Error 404: 4 Ways to Fix It

Error 404 not found is one of the most common issues you may encounter while browsing. This HTTP status code means the requested page can’t be found on the website server. It may indicate a flaw with a hosting service or your domain name system (DNS) configuration settings.

Encountering this error may leave a negative impression on your website visitors. It can also negatively impact search engine optimization (SEO) and your website’s ranking. The dead-end page hinders search engines’ ability to crawl your website properly.

Fortunately, since it is mainly a client-side issue, it is relatively easy for website owners to fix the 404 error. This article will explain the possible causes of error 404 and show four effective methods to resolve it.

Download Ultimate WordPress Cheat Sheet

Error codeHTTP Error 404
Error typeClient-side error
Error variationsError 404
404 Not Found
Page Not Found
The page cannot be found
The requested URL was not found on this server
Error causesDNS settings
File permissions issue
A broken .htaccess file

Error 404 is a client-side issue indicating the requested URL can’t be found on the server. It may occur because of several reasons, such as the domain is not pointed correctly, a broken .htaccess file, or misconfigured file permissions.

What Causes the 404 Error Message?

The 404 error not found means the browser has connected and sent the request to the web server. However, the latter can’t find the requested resource. As a result, the browser can’t load the web page, showing a 404 error.

Many factors can cause error 404 not found, including:

  • Moved or deleted page. Sometimes, the page’s content may have been deleted or moved without fixing the broken link.
  • Mistyped URL. The page link is typed incorrectly into the browser’s address bar. In other words, you’re using the wrong URL to access the page.
  • DNS settings issue. Either the domain is still propagating or pointing to a wrong DNS address.
  • Caching problems. The browser may cache the 404 error page instead of the actual content. Therefore, you keep seeing the error even when the website works for everyone else.
  • Missing asset. Usually, any missing asset, such as an image, CSS, or JavaScript file, can generate a 404 error.

A 404 error can occur in any web browser. The error code may look slightly different depending on which one you use.

Mozilla Firefox

Error 404 on Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla Firefox shows a straightforward message by displaying a 404 Not Found page with a description saying, “The resource requested could not be found on this server!”.

Google Chrome

Error 404 on Chrome

If you come across a 404 error page on Chrome, the browser shows a descriptive message under the HTTP status code.

Opera

Error 404 on Opera

When a 404 error occurs on Opera, the browser displays the description of the status page on the upper part of the page.

Microsoft Edge

Error 404 on Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge shows the HTTP Error 400 message and a description saying, “The request URL is invalid.”

Many websites display custom 404 not found errors. While it isn’t strictly necessary, it helps explain to the visitors that the website works, but the page they’re looking for cannot be found.

4 Ways to Resolve 404 Errors

Sometimes, it only takes a quick fix to solve error 404 not found. Therefore, we recommend trying these simple steps before exploring other methods to troubleshoot the issue:

  1. Restart your browser. Try closing the current window and opening a new one. It is as simple as that.
  2. Clear cache. Remove your browser data and history. Check whether the error persists.
  3. Double-check for mistyped characters. Recheck the URL to ensure you entered the correct website address in the search bar.
  4. Use another device. Access the website using another web browser or machine. If it works, try clearing the previous device’s cache and cookies one more time.
  5. Switch to the Incognito window. This mode doesn’t retain cache and cookies, so it will display a renewed web page version.

We also recommend performing the following actions:

  1. Check external links regularly. Ensure there are no broken links on your website.
  2. Regular 404 error audit. Scan for dead-end pages using the Google Search Console.

If the 404 error persists, your website may have an underlying issue. The following section will explain four methods to fix the error message – checking the DNS settings, updating file permissions, disabling the .htaccess code, and restoring a backup file.

1. Make Sure the Domain Is Pointing To Your Hosting

If the domain is still propagating, you may encounter a 404 error page. To solve it, you will need to wait until the propagation is complete. Usually, it takes a maximum of 24 hours until the DNS resolves.

Additionally, the 404 error can be caused by misconfigured DNS settings. You may have pointed the domain to an incorrect nameserver or a wrong IP address through an A record. Therefore, you need to check if the domain is pointed correctly to solve this issue.

There are two methods to connect a domain to your hosting – using nameservers or the IP address via an A record.

Here’s how to check your Hostinger nameservers and IP address:

  1. Log in to your Hostinger account.
  2. On hPanel, go to the Hosting tab.
  3. Choose the hosting plan and click Manage.
  4. On your Hosting Account panel, you will find the Hostinger nameservers and your IP address on the left sidebar.
Hostinger nameservers on the Hosting Account dashboard
Hosting IP address inside the Hosting Account dashboard on Hostinger

There are plenty of online tools to check which DNS server your domain is pointed to, such as DNS Checker, DNSMap, and whatsmydns.net.

