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Often, on the web, links break or users type in the wrong URL. Sometimes pages go AWOL. At this point a 404 page is displayed, and I thought I’d compile a few of the more recent ones that I’ve spotted.

The thing with 404 pages is that they are often overlooked and uncared for. Ours is in need of a humour injection, though it ticks some of the more important best practice boxes by including a search tool, sitemap and link to the homepage.

Based on many of these examples, this post should be filed under inspiration, as opposed to best practice, though if you are going to revamp your own 404 page then be sure to help users dig their way out of the hole they’ve fallen into. 

Briefly, best practice consists of:

  • Speaking in the right language (avoid error messages like the plague)
  • Useful navigation (provide the user with some easy options to stay on your website)
  • A search box (prompt the user to conduct a keyword search to find replacement pages)
  • The right branding (the page should look like the rest of your website)
  • Tracking (figure out common entry routes to spot and fix broken links, etc)

If you want to dig deeper then check out this post on 404 pages and best practice (contains some other examples).

A word of warning: some of the following pages will blast techno music through your speakers. Brace yourself.

1. Blippy's ‘It’s a 404 yo’

2. Soundserum's bouncing elephant

3. Teeh.me's Who’s Line Is It Anyway trance dance

4. Github's Star Wars inspired wobbly 404

5. I Plan Websites' scrollfest

6. Blizzard's “You broke it.”

7.  The most insane 404 experience on the web

8. Mint's “Justin likes reheated pizza and awkward silence…”

9. Fruit GS' ‘Dead link’ + 8-bit death noise

10. Archit's giftastic tilting page

 

11. Frye / Wiles' birds on a wire

12. Abduzeedo's 'Houston, we have a problem.'

13. Annual Design Awards 'Turn Around'

14. Steve Lambert's awkwardness 

15. Blue Fountain Media's Pac Man game 

16. The BBC's retro test card

I'll also put in an honourable mention for B3ta's thoroughly NSFW 404 page. Proceed with caution if nuns are in the vicinity.

There are plenty of other great / interesting / bizarre examples out in the wild. Please point to them in the comments area below...

Chris Lake

Published 4 April, 2012 by Chris Lake

Chris Lake is CEO at EmpiricalProof, and former Director of Content at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter, Google+ or connect via Linkedin.

582 more posts from this author

Comments (45)

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Alice Kirby

Some great creative ideas here. I did check the date of the post 4th April when I saw the bouncing elephants, as for a moment, I wondered if it should have been 1st April....

I think Architweb's page gets my vote if they really do change it every day then that is a testamnrt to their ingenuity!

over 4 years ago

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Wired Canvas - Web Design for Arts Organisations

Some nice ones there! Love the Steve Lambert one!

Here's our 404 page: http://www.wiredcanvas.com/404 - leaking brain juice...

over 4 years ago

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stuartflatt

I do love these, on ours we featured, Nate Dogg - Oh No,

http://www.averagejoesblog.com/404

over 4 years ago

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Roger Warner

Love this Chris. 404 as linkbait is also a brilliant reason to do something genuinely interesting. Mint's is still my all time fave. Here's ours. Bloody 'creatives': ) http://www.contentandmotion.co.uk/getmethatbloodywebpageplz

over 4 years ago

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Killian @ Open Plus

Great set of pages Chris.

A lovely one we came across recently was on Accessories Online's ecommerce site:

http://www.accessoriesonline.co.uk/lost

Oh, ok then here's ours too!

http://www.openplus.co.uk/lost

over 4 years ago

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Killian @ Open Plus

Great set of pages Chris.

A lovely one we came across recently was on Accessories Online's ecommerce site:

http://www.accessoriesonline.co.uk/lost

Oh, ok then here's ours too!

http://www.openplus.co.uk/lost

over 4 years ago

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Paweł Banaszak, Owner at Nordcomm Consulting

Good post Chris. Inspiring.
Another way to use 404 pages is utilizing them for a social campaign.
Here's a Polish example: http://serwisy.gazeta.pl/404/0,0.html
This is a 404 page of one of Poland's most popular web portals. The space is used to display pictures of missing people along with contact information of a charity that helps look for them.
You might question whether displaying the pictures is likely to be effective in finding these people but I think it does the job as an awareness rising element.

over 4 years ago

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Martin Oates

An often very creative part of a web project that can be overlooked. And a very good point about viewing their entry paths to find broken links.

