70 Responses

  1. John (Human3rror)
    John (Human3rror) Published |

    that’s awesome.

  2. Ozh
    Ozh Published |

    A cool way indeed to make editing 404 easy for end users.

    Why not use new function the_widget() instead of registering a new sidebar?

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  5. Many
    Many Published |

    Haha you really are amazing Justin. Another reason for me to keep using a cool theme like hybrid 😀

    Thanks for the tip !

  6. sms
    sms Published |

    all of your tutorials are just great 🙂
    it will be good to buy a better domain which will be related to wordpress tutorials..!
    i have a domain you can take this for free
    it is WPcodes.com if you want then contact me 🙂

  7. Brian
    Brian Published |

    If you do this, will it also be available via a child theme? That is, if I put a functions.php and 404.php in my child theme directory will WordPress use that one or do I have to modify the parent files? Is there any requirement to link to the parent like you do with the CSS file or does that take care of the whole thing?

    1. Deana
      Deana Published |

      I already used in child theme and work perfect. Any upgrade can’t break it.

  8. Phalgun
    Phalgun Published |

    Nice tutorial to customise the 404 error page.

  9. John Doe
    John Doe Published |

    This is a lovely tutorial. I had to manually edit the files and it was a nightmare finding the correct files. Thanks for this Justin.

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  11. Chris
    Chris Published |

    hah, nice! Im gonna go change mine now!

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  14. Sarah
    Sarah Published |

    Excellent tip there. I have always wanted to enhance the 404 page and I can’t understand much from Google Webmaster tool.

  15. michaelbuengers
    michaelbuengers Published |

    nice workaround. love it 🙂

  16. David Williams
    David Williams Published |

    Wow, I would have never thought about doing that. It is so simple (once you’ve explained it like that) and yet so powerful. Thanks heaps for the instructions and idea, keep up the great work!

  17. Albert K.
    Albert K. Published |

    some wp themes already come with a designed 404 page, not just the normal “page not found” text, but most of them dont, great post

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  22. Blogspot to Wordpress
    Blogspot to Wordpress Published |

    Hey very useful but the problem is I’m using Thesis wordpress theme and can it be used along with it??

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  25. Ditutu
    Ditutu Published |

    A cool way indeed to make editing 404 easy for end users.
    That’s a really good job,again…

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  27. Scott
    Scott Published |

    Pardon my ignorance, but how do I remove the archive listings from the Hybrid 404 page?


  28. Sulumits Retsambew
    Sulumits Retsambew Published |

    I agree with you, WP default 404 really sucks. What I am doing is using the all post plug-in then customized the 404 so that it allows the visitor to search or choose from the posts. I will try this option that you recommended.

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  30. Dan
    Dan Published |

    I did your trick. It works, but only until i edit other widgets. Afterward it forgets my settings for the 404 widget and i must re-set them over and over again each time I edit the other widgets (related to the sidebar content).

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  32. Nice Blogger
    Nice Blogger Published |

    I had changed now and worked like a charm!

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  34. Bethany Trinoble
    Bethany Trinoble Published |

    Much better, thank you. My users now get told to go and get a cuppa and a biscuit and try again in 10 minutes. It seems to have stopped them all frantically hitting F5 as well 🙂

  35. Frank P. Walentynowicz
    Frank P. Walentynowicz Published |

    Great idea! I’ve implemented it in 10+ websites which I designed and maintain. I have one small problem or inconvenience rather. My strict rule is to always use child theme to make presentation changes. I never touch parent theme. I’ve created functions.php in my child theme and registered ‘404’ sidebar there. Because of parent-child theme logic child’s functions.php is executed first and parent’s – second. This creates the following structure of sidebars: ‘404’ then other sidebars created by parent theme. Not good. With sidebars already populated with widgets I have to manually (fortunately, one time only) move widgets from 1st sidebar (‘404’) to 2nd, 2nd to 3rd and so on. If ‘404’ sidebard could be created last I wouldn’t have to do it. I think if parent-child theme logic treated functions.php like any other templates (if functions.php exists in child theme, don’t use parent’s functions.php) that would make much more sense as for now we cannot undo whatever is done by parent’s functions. Justin, do you have any ideas how to create ‘404’ sidebar as last without modifying parent’s theme files?

