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Re: Custom 404 pages
From Dale on 20 Dec '01
replying to Re: Custom 404 pages posted by Arun Agrawal

>That is not what I meant. The browsers are showing my custom 404 page.
>I want to find out what page request triggered the 404 error so
>that I can correct the problem at the root level.
>Arun Agrawal

Not sure if this is what your looking for..if not post back again.

G o o g l e automatically generates html versions of documents as
we crawl the web.

404 Errors

Nola Young
, President
Netwerx Media Solutions

The Scenario:

You want to do some online shopping so you bring up your
favourites and click on the entry you

want to go to. But, when you get to where the site is supposed to
be located, you find out it's not

there anymore. Instead you get a 404 Error.

The Question:

What is a 404 Error and how can I avoid them?

The Answer:

A 404 Error means that a page is not found. It could be that the
Web site doesn't exist anymore.

But, more than likely it means that a particular page is no
longer available. There is nothing you

can do to avoid 404 Errors, but there is something Web developers
can do to ensure this does not

happen to potential site visitors.
It is important to first understand how this happens. In the
process of marketing your Web site

online, a developer will submit one or more of your site pages to
the various search engines.

Typically, the home page (called index page) is the most
frequently submitted page. However,

through the process of evaluating page relevancy, other pages may
also be submitted. The search

engines will then send a spider out to index your page. Sometimes
the spider will travel further

down your site and index more than just your main page. As well,
a spider can get to you by

means of a link from another Web site. Even if your site is not
submitted to the search engines,

these spiders (who crawl the Web) can come upon your site and
index your pages.

When your pages have been successfully submitted to the search
engines, you may still have

further changes to make to your site. For example, you might
change a page directory, or take the

page down completely and add another one in its place. Or, you
may rename a page, for

example, the "Contact Us" page and simply call it "Contact."
Then when someone goes to a search engine to find a particular
item and they search for

something (a keyword) that has to do with your business the page
that the search engine pulls up

could be the one from your site that you've recently taken down,
changed the directory of or

renamed. The search engine may not have sent another spider to
your site since your last update

so it thinks that the page is still available. When they click on
it, guess what happens? They're

given a 404 Error! This can also happen if someone has bookmarked
a particular page on your

site. The same rule applies.


Page 2

The Solution:
The solution is so easy, you may be saying why didn't I think of
that before. I know I did! But, it

means you need to have very strict practices in place so that you
do not forget.

When you need to move a page into another directory, create a
new page in the new directory.

Cut and paste the information from the old page to the new page.
Then, on the old page (which is

now blank), type something like "Sorry this page is no longer
updated but, please visit our

homepage @"
It may also be a good rule not to rename pages unless you are
completely sure that your page is

not indexed in the search engines or book marked on someone's

Another option is to check with your Web hosting company to see
if they offer a 404 redirect.

This ensures that when any page off your domain (i.e. is

entered, that doesn't exist, the visitor is automatically taken
to a specified page like your index

page for example.
You never want to turn potential visitors or customers away.
Always protect your site against

404 Errors. If you don't, it could be a costly mistake.

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