Here's ours...
http://www.pixelbuilders.com/404

over 4 years ago

Andrew Nicholson

Andrew Nicholson, Founder at The Guku

Here's our cringe inducing 404 for Olympic catering recruitment campaign, BeMoreThanASpectator.com. http://www.bemorethanaspectator.com/404

Personally, I like the unicorn.

over 4 years ago

Victoria Hanson

Victoria Hanson, Digital Marketing Manager at The Hideaways Club

I love these, they are always guaranteed to raise a smile!

over 4 years ago

Dean Marsden

Dean Marsden, Digital Marketing Executive at Koozai Ltd

I love this sort of post. Those examples are a lot different to the usual custom designs. I have a question though, what is it with creating an out-there funny 404 page? Just one of those things us internet people do? No point in doing it for the links ;)

over 4 years ago

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Jim Seward

Why is there no distilled 404 on that page!!!

http://www.distilled.net/w45344sdfsrgs

over 4 years ago

Dean Marsden

Dean Marsden, Digital Marketing Executive at Koozai Ltd

That Distilled one is very nice Jim, especially when Will and Duncan dressed up in real life.

over 4 years ago

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Flavius Saracut

Since we're building mobile apps, here's ours :)

http://www.mobiversal.com/404.html

over 4 years ago

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Kevin Evans

Here's another good 404 page

http://www.buyapowa.com/404

over 4 years ago

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Jessy

I love your creativity but Here's another good 404 page, i think you like guys
http://www.raspberryketone.webs.com

over 4 years ago

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Brad Russell

Check out http://www.lingscars.com/404 from a website voted amongst the worst in the world. Classic!

over 4 years ago

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tv izle

That Distilled one is very nice Jim, especially when Will and Duncan dressed up in real life.

over 4 years ago

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Roezer

They all look nice but when someone is looking for something they may not want a laugh, I find that having a link to the homepage and maybe a related page is much better than a picture of a cute puppy.

over 4 years ago

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Nadya Tatarciuc, Head of Paid Search at Markco Media

Love Justin's page, simply hilarious!

over 4 years ago

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Wendy

Some very cool ones! I quite like mine too (if I'm allowed to be biased) - used it to poke fun at the 'hipster' connotations of our brand:

http://www.somethingindie.com/newws.html

over 4 years ago

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damar şarkılar

Cool ones! I quite like mine too (if I'm allowed to be biased) - used it to poke fun at the 'hipster' connotations of our brand:

over 4 years ago

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radyo dinle

That Distilled one is very nice Jim, especially when Will and Duncan dressed up in real life.

over 4 years ago

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Janek

Best 404 ever found: http://duckiedeck.com/page404/

over 4 years ago

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radyo dinle

hey many thanks, I love these, they are always guaranteed to raise a smile!

over 4 years ago

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canlı tv

i think you like guys

about 4 years ago

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lfs yamaları

i think you like guys

about 4 years ago

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viral kathiriya

Really, Cool staff, i really like this one (The BBC's retro test card). i am also Going to update it in my Website....

about 4 years ago

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ITDB

Hehe, those are some great 404 examples.
I work at an IT department, and in many cases the fault is user-generated (i.e. the user does something wrong and blame the computer/IT dep) - so ITDBs 404 is a bit inspired from my fellow co-workers. Example: http://it-db.com/404 :)

about 4 years ago

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lfs yamaları

and in many cases the fault is user-generated

almost 4 years ago

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lfs yamaları

and in many cases the fault is user-generated

almost 4 years ago

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lfs yamaları

That Distilled one is very nice Jim, especially when Will and Duncan dressed up in real life.

almost 4 years ago

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arsız bela

I love these, they are always guaranteed to raise a smile!

almost 4 years ago

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tv izle

That Distilled one is very nice Jim, especially when Will and Duncan dressed up in real life.

almost 4 years ago

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atv izle

thanks

almost 4 years ago

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çoçuk şarkıları

çok güzelmış

almost 4 years ago

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Tom

LOL... some of these are really funny.. I will keep this URL in mind when I see someone griping about 404s in other forums... That way I will look so smart directing them to something that they might find really useful. Thanks for a useful post..

over 3 years ago

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Tv izle

That Distilled one is very nice Jim, especially when Will and Duncan dressed up in real life.

over 3 years ago

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Gouri

This is one of the best compilations I have come across. Most of the pages are really cool!!

over 3 years ago

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Liam O'Leary, Creative Director at Laser Red

Our 404 page is pretty cool and has some HTML5 audio http://laserred.co/dead-page

over 3 years ago

Rupert Adam

Rupert Adam, Senior Marketing Executive at Emailcenter

As we are all sharing. Check ours out: http://www.emailcenteruk.com/404

about 3 years ago

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Branden S, Founder at The Informr

Here's another 404 that, like the GitHub example, uses Parallax effect: http://lockerz.com/404.

And some other great examples from around the web if I may share:

Heinz ketchup http://www.heinz.com/error.aspx, Titlest https://www.titleist.com/404, eHarmony http://www.eharmony.com/404/, Sporting Solutions http://www.sportingsolutions.com/404 (for football fans). And our own attempt: http://www.cellphones.ca/404/.

almost 3 years ago

Nash

Nash, Nectafy, LLC

I love that one by Blizzard Entertainment, so cool! We've done our own creative 404 page, with video. Our president and his kids had a lot of fun putting it together. Check it out here: http://nectafy.com/404-error-page-smile

over 2 years ago

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Christie Kristensen, Marketing at Creativepool

over 2 years ago

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Karol Potasiak, tech director at CF

Another great example of creative 404 page : http://www.fuzy.pl/404

over 1 year ago

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