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How To Create Custom Error 404 Pages On WordPress

Have you ever wanted custom error 404 pages to show on your WordPress website?

Custom error 404 pages intend to generate more traffic and achieve less bounce rate.

What are Custom Error 404 Pages And How Do They Work?

The purpose of error 404 pages is not just to stay there and tell your users that a certain page cannot be found.

They also show a better visual look of your website.

Imagine if your website has the old Error 404 template?


The design got boring and old. Your visitors do not have any other option and the only way is to fully exit from your website.

Leaving visitors intend to increase the bounce rate of your website and de-rank your SERP rankings in a snap.

But what if you had a custom error 404 page template on your website?

With the right navigation and design, your website can look better and display search fields, so your visitors can easily go again and search for anything else they had wanted.


As you can see on the image, we have hit a dead end.

But is it a dead end or the visitors still have options to try searching for something else?

As you may have noticed, I am not using the plain old WordPress search.

Instead of the default WordPress search I am using the Google Programmable Search, which is easy to create and implement on your WordPress website.

Not to mention that no matter what you try to search on my website, you will never hit a dead end and be sent to this page.

The only way to reach this custom error 404 page, is to actually edit the URL address and try to search for one that does not exist.

Setting up Google Programmable Search on your website, may also increase the organic searches and show many variations of your articles, without the need of hard coding or much efforts.

You simply need to choose the style of your button, background, text, links and search, but it is totally worth your time.

From Where Can I find Custom Error 404 Pages Free?

If you are a person who is lazy to design or you simply lack designing skills, such as editing in PhotoShop or any other editing program, you can simply search the internet and find many designs for free.

In fact, if you just Google, Yahoo or Bing custom error 404 pages for free, you will find many results as I found, but I will be adding only the most important pages for your website.

Some of the websites contain custom error 404 page images, while others have custom HTML and CSS code, which you can implement on your website by editing the Error 404 file on your WordPress website.

Free Front End


As mentioned above, some of the websites will contain HTML and CSS codes for creating a custom error 404 page and one of them is called Free Front End.

The website simply offers many free front end designs, which are posted daily by front end designers, without the need to pay for any of them.

Each of the designs is unique and does not hold any copyright rules.

In order to use any of these pages you will need to copy and paste the codes into your WordPress theme’s Error 404 page.

Keep in mind that while the designs are free and hold no copyrights, you still cannot sell those designs as your own, or promote them with e-commerce intentions.

Legal claims may occur if this is done.



While speaking of Colorlib and their custom error 404 page designs, I would like to inform you that the link you are going to click is not broken.

Just scroll down and you will see their article and designs included, which are perfect for WordPress users.

Colorlib offers hundreds of designs, which vary from simple error 404 page designs and scale to really good made ones, which you will see have a lot effort put in them.

These templates can be added only through Colorlib’s plugin called Colorlib 404 Customizer.

The plugin is lightweight and can easily re-write your code, which your error 404 page is using, without the use of too much code or having to make too many requests

If you are a fan of illustrations and you wish not to use any kind of plugin on your WordPress website, so you can edit your 404 page template, is the right place for you.

They have all kinds of illustrations, which you can download for free and implement on your website by just editing the code in your theme.

Their illustrations are not only unique and wonderful for the websites we create nowadays, but you can also go for their premium plan, which is costing $90/quarterly or $200 for the whole year, which can save you $150 per year.


One of my favorite choices and always top picks for images of all sorts has always been Undraw.

Undraw simply lets you choose any kind of image type and search for it.

Not only they have all types of images, but you can also specify in what color do you want a certain image.

The options they provide are unlimited and by signing up for free you get what you need, with no questions asked.

Their images hold no copyrights or watermarks, but giving them a single backlink, could be really beneficial to help more people to discover their great work.

They upload many new works each day and do not take any money from the downloads you make per day or month.

How to Create Custom Error 404 Pages?

In order to create your own custom Error 404 pages on your WordPress website, you will need to know what name is the file that your WordPress theme uses.

In most cases the file name is 404.php, which is the default name for your WordPress theme and can be found in the theme editor.

The only thing you will need to do there is change the image that you want to be displayed as your Error 404 page or edit the code by just adding what you have downloaded.

In some cases, you may have your WordPress theme downloaded, as I have mine and the process is the same.

You do not have to delete any of the div classes or edit their names, as this can break your WordPress theme’s code.

Make sure you are using a child theme, as if the original theme gets and update, your progress will be overwritten by the new update.

For custom themes, the process will be the same and you simply need to find the associated page with the name 404.php or anything else that holds the keyword “404” in your theme files.


How to Create Custom Error 404 Pages on WordPress with Plugin

Some of you are scared of editing their theme as you may think you are not good enough or just think that using a plugin would be much better and do better work for your website.

Most of the plugins, which let you implement custom error 404 pages on your WordPress website, do not have bloated code or slow your website speed by adding numerous requests, so you can be in peace.

404page – your smart custom 404 error page

The 404page plugin can create your own custom error 404 page, by just a few clicks.

What the plugin does is give you utility of editing your theme and adding the image you want.

After including the image, your website will be showing the custom 404 page you have created and save you a lot time and effort.


Once you have downloaded and activated the plugin, it will appear in your Appearance tab and should be used for editing and creating.

The simple use of this plugin is that you can set the custom 404 error page to everything you wish.

If you are having a hard time understanding the use of the plugin, they have a special tab for newbies, which can explain how to set up your error 404 pages and get your website up and running.

The plugin takes just a small fraction of your website’s speed and does not add to many repetitive requests.

The advanced tab is for users who wish to add a bit more features and options, which you can use to run A/B testing and choose the ones, which benefit your users more.

After all the users are the ones, who are going to be reacting on your website and determine whether they should stay on your website or not.