How to Create a Custom WordPress 404 Page

How to create a custom WordPress 404 pageYou might have already seen a custom 404 error page when you visited WordPress sites. 404 is a page that is served when a user tries to access a web page that doesn’t exist on the site.

Many website owners do not give enough importance to their 404 page. It is essential for every site owner to make this page effective and attractive in order to stimulate web users to stay on your site and continue browsing other pages.

In order to grab the visitor’s interest towards your site, you need to create an exceptional WordPress 404 error page that can serve multiple user-oriented features and elements.

Whenever visitors come down to a 404 error page, they find themselves in the most irritating situation, as they cannot access their desired content. Thus, it becomes necessary to help web users by giving them the appropriate information about what to do next. By creating custom 404 error pages, you can help your potential visitors to access your site with an ease as well as improve your SEO by linking to the important content. In addition, if the 404 page is really cool, other sites can link to it to showcase your creativity.

Through this blog, we will try to find out essential tips for creating a top-notch WordPress 404 error page that can help to hold your visitor’s interest to your content.

How to Create a Custom 404 Page?

In the very first step, you need to create a 404-page template, which can be customized as per your theme. Adding a custom 404 page to a website is very easy, as you will be required to incorporate a file titled ‘404.php’ in your theme directory.

Note: If your file ‘404.php’ is evacuated, then it will display nothing to your visitors.

The best procedures to create a custom 404 page that can work with your theme in a sync is done by copying the page.php file contents and paste it to a newly created ‘404.php’ file. After that, you need to suppress the code that directs to “The Loop” and change it as follows:

“Requested Page Not Found”
“Sorry, But the Page You Requested Has Not Been Found”

Now, when a visitor lands on your site and views a custom 404 error page, he may click the back button after reading the specific information given on the page to find the content on other pages. In order to encourage your users to stay on your site, you have to add the content the users might want to see.

Elements That You Can Add to Your Custom 404 Page

1. Display the Best Posts on 404 Pages

Displaying the best posts is one of the elements that many WordPress bloggers want to add to their custom 404 pages. Obviously, every website owner wants to showcase the most popular content to potential viewers. With the help of various exciting WordPress plugins, you can present the best posts on your website using Popular Posts Widgets, WordPress Popular Posts, Stylish Popular Post, etc. You can install and activate the most suitable plugin of your choice. Once the plugin is activated, you should add the template tag in your 404.php file at the specific location where you want to showcase your popular posts. The following code for adding the most popular posts can be used:

<?php wpp_get_mostpopular(); ?>

2. Showcasing the Most Commented Posts

You can select to showcase the most commented posts in your site's sidebar. Engage more visitors by displaying your content that begins a discussion on your website. Through this, you can increase the traffic and also drive the interest of web users to your posts. With the help of WordPress Most Popular Plugin, you can showcase the most commented posts to users. When you activate the Most Popular plugin, you just need to add the following template tag to your posts:

<?php wpp_get_mostpopular("range=all&order_by=comments"); ?>

3. Presenting the Recent Posts

You can also showcase the most recent posts on your 404 error page to attract more users towards your site. This is one of the best ways to keep the interest of potential visitors. You can easily add the most recent posts by affixing the following template tag:

<?php wp_get_archives( array( 'type' => 'postbypost', 'limit' => 12, 'format' => 'custom', 'before' => '', 'after' => '<br />' ) ); ?>


Now you know three tips that can help you to create a great 404 error page on your WordPress site. There are many more other cool ways to enhance your 404 page and make it really attractive and effective. Please share links to great 404 pages in the comments section below! Here is one to get started -

Lucy Barret is working full time with WPGeeks Ltd, a HTML to WordPress Company. She has been playing a pivotal role in delivering 100% satisfaction with every delivery. She enjoys writing WordPress tutorials and loves outdoor trekking.