  36. florist Singapore
    florist Singapore Published |

    interesting, I can probably use this, never thought of using 404 in this way

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  41. David
    David Published |

    I always used to think how people put funny messages on 404 page.I wanted to do this from a long time but i don’t know any thing related to php.I really appreciate your help.You’ve made it quite easier.

  42. Linkmoko
    Linkmoko Published |

    I hate when i saw WP default 404 error page. what i did before in some of my WP blogs is i customized the 404 so that it allows the visitor to search from those posts. And i think your code really helps. I will try that method you showed us. Thanks

  43. FC_lamp
    FC_lamp Published |

    Help me;

    Justin Tadlock ,

    I do according to your method, but when accessing a 404 page the apache will return the original message,like this:

    Not Found

    The requested URL /s was not found on this server.
    Apache/2.2.14 Etc……..

    What should I do?…

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  45. Javier Faus
    Javier Faus Published |

    Hi there:

    I was trying to get that done through a page instead of using a widget, that’s what I did:

    1) Edit the 404.php template to have a /*Template Name: Error*/ comment in the top.
    2) Go to the admin and created a new page (error-page permalink) and choose the new page template from the dropdown.
    3) Edit the .htaccess and add ErrorDocument 404 http://domain.com/error-page/

    I was pretty sure it was gonna work but it didn’t, do you have any ideas why it is not working? Permalinks stuff maybe?

    Great blog, congratulations and thanks a lot for everything you share over here.

  46. Javier Faus
    Javier Faus Published |

    I forgot to say that I obviously copied the page.php template into the 404.php template in the step 1 so to get the content straight from the wp page editor (which is my objective).

    Cheers. I hope that makes any sense anyway.


  47. Kumar
    Kumar Published |

    Wonderful article. I appreciate your effort for posting this. I am novice and it will help me.

  48. Naveed Saeed
    Naveed Saeed Published |

    I have successfully added and created the 404 Widget last night ..
    everything working fine but the problem now is that i have closed the browser and after a refresh the Sidebar widgets are having the options (categories, rss, Tag Cloud etc…)
    the 404 is empty while during error it shows all the widgets i have added yesterday to it.

    Please HELP

    1. Øyvind Smestad
      Øyvind Smestad Published |

      I had the same issue (in WP 3.0.1) changing the id (and reference) from ‘404’ to ‘error-404’ seemed to solve the problem for me.

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  52. Krishna M. Sadasivam
    Krishna M. Sadasivam Published |

    superb! It worked beautifully on my website. Thanks so much for sharing this code!

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  54. sandeeparron
    sandeeparron Published |

    Awesome Dude!! Actually Iam looking to customise my website 404 page

  55. Wedaran
    Wedaran Published |

    it is so simple, thanks

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  57. Alex
    Alex Published |

    Thank you for your great info. I have succeded to disply my tags into my 404 page after searching a way to do this on google 2 hours.

    Great work you did sharing this with us.

    Best regards

  58. Phillip Crimaldi
    Phillip Crimaldi Published |

    It doesn’t get any simpler than this. Tremendously helpful.

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  61. Ayan
    Ayan Published |

    Thanks for the tutorial. I really liked it. It would give a attractive presentation to my visitors. I am thinking to design a custom page for 404 page.

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  64. Demis
    Demis Published |

    Thanks for the nice idea! I love using a widget to setup the 404 page, great idea.

    I didn’t even pay attention to how ugly our 404 page was until you pointed out how to customize it, so many thanks.

    FYI, a number of Themes allow you to make a new Widget Area within the Theme Settings – I did that (instead of the function.php file), which then creates a new Widget Area in WP>Appearance>Widgets, which can be populated with Text, Search bars etc. etc.

    Then in the 404.php (Child Theme) I needed your snippet

    dynamic_sidebar( ‘Per Page 404’)

    which is the name my theme gave to the new sidebar (even though i’d named it just ‘404’ in the theme settings). Just in case that helps anyone.

    Thanks again.

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