Have you ever visited a website and landed on a page displaying “Error 404 – Page Not Found”? These 404 errors indicate that a page a user is trying to access no longer exists or has been moved. 404 errors are a common issue in WooCommerce that can negatively impact both user experience and search engine optimization if left unaddressed. In this guide, we’ll walk through what causes 404 errors, how to detect them, and tips for troubleshooting 404 errors in WooCommerce.
What Are 404 Errors and Why Do They Matter?
A 404 error, commonly known as “page not found,” is a frequent hiccup users encounter online. It pops up when someone follows a broken link or types in an incorrect URL. Here’s a breakdown of the typical causes in a WooCommerce context:
- Deleted Pages: If you remove a page from WooCommerce but neglect to update existing links, visitors will face a 404 error.
- Incorrect Permalinks: Misconfigured WooCommerce permalink settings can lead to invalid URLs for products and pages, triggering 404 errors.
- Broken Links: Any internal link that points to a non-existent page will redirect users to a 404 error page.
- Invalid Product URLs: Changes to product URLs in WooCommerce can leave old links inoperative, resulting in 404 errors.
Why worry about 404 errors? They’re not just a nuisance for your visitors; they also pose technical SEO challenges. Search engines, when encountering these errors, might penalize your site’s ranking. Therefore, prompt troubleshooting and minimizing 404 errors are crucial for a seamless user experience and maintaining your site’s SEO health.
Identifying 404 Errors in WooCommerce
To tackle 404 errors, you first need to identify them. Here’s how you can uncover these elusive gremlins on your WooCommerce site:
- Google Search Console: This tool provides reports on crawl errors, including 404s. It’s a treasure trove of information, offering insights into error pages and practical fix recommendations.
- WooCommerce Logs: Dive into the “Log Viewer” in your WooCommerce dashboard for a direct glimpse at 404 error messages.
- Broken Link Checker Plugins: Plugins like Broken Link Checker and WPMUDEV Redirects are invaluable for finding and redirecting 404s.
- HTTP Error Monitoring Tools: Real-time monitoring tools like Sentry and Raygun keep an eye on HTTP errors, including those pesky 404s.
In addition to these methods, exploring specialized resources like WordaThemes can provide further insights into error handling. For instance, understanding specific issues such as Error 1005 Access Denied by Cloudflare or Error Code 522 by Cloudflare can enhance your troubleshooting process for your WooCommerce site.
Now, with the tools and knowledge at hand, you’re ready to confront and resolve 404 errors in WooCommerce, enhancing both user experience and your site’s SEO performance.
Troubleshooting 404 Errors in WooCommerce
Here are the typical steps you’ll want to take to troubleshoot 404 errors on a WooCommerce website:
1. Check for deleted or moved pages
First, scan your WooCommerce site to see if any pages return a 404 status. Check your homepage, blog archive, all site pages, and main product category and product pages. Any 404s indicate a page was probably deleted or renamed without setting up a redirect.
To find and restore deleted pages, check your WooCommerce trash in the dashboard. Reverting any accidentally deleted pages should fix those 404 errors.
2. Verify permalink settings
One cause of widespread 404s is invalid WooCommerce permalink settings. Navigate to WooCommerce > Settings > Permalinks and confirm your common base is set to
/shop/. The default permalink structure
/shop/product-name is recommended.
Flushing your permalinks after updating this settings often resolves 404s caused by incorrect permalinks.
3. Fix broken internal links
Any broken links on your existing site pages will likely trigger 404 errors. Use a broken link checker plugin to identify and fix problematic internal links redirecting users to missing pages.
Focus on fixing links in navigation menus, widgets, image links, and anywhere else links are implemented.
4. Set up 301 redirects
If you intentionally deleted pages or changed your URL structure, set up 301 redirects to route traffic from old to new URLs. This prevents 404s for URLs that changed.
In the WP dashboard, go to Settings > Permalinks to manually create URL redirects. Or use a redirect plugin for more granular control.
5. Update product URLs
Another source of product page 404s is invalid or outdated product URLs. If the slug or permalink format for a product changed, it can create a 404 for the old URL.
To fix, open each product and re-save the permalink under WooCommerce > Products. This regenerates the URL to match your permalink settings.
6. Use canonical tags
Canonical tags tell search engines which URL version to index for pages with multiple URLs. This prevents duplicate content and avoids indexing 404 URLs.
Add canonical tags to your critical WooCommerce templates like product, category, and taxonomy pages.
By following these troubleshooting steps, you can identify the root cause of 404 errors and take targeted action to eliminate them on your WooCommerce site.
FAQ: 404 Errors in WooCommerce
What are the most common causes of 404 errors in WooCommerce?
The most frequent causes of 404 errors in WooCommerce include deleted or renamed pages, incorrect permalink settings, broken internal links, invalid product URLs, and outdated site redirects.
How can 404 errors impact my WooCommerce site?
Frequent 404 errors result in a frustrating user experience as customers encounter missing pages. They also cause crawl errors that may negatively impact your search engine rankings and traffic.
What are soft 404 errors?
A soft 404 refers to a page that technically still exists, but something prevents the server from displaying it properly. This is often caused by web server configuration issues.
How can I create redirects for deleted WooCommerce pages?
To redirect deleted or renamed WooCommerce pages, use a redirect plugin or create 301 redirects manually in your WordPress dashboard under Settings > Permalinks.
What is the best way to find broken links on my site?
Broken link checker plugins provide the most efficient way to crawl your entire website and identify any broken internal links causing 404s. Installing one regularly helps stay on top of link rot issues.
Troubleshooting 404 errors may seem tedious, but is an essential site maintenance task. By diligently detecting and fixing 404 issues in WooCommerce, you can drastically improve user experience and optimize your technical SEO. For more tips on managing a high-performance WooCommerce website, subscribe to our email newsletter below.”