Customizing our Joomla templates’ 404 error pages

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Customization Tips

An Error 404 means that you or another user have requested a page that does not exist. This could be because you have entered the wrong URL or that the address that you have requested references resources that have been moved, for example; you changed the aliases for menu items in Joomla and Google didn’t notice this yet. Another possibility is if a website has moved a page or resource but did so without redirecting the old URL to the new one, especially after upgrading from Joomla 1.5 to Joomla 2.5 and then to Joomla 3. When that happens, you’ll receive a 404 error instead of being automatically routed to the new page.

Simple Customization of 404 page

404 Not Found error messages are frequently customized by individual websites, so keep in mind that the 404 error may show up in just about any way imaginable depending on what website it’s shown on. By default all Gavick templates have overridden error pages in two ways, via php and the css styles file (example from Joomla 3.x) :

  • templates/gk_TemplateName/error.php
  • templates/gk_TemplateName/css/system/error.style1.css (if you are using style 1)

Error 404 in GK Mo template

  • If you only want to change the language phrases for the error 404 page I suggest that you read this guide: how-to-translate-my-cart-and-other-phrases.
  • If you want to change Contact Webmaster e-mail in 404 page – check GK template configuration in Features tab,
    there you will find it.


  • If you want to add your own background image – you need to override the body using this code:
    body { background: #ccc url('Patch and YourImage.jpg'); background-size:cover;}
  • If you want to change the font color – also override the body using this:
    body {color: red; }

Advanced customization and how to prevent Error 404 pages

You can improve the user experience (UX) by configuring your site to display a custom 404 page when returning a 404 response code. For example, you could create a page containing a list of your most popular pages, or a link to your home page, or a feedback link. This means you can improve on the standard error page and generate an error page that’s user-friendly, navigational and even include a search box to help direct the user to the page they are looking for.

Unfortunately, the default Joomla (2.5/3.1) does not allow the creation of such sites, so you need to use an additional extension. I’ve prepared a short list which may help you decide what extension will suit you:

  • Qlue Custom 404 ( – it has both Free and Pro versions, very useful and easy to setup. This component detects when your website has a page error and redirects a user to your own custom 404 error page – that is similar to a default Joomla article. So you can include modules, images, and text inside etc.
  • eScope Product Handler ( – This plugin takes an “alias” from old URL and ask database of articles if this alias exists. If it does, the plugin redirects the user to this article. If not, the plugin calls com_search and puts words from alias to search. Users don’t get the error 404 anymore. Just remember to disable the system redirect plugin.
  • The Dynamic404 ( – paid version only; component determines which page is the closest match by looking at Menu-Items and articles to find a matching alias. Alternatively, you can configure redirects yourself from within the Joomla! Administrator. This way you can even fix URL-typos made by your visitors.
  • MijoSEF and sh404SEF – components for SEF also include a custom error page

Check also our “old” article on this same topic: “Page 404 and Joomla”

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