Do you want to redirect your 404 page to your home page in WordPress?
Redirecting the 404 ‘Not Found’ page to your website’s home page can help reduce your bounce rate and allow your users to discover other useful content on your website.
In this article, we will show you how to redirect your 404 page to your home page in WordPress.
Why Redirect Your 404 Page to Your WordPress Home Page?
When a user tries to visit a page that doesn’t exist on your WordPress website, WordPress will show them a 404 error page instead.
The wording and appearance of this page can vary depending on the theme you are using.
Most users who land on the default 404 page will leave your site quickly. This can increase your overall bounce rate and negatively impact your search engine rankings.
That’s why you should take the time to create a custom 404 page. However, until you do that, you can take the shortcut in this tutorial and redirect users to the homepage.
In a perfect world, you would also redirect specific 404 error requests to the most relevant pages.
That being said, let’s look at how to redirect all 404 errors to your home page. We will cover two methods and also show you how to create custom redirects for individual pages:
Method 1: Redirect All 404 Errors to the Home Page in WordPress
For this method, we will be using All in One SEO for WordPress (AIOSEO). It is the best WordPress SEO plugin that allows you to set up redirects, optimize your content for search engines, and more.
The first thing you need to do is install and activate All in One SEO (AIOSEO). For more details, see our step-by-step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.
Note: There is a free version of All in One SEO, but we will be using the Pro version since Redirect is a Pro addon.
Once the plugin is activated, you need to go to All in One SEO » Redirects.
If you haven’t set up redirects yet, then you must click the ‘Activate Redirects’ button.
This will install All in One SEO’s Redirects module.
Next, you will need to click on the ‘Settings’ tab at the top of the page. This page allows you to configure redirects in AIOSEO.
You need to scroll down the page until you find the ‘Advanced 404 Settings’ section. Enable this section by simply clicking the toggle button so that it turns blue.
Now you will be able to see some more settings. You should toggle the ‘Enable default 404 redirect’ button to the on position. After that, make sure that the ‘Home Page’ option is selected.
Notice that there’s also a ‘Custom URL’ option. This allows you to redirect 404 errors to any post or page. Don’t forget to click the ‘Save Changes’ button at the top or bottom of the page to store your settings.
Now when your visitors try to visit a URL on your website that doesn’t exist, they will be taken to the home page instead of seeing the default 404 page.
Method 2: Redirect All 404 Errors to the Home Page Using Code
If you prefer not to use a plugin, then you can use a simple code snippet to redirect all 404 pages to the homepage.
In this method, you need to add code to your WordPress files. If you haven’t done this before, then see our beginner’s guide on pasting snippets from the web into WordPress. You may also like to see our guide to the WordPress theme template hierarchy.
First, you will need to create a new file in your WordPress theme folder and name it 404.php. If your theme already has a 404.php file, then you must edit that file instead.
To edit this file, you need to connect to your WordPress hosting account with an FTP client or their file manager tool.
Once you are connected to your website, you will be able to see the 404.php file in your WordPress themes folder.
You need to add the following code as the first line in your 404.php file:
header(“HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently”);
Next, save the 404.php file and reupload it to your theme directory using FTP or your hosting control panel.
Now, when a page is not found, instead of seeing a 404 page, visitors will be redirected to your WordPress home page.
Bonus: Set Up Custom 404 Page Redirects With AIOSEO
The best and most SEO-friendly way of handling 404 errors is to redirect visitors to the most relevant page, not just your homepage.
The All in One SEO plugin’s Redirects feature can also track all 404-page errors and let you set up smart 404-page redirects in WordPress.
If you installed and activated AIOSEO when you followed Method 1, then all you need to do is navigate back to the All in One SEO » Redirects page and click on the ‘Settings’ tab.
Next, scroll down until you see the ‘Logs’ section. Your 404 logs are a record of URLs that your visitors have tried to use to visit pages that no longer exist on your site.
Make sure the ‘404 Logs’ is toggled on so that it looks blue. You can also choose how long you want the plugin to record your logs by selecting the time period from the dropdown menu.
Don’t forget to click ‘Save Changes’ before moving on.
After that, you can click the ‘404 Logs’ menu option to see the last accessed 404 page.
Remember, since you just enabled logging, it may not display anything right away. You might need to wait up to 24 hours before you see any useful insights there.
The ‘URL’ column will show you the pages users tried to visit but don’t exist.
You can redirect any of these URLs to an existing page by clicking the ‘Add Redirect’ link in the ‘Redirect’ column. This will open a dropdown where you can enter your redirect information.
For best results, you need to enter the most relevant page for the original query in the ‘Target URL’ box and then click ‘Add Redirect’.
For example, if you deleted a tutorial on how to start a WordPress blog and then wrote a new one, then it’s best to redirect that old URL to the new blog post rather than your homepage.
To add multiple 404-page redirects, simply follow the same steps as above.
Remember, generally, you don’t want to redirect your 404 page to your home page forever. It’s a great temporary solution until you create a custom 404 page design that will convert better or set up individual redirects that take users to a relevant page that does exist.
We hope this article helped you learn how to redirect your 404 page in WordPress. You may also want to see our ultimate WordPress SEO guide and the best drag-and-drop WordPress page builders to create custom 404 pages.
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