We’ve all seen the dreaded Error 404 message – the result of broken links and mistyped URLs. You’ve probably been on some websites where the error pages are customised with their own logo and message, and I’m sure you’ll agree that it looks far more professional than the standard one.

In this article we’ll show you how to use Apache’s .htaccess file to make your own customised error 404 pages.

Create a new text file on your computer, and call it “htaccess.txt”. Enter the following lines:

<Files .htaccess>

order allow,deny

deny from all


Now you need to create the 404 page. Make a new web page called “error404.htm” and enter “This is my 404 page”. Enter it a few dozen times, as Internet Explorer won’t display it unless the file is over 512 bytes.

Once it’s done, login to your webspace with your FTP client, and create a new folder called “errordocs”. Upload the file “error404.htm” to this directory. Upload “htaccess.txt” to the root of your webspace and rename it to “.htaccess” — there’s no .txt at the end, no name in front, just “.htaccess”. If the file seems to vanish don’t worry, some FTP clients don’t display it — the file’s still there.

ErrorDocument 404 /errordocs/error404.htm

The first part stops people viewing your .htaccess file. The second part tells Apache to redirect any 404 errors to the file “error404.htm”.