2. Fix File Permissions

If error 404 still occurs, we recommend fixing file permissions.

When you use web hosting, the server manages your files and sends them to the browser so it can load the site.

File and folder permissions let the server know who can run, read, or edit the data on the hosting account. However, if the values are misconfigured, the web page may show a 404 error.

Therefore, you will need to modify the file permissions to solve this issue. If you’re a Hostinger user, the default values are 644 for files and 755 for folders.

Here’s how to fix file permissions on hPanel:

  1. Log in to your Hostinger account.
  2. On hPanel, go to the Hosting tab.
  3. Select the hosting plan and click Manage.
  4. On the Hosting Account panel, scroll down to Other and choose Fix File Ownership.
Selecting Fix File Ownership inside the Hosting Account panel on Hostinger
  1. Tick the box to confirm that you want to set the file permissions to default. Click Execute.
Fixing file ownership on Hostinger
  1. If you want to set the file permissions to specific values, go to the File Manager menu.
Selecting File Manager inside Hosting Account panel on Hostinger
  1. Right-click on the file or folder you want to modify and select Permissions.
Choosing Permissions on Hostinger_s File Manager
  1. Tick the boxes to modify accesses. The values will automatically update upon choosing the permissions.
Selecting access and permissions on Hostinger's File Manager
  1. Click Change to apply the changes.
Saving the access and permissions on Hostinger's File Manager.

In most cases, this should solve the 404 page not found error. However, if you still encounter the issue, proceed to the following step.

3. Disable .htaccess File

URL redirections, access control, website security, and performance are managed by a directory-level configuration file called .htaccess or Hypertext Access.

As an essential part of a website, .htaccess is located inside the public_html directory alongside other critical data. However, it can become corrupt for several reasons, such as incompatible plugins and wrong configuration.

A broken .htaccess may disrupt a website’s appearance and cause a 404 error page. To fix this problem, disable and replace it with a new one.

Here’s how to disable .htaccess:

  1. Log in to the Hostinger account.
  2. On hPanel, click the Hosting tab.
  3. Choose the hosting plan and select Manage.
  4. In the Hosting Account panel, click File Manager.
  5. Double-click the public_html folder to enter the directory.
The public_html directory on Hostinger's File Manager.
  1. Right-click on .htaccess and choose Rename.
Selecting the Rename option on Hostinger's File Manager.
  1. Simply add any additional character to the file name to disable the file. Click Rename to save the changes.
Renaming .htaccess file on Hostinger's File Manager.

Next, here’s how to create a new .htaccess:

  1. In File Manager, click New File in the upper menu.
  2. Enter .htaccess as the file name.
  3. Copy and paste the following code within the file. Alternatively, generate the proper code using a .htaccess generator.
# BEGIN WordPress
<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^index.php$ - [L]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]
</IfModule>
# END WordPress
  1. Click Create to save your changes.

If you can access the website after disabling and creating a new .htaccess file, it was probably causing the 404 page not found error.

4. Restore Backup

404 error messages may occur when internet users come from external links from other sites that redirect them to deleted web pages. To solve this issue, restore the site backup.

Note that this method only works if certain website pages are broken or show a 404 error.

Here’s how to restore a website backup in Hostinger:

  1. Log in to your Hostinger account.
  2. On hPanel, go to the Hosting tab.
  3. Select the hosting plan and choose Manage.
  4. In the Hosting Account panel, click Backups.
Selecting the Backups menu inside the Hosting Account panel on Hostinger.
  1. Under the Files backups option, click Select.
Choosing the Files backups option inside the Backups menu on Hostinger.
  1. Choose a preferred backup date.
Choosing a website backup date inside the Backups menu on Hostinger.
  1. Click the Next Step button to prepare the backup file.
Selecting a date of website backup and proceeding to the next step inside the Backups menu on Hostinger
  1. Choose the domain you want to backup.
Choosing the domain and preparing the backup inside the Backups menu on Hostinger.
  1. If you want to restore the backup directly, click Restore files.
  2. If you want to download the backup and restore manually, select Download all files.

Conclusion

404 not found is a HTTP status code error that indicates the specific page you are trying to visit is non-existent.

Usually, it occurs when the domain points to an incorrect DNS address, files or folders have misconfigured permissions, or the system runs a corrupt .htaccess file.

When the 404 error appears, it is critical to solve the issue immediately. This article has compiled four effective ways to fix it:

  1. Ensure the domain points to the web host
  2. Fix file permissions
  3. Disable the broken .htaccess file
  4. Restore the website backup file

We hope this article has helped you fix the 404 not found error. If you have questions or suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

Was this tutorial helpful?

Author
The author

Will Morris

Will Morris is a staff writer at WordCandy. When he's not writing about WordPress, he likes to gig his stand-up comedy routine on the local circuit.