The 404 error is defined as a HTTP error message that is returned to the web browser by the web server when the requested web page is unavailable. This type of error occurs when the web page is non-existent or is restricted. The 404 error can, however, be modified by the site’s Webmaster to a more user friendly message. It is adhered that 404 is one of the standard response codes of the TELNET protocol on which the web’s HTTP is based.
The newest version of Google toolbar handles 404 pages for users where suggestions instead of error pages appear when users do a Google search. If a URL is mistyped or the page is slow, the toolbar comes out with the familiar text “Did you mean” with variable and valuable alternatives. When web visitors reach out for content with invalid URL and a server posts a short default error message, the toolbar would suggest an alternate URL to the web visitor. In case the problem is persistent, the URL would also be listed in the crawl errors section of the Webmaster tools’ account. When the web client contemplates setting up of a custom error page, it has to be ensured that result code 404 is returned. The content of 404 pages helps web visitors to comprehend and provide suggestions on how to locate the content when the site displays a custom error page.
A Webmaster who wishes the users to see the custom 404 page should ensure that the page is over 512 bytes in length. This feature is extremely handy for most users since once a Google toolbar is installed, the default 404 page, which indicates “not found”, would be exposed to the web user. The toolbar segments a phrase into a more useful phrase and this process is really helpful for the non-savvy web users. It offers to search for the information that the user is looking for. The Google toolbar also helps with broken or misspelled URLs. When a message reads “Oops the link is broken”, the toolbar has already detected that the page the user was trying to locate could not be found. Instead of “404 error” the Google search box would appear on the page along with helpful guidelines for searching the information.
In case the web user does not want help from 404 error page it is easy to turn off this feature. However, if the user is a Webmaster, customized 404 pages works better and guarantees that the targeted audience views the 404 pages. As the 404 errors have plagued the web since its inception, the newer version of Google toolbar provides good user experience and helps them in navigating a page better. It converts the already existing links to a website into much higher quality link for free while it becomes easier to find pages that link to 404 pages on the site. If the web server has problems with 404 pages, Google Webmaster’s portal helps the web client to create better 404 pages.