missing slashes.
  • Check WordPress permalink structure for user-friendly URLs and update settings to prevent 404 errors.
  • Reset permalinks to resolve conflicts by choosing a different structure.
  • Review the .htaccess file for 404 errors, check for corruption, backup, and generate default settings.
  • Test with different WordPress themes to identify compatibility issues.
  • Deactivate plugins on WordPress to identify 404 errors and check for conflicting functions.
  • Clear the browser cache to see an updated website, ensuring the 404 error page resolves.

Following these steps, you can systematically check and fix the URL-related issues leading to the 404 Not Found error in WordPress. Always back up your website before making significant changes to ensure you can easily revert if needed.

2. Permalink settings

In general, permalink settings in WordPress significantly impact URL structure and format, improving SEO, accessibility, and user experience. So, the correct configuration also helps resolve 404 Not Found errors and enhances website accessibility.

Permalink settings

To fix 404 Not Found errors in WordPress using permalink settings, follow these steps:

  • Access WordPress Dashboard by logging in and accessing the administration panel.
  • Access Permalink Settings in WordPress Dashboard.
  • Choose permalink structure on the Permalink Settings page, preferably “Post name” for URL display.
  • Save changes to the permalink structure in WordPress.
  • Update the WordPress .htaccess file for proper permalink structure functionality.

Following these steps, you can fix 404 Not Found errors in WordPress by configuring the permalink settings. This process ensures that the URLs on your website accurately point to the corresponding posts or pages, resolving any issues with missing or inaccessible content.

Don’t forget to test your website after changing the permalink structure to ensure accessible pages and posts without 404 errors. If issues persist, troubleshoot or seek assistance from the hosting provider or WordPress support forums.

3. Check for .htaccess file issues

A 404 Not Found error on a WordPress website may be caused by issues with the .htaccess file, a configuration file used by Apache web servers for URL rewriting.

Check for .htaccess file issues

To check for .htaccess file issues and potentially resolve the 404 error in WordPress, you can follow these steps:

  • Access the website’s root directory using the FTP client or hosting control panel’s file manager.
  • Locate the .htaccess file in the WordPress root directory and check the hidden file settings.
  • Rename or back up the .htaccess file to resolve the 404 error.
  • Rename the .htaccess file, try loading the WordPress website, and resolve the 404 error.
  • Regenerate the .htaccess file using WordPress’ built-in feature, save changes, and apply default rewrite rules.
  • Identify plugin conflicts by temporarily disabling and reactivating plugins and checking for errors.
  • Seek help from WordPress support forums, hosting providers, or developer for 404 error resolution.

Remember to exercise caution when working with the .htaccess file, as it can affect the functionality of your website. Make sure to create backups and proceed with changes only if you’re confident in your understanding of the modifications you’re making.

4. Verify file existence

If you’re encountering a “404 Not Found” error on your WordPress website, it typically indicates that the requested file or resource cannot be found on the server. One common cause of this issue is the absence or misplacement of essential files in your WordPress installation.

Verify file existence

To address this problem, you must verify the files associated with the missing resource. Here are some steps you can take to resolve the “404 Not Found” error in WordPress:

  • Verify WordPress permalink structure, and matching URLs, to avoid 404 errors.
  • Clear WordPress cache to ensure the latest file version and file verification issues.
  • Verify WordPress file and folder permissions using an FTP client or manager.
  • Manually reinstall core WordPress files by downloading and replacing files, ensuring backups.
  • Verify theme and plugin files for missing or corrupted files, and check 404 errors.
  • Investigate server-side issues, contact hosting support, identify misconfigurations, and resolve 404 Not Found errors.

By following these steps, you should be able to identify and resolve file existence issues causing the “404 Not Found” error on your WordPress website. Remember to take appropriate backups before making changes to your WordPress files or database.

5. Clear browser cache

Clearing the browser cache can resolve the 404 Not Found errors. Also, browser caching stores web page files locally, speeding up visits. However, outdated or corrupted cached files can cause errors like the “404 Not Found” message.

Clear browser cache

Clearing the browser cache is a recommended troubleshooting step to fix this issue. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Identify your web browser, including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, etc.
  • Access browser settings by opening the browser, finding the settings menu, and clicking on it.
  • Access browser settings by selecting “Settings,” “Preferences,” or “Options.”
  • Clear browsing data in browser settings.
  • Clear cache by selecting “All time” in browsing data settings.
  • Restart the browser with a clean cache.

