Random 404 Reference in a WordPress Website? What’s Really Going On?

I keep getting random 404 error messages on my WordPress site. I get them when I post a new article or make a big change to an existing one. Sometimes the errors come in bunches, and sometimes they’re just one or two. The frustrating part is that I have no idea what’s causing them, which means I have to keep finding and fixing these errors myself. This typically involves deleting the post, starting over, and hoping that I end up with a different set of results. It’s a huge pain. So let’s walk through this together and see if we can’t figure out what’s going on. It might seem like a bit of an XY problem, but I promise this is for the best.

The Real Reason For The Errors

Let’s start with the most obvious one. It’s not that you’re getting 404 errors because you have a broken link. It’s that you have a broken link because you have a 404 error.

Most of the time, you’ll see a broken link when you browse to a URL that doesn’t exist, like http://example.com. When a user clicks on this link, they’ll see a page not found message, and the URL will appear to be broken. This is why it’s important to keep your URLs consistent throughout your site.

Another reason you might see a 404 error is if someone accidentally deleted a file or directory on your server. In this case, you’ll have directories and files with missing paths, which means if you try to access them, you’ll get a 404. The best way to prevent this from happening is to simply make sure that everything is linked correctly in the first place. Always make sure that your images and other files are linked to the proper directory and that your style sheets are linked to the correct stylesheet.

How Do I Prevent This From Happening?

Okay, now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s figure out how to prevent this from happening in the first place. It’s not like there’s a specific solution for this, but there are a few things you can do to make sure it doesn’t happen as often as it does. The first step would be to remove all of the content you’ve published since the site went live. This includes deleted posts, drafts, and anything else you’ve published. Just go through and click `Publish` on every piece of content, whether it’s a post, an image, or a YouTube video. This will ensure that all of your content is caught up to date, and it will prevent you from getting any 404 errors when you update your site with new content.

It’s also a good idea to run a backlink checker over your entire site. A backlink is a link from one website to another. For example, let’s say you have a piece of content with links to other related articles. If someone clicks on one of these links and lands on an article that doesn’t exist, there’s a chance they’ll get confused and think the link is faulty. When this happens, it often results in a 404 error. A simple backlink checker will detect any broken links and help you find them before they cause any issues.

Last but not least, we have security. It’s always a good idea to run a security check on your WordPress site just to be safe. This usually entails looking for any malicious software that might have been installed without your knowledge. This is a lot less common than you’d think, but it happens. Make sure you’re not running any software that you don’t need, and if you do, make sure you keep it up to date.

Hopefully, this was helpful. There’s no specific answer for why you might get 404 errors sometimes, but hopefully, this article gave you enough information to find out what’s causing them and how to prevent them from happening in the first place.