An Argument For A Custom Error Page

Your 404 errors should never look like stack traces. If you’re using Apache Tomcat, like FoxBusiness.com, it might:

That looks worse than it is.
Click for full size

Ensuring your Web server throws up an error page with relevant navigation and your logo on it would make this so much easier for the user, and it wouldn’t make it look like your Web site just crashed.

In another vein, you know, if I were in charge of QA for a heavily-trafficked, constantly updated site, I’d have more than one automated link checker running constantly on the pages. Sure, you get a performance hit as your spiders troll the sections, but you ought to have bandwidth to spare for it, and it would hopefully find broken crap before your users saw it. Or before many, anyway. Just one spider per section on constant rotation to make sure your links are as fresh as possible.

Of course, some intern is in charge of QA for most of these places, and by QA, I mean making photoQApies. Isn’t that how college students spell it these days?

No Responses to “An Argument For A Custom Error Page”

  1. gimlet Says:

    For the harried sysadmin or developer who runs across this site, trying to find out how to configure a customized error page in Tomcat:

    From the Apache Wiki, add this to your application’s web.xml:

    404
    /error/404.html

    You may also be able to configure your web server (ie, Apache or IIS) to return a custom error page if you are using connectors.

  2. gimlet Says:

    TinyURL to the rescue! http://tinyurl.com/56bv5u


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