Once you have cleared the browser cache, revisit the WordPress website displaying the “404 Not Found” error and check if the issue is resolved. Reloading the page should prompt the browser to fetch fresh files from the server, potentially eliminating the error.

To sum up, clearing the browser cache is a client-side solution, affecting only your device. If 404 Not Found persists, it may indicate website issues like broken links or misconfigured server settings.

6. Check for conflicting plugins or themes

404 Not Found errors on WordPress websites can be frustrating due to conflicting plugins or themes. As a result, checking for compatibilities can resolve the issue by removing incompatible components.

Check for conflicting plugins or themes

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you diagnose and fix the “404 Not Found” error in WordPress:

  • Deactivate WordPress plugins through the dashboard, Bulk Actions, or manual action.
  • Resolve the 404 Not Found error by disabling plugins and identifying problematic ones.
  • Activate plugins individually, check the website for conflicts, and identify culprits.
  • Troubleshoot the conflicting plugin: Once you have identified the problematic plugin, there are a few actions you can take:
    • Step 1: Update incompatible plugins to resolve compatibility issues.
    • Step 2: Disable or replace incompatible plugins for compatibility issues.
  • Verify theme conflict by switching to the default WordPress theme and checking if the error persists.
  • Clear WordPress cache and browser cache after plugin/theme changes.

In conclusion, to diagnose and fix a 404 Not Found error on your WordPress site, follow these steps, check for conflicting plugins or themes, back up, and seek professional help if uncertain.

7. Test with a different browser or device

WordPress page 404 Not Found often occurs when the server cannot find the requested page or post. Test the website with a different browser or device to resolve this issue.

Test with a different browser or device

Here are some steps to follow when testing with a different browser or device:

  • Utilize alternative browsers for browser-specific issues.
  • Clear browser cache and cookies before testing to load the fresh website.
  • Test the website on multiple devices to identify device-specific or universal issues.
  • Examine website behavior for 404 Not Found error solutions.
  • Investigate persistent browser issues, plugin conflicts, and server misconfigurations.

Remember that testing with a different browser or device is just one troubleshooting step. It helps you narrow down the potential causes of the “404 Not Found” error but may not fix the issue entirely.

8. Server configuration

The 404 Not Found error in WordPress indicates the server cannot locate the requested resource due to incorrect configurations; review and adjust settings to resolve the issue.

Server configuration

Here are some steps you can take to address the “404 Not Found” error in WordPress:

  • Check permalink settings, select desired structure, and save changes.
  • WordPress .htaccess file manages permalink rewrite rules; regenerate if needed.
  • Mod_rewrite module is important for WordPress’s permalink functionality on Apache or Nginx servers.
  • Ensure WordPress installation has appropriate file and folder permissions to prevent 404 errors.
  • Disable plugins, switch to the default theme, and resolve 404 error.
  • Identify and fix broken links to prevent 404 errors.
  • Review server logs for 404 error insights and root cause identification.

If the above steps do not resolve the issue, it’s recommended to consult with your web hosting provider or a WordPress developer who can further investigate the server configuration and assist in troubleshooting the problem.

Remember to back up your website before making any changes to the server configuration or modifying files, as it provides a safety net in case anything goes wrong.

The bottom line

In conclusion, 404 Not Found WordPress can frustrate website owners and visitors. Understanding its causes and implementing practical solutions, such as checking broken links, updating permalinks, and using redirection plugins, can help.

In addition, maintaining an error-free website requires regular monitoring, updating content, creating custom 404 pages, and redirecting broken URLs to prevent 404 errors, improve user experience, and reduce frustration.

Furthermore, preserving WordPress and plugins is vital to prevent 404 errors and security vulnerabilities while regularly backing up the website and database for easy restoration.

Remember to use proactive WordPress maintenance addresses 404 Not Found errors to help you enhance user engagement and online presence success for your WordPress site by ensuring a seamless browsing experience.

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Marketing Manager of Mageplaza. Summer is attracted by new things. She loves writing, travelling and photography. Perceives herself as a part-time gymmer and a full-time dream chaser.
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