A 404 Not Found Error can mean big trouble for an online store and it’s customers. Sales and customer satisfaction will drop. It is lose-lose situation in Ecommerce. Now, because I know you all are winners, we aren’t going to lose out with this pesky 404 Page Not Found Error. I’ll explain the Error and show you how to fix it for your Online Store. The next time you see this error, you’ll have the knowledge needed to fix the error fast and continue to make sales.
How to Recognize the 404 Not Found Error
There are many different ways that you might see this error message on your computer. Be aware that 404 Pages can be entirely customized by the owner of the domain. It can show up any way imaginable but these are some common words that you can look for to know if the Error you see is an HTTP Not Found Error 404
- “404 Error”
- “404 Not Found”
- “The requested URL [URL] was not found on this server.”
- “HTTP 404 Not Found”
- “404 Page Not Found”
The standard HTTP 404 – Not Found Error Page will be a white screen with simple black text. Here is a screenshot of a basic 404 Page that you might see.
Remember that the 404 Page Not Found Error can be completely customized. Here is what GitHub’s 404 Page looks like:
The Default PrestaShop theme has a slightly customized 404 page as well. Here it is for v1.5.
What is the Not Found Error 404?
The HTTP 404 Not Found Error means that the webpage you were trying to reach could not be found on the server. It is a Client-side Error which means that either the page has been removed or moved and the URL was not changed accordingly, or that you typed in the URL incorrectly. Put simply, a 404 Not Found Error means that the webpage simply does not exist with the URL entered.
Simple Steps to Solve
There are some simple tips you can try to solve this problem from your end. We will go over some advance troubleshooting tips later. In any case, you should try these tips first because many times, the 404 Not Found Error can be solved rather quickly.
- Refresh page - The first thing you should do is simply refresh. You can press Ctrl+F5 to force a refresh on the page. The error may appear just because the page wouldn’t load.
- Clear browser’s cache and cookies - If you are able to visit the page from another device, such as your phone, clearing the cache and cookies will usually solve the problem.
- Check the URL - Make sure that the URL inputted correctly. This includes spelling of the URL, correct slashes, file extension of the page and so forth.
- Scan for Malware – There are some malware files that will force a 404 Error on websites. It’s imperative to make sure your computer is clean and not compromised.
- Contact the Webmaster - Go ahead and send a message to the webmaster and let them know of the 404 error. If you are the website owner then contact your hosting provider for more information. If the server is encountering problems, it may return 404 errors.
For PrestaShop store owners, a 404 Not Found Error can be frustrating. I’ll go over some of the most common causes and solutions for seeing a 404 Not Found Error on your Back or Front Office. Many of these “common causes” actually concern the .htaccess file. I do not recommend playing around with this file unless you know what you are doing. Solid Hosting Providers can walk you through setting up your .htaccess file and troubleshooting issues while having a PrestaShop Support Plan ensures that these errors get solved quickly by a PrestaShop team member.
WAIT! Before you start playing around in your Back Office and PrestaShop files, you must backup your entire Database and PrestaShop files. Please read this post to learn how to backup, or have your hosting provider backup both your Database and PrestaShop files.
Now let’s get to solving the 404 Not FoundError.
- Deleted Pages - If you have deleted pages on your store, be aware that Search Engines may have already crawled and indexed the page. It can take some time (up to a month) for search engines to recognize that the page has been deleted. Your customers also may have bookmarked the page as well. It is a good idea to redirect your deleted products to a different page, like your homepage.
- Permissions - If you are getting a 404 Not Found Error along with a sentence that reads “You don’t have permission to access…” Then it’s almost certainly a permissions problem. You should tweak your CHMOD permissions via FTP, or call your hosting provider to have this changed. Usually a good permission set would be 755 for directories and 644 for files. However, permissions vary by host, so be sure to check with them first.
- Memory Limit - You might receive a 404 Not Found error as a page that shows up because of a memory_limit issue with your host. Although the two are not directly related, it’s important to learn how to turn on Error Reporting. Turn Error reporting on and then reload the page with the 404 error, if you see an error that starts with “Fatal error: Out of memory” . Then contact your host to increase your memory limit.
- .htaccess Problems - The .htaccess is a configuration file used by Apache web-servers on your root folder that can, among other things, control redirects, protect folders, and change aspects of your URL’s. Many times you can solve 404 issues by regenerating this file. You can delete the .htaccess file manually through your FTP and regenerate it by heading over to your Back-Office/Advance Parameters/Performance. Sometimes, simply toggling the option for Friendly URL can do the trick by forcing the regeneration of the .htaccess file.
- SSL Certificate Incorrectly Configured - If you can receive a 404 Not Found error after your install your SSL certificate then your SSL Certificate is not set up correctly. Double check with your hosting provider to make sure that your SSL URL is pointing and connecting with the correct PrestaShop URL within the .htaccess file. In PrestaShop 1.5.6 + you have the option to Force SSL on all pages; in that case you need to confirm that any page with content located within an iframe is called in https.
- mod_rewrite is disabled - mod_rewrite is an apache module that allows you to customize your URL’s (That is what Friendly URL is). If you receive a 404 error when you turn on Friendly URL, chances are you do not have mod_rewrite enabled on your server. If your Friendly URL is working but in your Back-Office/Advance Parameters/Performance you see a warning that says “No URL rewriting (mod_rewrite) is not active on your server, or it is not possible to check your server configuration.” Then the problem is not due to mod_rewrite. Some hosting servers have security features that do not allow PrestaShop to check your server configuration. If Friendly URL works, then mod_rewrite is installed correctly.
- Incorrect Custom URL Route - If you received the 404 error after you created a Custom URL route for your pages in your Back Office/Preferences/SEO & URLs , (Must have Friendly URL active and enabled). There is a strong chance that your custom route was not inputted correctly.
Piecing It All Together
Once you get more information about the error, it is always a good idea to search the error in Google (Tip: Add the word “PrestaShop” to your search and hone-in on the problem.) You will find a plethora of information and tutorials about your error. Without a doubt you will find some PrestaShop Forum threads with the [SOLVED] tag by them. Make sure to take the time to read those first.
If you cannot solve the problem after reading this post, researching on the internet and working with your Webmaster/hosting provider, you should definitely take the time to register and post on the PrestaShop Forums. You can Private Message me on the forum (username: “Benjamin Utterback”) with the link to your forum thread and I’ll be sure to take a look and facilitate answers from our expert team of Community Mangers and Moderators.
There you have it; if you follow these steps and suggestions you should be able to troubleshoot most all 404 Not Found Error pages. Whether you are a customer on an Ecommerce website, or the online store’s owner, a 404 Error can be slippery to find the cause and solve it. With the knowledge you learned today, you are well prepared to navigate and solve any 404 Not Found error. Feel free to comment below with your questions and suggestions.