If you are a webmaster you will eventually stumble upon users in the access logs that tried to access pages on the website that do not exist. These visitors are presented with a 404 error page that can be customized by scripts but also simple html. It could for example point the visitors to the homepage, display a search form so that they can perform a search to find the content they are looking for or display the most popular and recent posts on that page.
Another option is to make use of a service called 404 toons which is basically a custom 404 error page that is displaying an animation that is talking to the lost user and provides a link back to the homepage of the website. It is probably a good idea to display some of the characters that can be displayed to the visitors.
A selection of characters are available ranging from a Mafia dude, policeman to a secret agent and an alien. Some characters offer multiple animations. It might be a good idea to check out the page listing all available characters on the 404 Toons website. All characters can be downloaded in one package from the website.
The developers are also offering custom characters and a professional voice recording service on their website. This is not only available for 404 error pages but also other purposes like instructions on a website.
You might also be interested in our best of 404 error pages which contains screenshots of some great 404 error pages.
Update: The 404 Toons website is no longer available, the developers seem to have abandoned it and the project. Webmasters should make sure that they update their websites to display a 404 error page that is useful to the visitor. Instead of just stating not found it should at least contain a link back to the homepage and a search form to perform a search for contents hosted on the site.
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.