I just sent off instructions to Shannon, but figured I would post them here too. This is how I (finally) set up my custom 404 error page. I didn’t have to use Telnet (the original way Jay was going have me set it up required that, but then he hooked me up so I could just FTP when he realized I had forgotten all I once knew about Telnet). These instructions require a Unix server running Apache. If that is what your site is hosted on … oh, this is sooooo easy it’s wonderful! I feel like a nut for never doing it before! First, you create your custom 404 page. Name it whatever you want. Be sure to set the path right in the line of code below. For my demo it is named “404.html”.
Upload it to the same directory that has your index.html page, the “root” of your site. (My sites are in subdirectories – so http://www.pixelwannabe.com/blahblahblog will take you to blahblahblog.com so my 404 for blahblahblog would go in the same spot where my index.html for blahblahblog is at. Make sense?)
Create a text file in notepad. You will have a line of code in it:
ErrorDocument 404 /404.html
That’s it. The only line. Unless you want to make other pages – there is a 403, a 500, other random ones, but 404 is of course the one we see most often. Or if you had to use the .htaccess file for something else, then you might have more info in there. Save the text file as “.htaccess” without the quotes. Yes, the file name looks odd. Yes, .htaccess – trust me on this. FTP it in ASCII mode to the same location you sent the HTML file to, where your index.html file is located. VIOLA! That’s it. You have a 404 error page, all your own!
Let me know if you have any questions! (No promises that I will be able to answer them, but I’ll try!) Or if my directions are wrong, please let me know. If you want to learn all about .htaccess files and other bits of things like that, you can visit Apache.org.