homepage Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from
register, free tools, login, search, pro membership, help, library, announcements, recent posts, open posts,
Pubcon Platinum Sponsor 2014
Home / Forums Index / Code, Content, and Presentation / PHP Server Side Scripting
Forum Library, Charter, Moderators: coopster & jatar k

PHP Server Side Scripting Forum

Setting the 404 header info
In what file should I add it? In /404.php?

5+ Year Member

Msg#: 4113972 posted 8:09 pm on Apr 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hello. This was discussed before but most threads were too old to reply there.

I want to set the 404 header info when a page was not found.
I have a 404 page on my server to show when a page was not found. The page is /404.php, is this the file where I should add the header info?

header("HTTP/1.0 404 Not Found");
header("Status: 404 Not Found");
<h1>Sorry, page not found</h1>

Is this the correct location to add this?



WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Msg#: 4113972 posted 9:01 pm on Apr 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

Yes it is, top of the page, before any html. Not even blank space


5+ Year Member

Msg#: 4113972 posted 9:49 pm on Apr 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

And do you know if setting the header info like that works with specifying the 404 page in .htaccess by this mean?

ErrorDocument 404 http://example.com/404.php

Doesn't Apache already set the proper info in file header if I have this in htaccess?


WebmasterWorld Senior Member themadscientist us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Msg#: 4113972 posted 11:01 am on Apr 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

ErrorDocument 404 http://example.com/404.php

Actually, the above is an 'external' location for the file (even though I'm guessing it's on your website) so Apache will correctly send a '302 Found' (AKA Undefined) redirect status code, so in this case you will have to set the 404 header on the error page... (This is a redirect.)

ErrorDocument 404 /404.php

Is an 'internal' location, so rather than sending the browser there, Apache 'gets' the page and serves the information from it, so a 404 Not Found will be served to the visitor... (This is a rewrite.)

IMO the safest thing to do is use the server relative path (starts with a / as above) and go ahead and set the 404 on the PHP too... It's a bit of double coverage, and as long as you have it correct then it doesn't hurt. I actually have a set of custom error page 'starting points' that contain certain things I use on them, such as the PHP status code header for the error, and noindex,nofollow,noarchive robots meta tags, a 'the URL: http://www.example.com/url-here.html has been disconnected or is no longer in service' message (actually, I think that one's my answering machine, but I'm sure you get the point, and I think that one's going on my new 404 pages, because I like it. LOL.), a link to the home page for sure (and usually a few 'key' pages I think people might like to visit) etc. Then I just put a different template on them for different sites.

Also, it's usually recommended to always check error page headers, which can be done with a FireFox Plugin (Live headers, I think) or (what I usually use since I've been using it for years) is the server header check here in your control panel... Go to the control panel link at the top of the page, give it a click, turn left, pause to look at the neat little picture above the calendar for a second, look down at the bottom of the links on the left, click the second one up where it says 'server headers', copy and paste a broken link from your site in the box, hit 'submit' and you'll know what code the bots are getting for that page... Sometimes it's a good idea to do on pages you think are supposed to work too, just to see what's being sent. :)


5+ Year Member

Msg#: 4113972 posted 11:50 am on Apr 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the tips, 404 path relative to site root looks better, I was not sure how that is made, so now that it is rewrite it keeps the URL in address bar and it says it was not found.
I use liveheaders but not so advanced, I will look more into its features.

Global Options:
 top home search open messages active posts  

Home / Forums Index / Code, Content, and Presentation / PHP Server Side Scripting
rss feed

All trademarks and copyrights held by respective owners. Member comments are owned by the poster.
Home ¦ Free Tools ¦ Terms of Service ¦ Privacy Policy ¦ Report Problem ¦ About ¦ Library ¦ Newsletter
WebmasterWorld is a Developer Shed Community owned by Jim Boykin.
© Webmaster World 1996-2014 all rights reserved