Drupal 6.x 404 Page – Keep Your Visitors with Drupal Search 404 Module

Lets face it the Drupal’s default 404 page is just plain horrible. Not that it really looks bad, it’s just that it really does nothing for our visitors.

I wonder just how many of us give consideration to the error pages on our websites? I must admit, it was the last thing on my mind as well.

This weekend I had the time to sit down finally and catch up on Matt Cutts blog, you can often find golden nuggets of information there that you may not find anywhere else.

Last Monday 13 Oct 2008 Matt wrote a post titled “Free Links to Your Site.” Now that does sound interesting! The purpose of the article is that you could be losing visitors to your site from other sites that linked to you that incorrectly copied or typed in a link to a particular page on your site. This of course would generate a 404 error.

So Your probably wondering what does this have to do with Drupal since it will send your visitor to a 404 page not found. Well the page is as I’ve stated is kind of ugly and really does nothing more then let our visitors know that what they typed or the link they clicked on is not there.

With The Drupal 6.x Search 404 module installed it pulls up a relatively nice page. and it performs a search for you as the page is generated. If a close match is found it will be displayed.

One of the issues that came up during testing, was the ability of a visitor to use the site wide search from if they where on the Search 404 page, it appears this is not possible.

My next goal with the 404 page will be to see how to further customize the layout, making it more user friendly.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • NikLP Oct 20, 2008 @ 9:20

    Hi, I wrote an article some time ago along the same lines; it outlines several ways to tackle this problem, including an elegant solution using a different contributed module.

    It’s here, hope it’s helpful: Custom 404 and 403 error pages in Drupal.

  • You Oct 21, 2008 @ 13:41

    The thing is that the VPS handles most (all?) things thrown at it.

    I forgot to add that core search does not work too well for multiple pages of comments. The forums on the example site have some topics with over 100 pages of comments – linking to the first page is next to useless when the comment you are searching for could be on any one of the 100 odd pages.

  • Glenn Oct 20, 2008 @ 8:43

    That is a good point, with a larger site it could become a performance issue. In a shared hosting environment it could really cripple performance.

    Although one would think that as your site made the transition from small to medium to large, you would also make the transition in hosting platform.

    You could start with Shared hosting, move to virtual private, and finally to a dedicated server. Then there is the option of single core, quad core and more depending on your budget and the ability to monetize the site.

    It was almost comical looking at the logs this morning seeing some of the url’s individuals where typing in, to see the Search 404 results.

    There maybe better alternatives out there, maybe we will hear about them?