If you’re browsing the web and you click a link that takes you nowhere, you’re likely to be hit with an error page. The most popular error page is the 404 page, but it’s by no means the only one. Here are some error pages that you are likely to find and that you might be interested in customizing for your own website to be more helpful to your site visitors:
401 Error – This error code is to tell visitors they do not have the proper authorization to view a certain page. If you have a membership site and an individual tries to access a page that requires signing in and their username and password are incorrect then you might deliver a 401 error.
403 Error – This is the forbidden error. It doesn’t mean what you think it means. It usually is a reference to a script that won’t allow users to access a certain page. Even if a user authenticates with a password and username, they could still see a 403 error if there is a problem with your script. You can fix the error at the server level, but you can also customize your error page to be more helpful.
404 Error - Not found. This is the error page you are most likely to see if you a particular web page is not available. Typically, a user types in the wrong URL in their browser window, but you could have also had a typo in the domain name you created and marketed another spelling of it. Easily fixable, but a bug nonetheless.
500 Error – Internal Server Error. I hate these. They typically mean the server had problems, but it can’t tell you want the problem is. It’s unidentifiable and isn’t one of the above. Picture asking a sales clerk at a local retail store and a question about the merchandise in the store and she says, “Sorry, can’t help you and I can’t tell you why.” That’s a 500 error.
To customize any of these error pages you’ll have to open the page in your html editor and add the elements that you wish to add. I’d recommend that you download your index page and cut out all the text content but leave all the design elements so that the page looks like the rest of your website. Then where your text goes, type in the error code and message that you want visitors to see. And that’s about all there is to customizing your error pages, though you may have to access your .htacess file to direct browsers to particular pages when they encounter one. That’s another lesson.