How to Make All 404 Pages Redirect to the Homepage in WordPress

404 errors are a part of every website and they are no cause for alarm. However, they also aren’t something you should ignore, thinking that all 404 pages are completely harmless. There are many instances of this issue negatively affecting websites which is why you shouldn’t put this problem out of sight and out of mind. Instead, make them work in your favor by redirecting more visitors to your homepage. And believe us – even though it sounds very complicated to make all 404 pages redirect to the homepage in WordPress, the process is actually quite simple. Nothing a good plugin won’t be able to fix!

In fact, redirecting 404 pages to your homepage is as simple as ABC because it can be done in three simple steps. But before we get into the details, we’ll first have to explain what 404 pages are, what they can do and why tending to them on a regular basis should be a part of mandatory WordPress website maintenance.

What exactly is a 404 page?

There are many errors and glitches you will be able to encounter when browsing the Internet – the 404 error is probably the most common one. This error has become so common that websites have a specially designed 404 page to show once the mistake happens. In essence, a 404 error is a common HTTP status code. It shows you when a webpage or a URL you are trying to visit can’t be found on the Internet. For example, if a website links to one of your blog posts or pages, but it misspells the URL, then every visitor who decides to follow the link will end up on the same page – a 404 page.

404 made out of legos.
404 errors are a regular occurrence nowadays.

Technically, 404 errors don’t have the power to hurt your ranking – at least, that’s what Google says. But that still doesn’t mean they aren’t meddling with your website traffic. So if you have decided to fix this issue and hopefully increase your traffic, stick with us for a few more moments. Because before you can fix the issue, our WP Full Care team knows you need to know one more thing – all the causes of 404 pages.

Why do 404 errors happen?

As previously mentioned, this is one of the most common errors on the Internet nowadays. So there has to be a long list of reasons why they keep popping up, right? In fact, we would name three reasons as the most common culprits of 404 pages.

  1. Like previously mentioned, when a website puts in the wrong URL to your website while linking to your content, a 404 error is bound to happen.
  2. Losing website content due to a server malfunction or a website transfer is a chance for some 404 error pages to pop up.
  3. Updating your old posts and pages seems to be the main reason why 404 errors happen. Titles and headings are important for your website but any time you update them, you also have to change the URL of the post.
Update written on a blackboard.
Content updates are to be handled with a lot of care and attention.

And that brings us to what we are really here for – learning how to make all 404 pages redirect to the homepage in WordPress. For that purpose, we are going to use one of the best free plugins that are available, as well as list others that you can use.

Which plugins to use if you want to make all 404 pages redirect to the homepage in WordPress?

For the purpose of this guide, we are going to use the All 404 Redirect to Homepage plugin. But we also want you to have different options if you choose to go the other way. That’s why we can also recommend any of the following plugins:

  • Redirection – a free, simple, and effective plugin with over 1 million active installs.
  • 5sec Redirect – a premium plugin best suitable for advanced users that comes with an $11 price tag.
  • Safe Redirect Manager – a free plugin with an extremely simplified user interface.

Which one will work best for you? There’s no telling! All of these plugins are very popular with website owners, and there’s certainly a good reason for that. You are probably going to choose well no matter which option you go for.

How to make all 404 pages redirect to the homepage with the All 404 Redirect to Homepage plugin?

The first step is always the installation and activation of the plugin. So go ahead and login into your admin dashboard, find the All 404 Redirect to Homepage plugin by going to Plugins > Add New. Then simply click Install and then Activate the plugin.

Side note: if you have a caching plugin installed, make sure you purge it in order for the redirect plugin to work properly. 

A woman working on a laptop, trying to make all 404 pages redirect to homepage.
15 minutes of your time is all that it takes for you to redirect your 404 pages to the homepage.

For the next step, we suggest you customize the plugin. Go to Settings > All 404 Redirect to the Homepage settings page and set the 404 redirection status to enabled. Once you locate the Redirect all 404 pages to section, enter the URL of your own page so that all 404 end up leading to your homepage. Don’t forget to click on Update Settings and feel free to sit back and relax – that was all the work needed for completing this process.

To add the finishing touches, go ahead and test the plugin. Enter a wrong URL into the browser (type in some nonsense at the end of your website URL) and see where it leads you. If it redirects you to your homepage, that means that the plugin is working like a charm. If the error 404 page opens, then retrace your steps and see where it went wrong.

The bottom line

While 404 errors aren’t a menace, they also aren’t a completely harmless thing. The good thing is that if you want to make all 404 pages redirect to the homepage in WordPress, you won’t have to work that hard. You can do it quickly and easily. Just follow our guide and you will take care of this problem before you know it!

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