What is a 404 Page?
A “404” Error page refers to an HTML code response. A 404 page on your website has become a staple of the internet. But you may be asking what is a 404 page and why does my company’s website need one?
404 pages are also known as an “error page” or “Page Not Found” page. This single page indicates to users that the URL requested contains no information. First, “URL,” or Uniform Resource Locator, is tech-speak for a web address.
URL Structure Example
- The Protocol = https://
- The Domain Name = hireadrian.com
- The Path = /blog
If a link clicks to a page on a site that doesn’t exist that is when a 404 page appears.
Why is a 404 Page Important?
404 pages are shown to visitors who click on any broken or dead links on your website. Your 404 page makes sure visitors don’t bounce off your site or are redirected to a broken page. Instead, they’ll get a simple error message that says “Page Not Found,” then they can either go back to the home page or search for their desired page
404 pages should only be treated as a backup. Ideally, your website should not have any broken links but over time things happen and links break. 404 error pages are a good safety net to have in place.
Website Benefits of Having 404 Pages
Some websites get very creative when designing their 404 pages. By incorporating multi-media and clever messages into these pages, it lightens the mood and makes not finding the intended page more enjoyable.
The most effective and memorable funny 404 pages are the ones that make let out a chuckle. Humorous “not found” pages have the advantage of not demanding high budgets, so they are a good fit for freelancers and small companies, not just big brands.
Examples of Funny 404 Pages
I’ve put together this list of funny 404 pages and analyzed them in order to dissect what makes each one work. Once you understand the underlying comedic strategies that these pages share, it’ll help you come up with your own original 404 pages.
Blizzard is a popular video game producer. They took their 404 error page to a whole other level. Both the menu and the screen is broken and it’s seems that it’s all your fault!
Marvel always puts their superheroes front and centre on their 404 pages. They did a great job at tying the error message back to the featured character. What makes this even better is that the page has subtle animations, and can be refreshed to view other characters. This is complete genius!
LEGO’s 404 error page is another great example that shows how your page can be: attractive, efficient and on brand without having to be overcomplicated. A picture, a line of text and a button to send users home.
Dating sites are known for having great 404 pages. Eharmony’s is another great example of how a simple image and cheeky copy can turn frustrated visitors into potential customers.
6. Email Center UK
Email center’s 404 error page asks you to choose which one of their developers should be fired for the mistake. Whoever you pick, you’ll see a funny group picture and relevant copy. Maybe next time they will add a redirect and save their jobs.
7. Ready to go Survival
We all love a good movie reference within a 404 error page (and there are several of them included in our list). This survival site refers to The Matrix in its 404 error page and gives you two options: clicking the red or the blue pill. Naturally, both keep you on the site.
Gym Box is a gym company that aims to offer “the most unique and diverse classes in London”. The limits of that claim might be the kind of magnificent ’80s fitness spectacle that appears on its 404 error page. Short shorts, crop tops and pelvic thrusting – what more could you want from an error page?
9. Comedy Central
Comedy Central was smart enough to display several characters from their shows and to attribute a 404 error page related quote to each one. For example, The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah appears with a confused face and a quote related to the ‘Moment of Zen’ segment from his show.
This 404 error page is for a small museum of funeral history. I’m sure they don’t have a huge web design budget, yet they still managed to devise a creative 404 page with an open grave, telling visitors: ‘You have made a grave mistake! The page you are looking for has vanished into the afterlife.’
11. The New Yorker
The New Yorker example shows just how to take an already funny brand asset related to getting lost, and featuring it on a 404 error page. The cartoon is from a 2011 issue displaying a mouse wearing a GPS – the perfect cartoon to use on a ‘page not found’ page.
The UK team behind Kualo made a fun spin on things by spelling out their company name with Invaders on their 404 error page. Invaders you’ll love blasting with a space laser.
There are no mistakes, just happy accidents. If the goal of an 404 error page is to turn frustration into a different emotion, like calm, there’s no person for the job like Bob Ross.
Creating funny 404 error pages that are clever and visually pleasing is not an easy task, and even the best brands with the highest budgets sometimes fail at it.