Saturday, September 12, 2009

Best of Best WordPress 404 Error Page Designs

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

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