There is an art to creative 404 pages: they can take a disgruntled website visitor from “oh, come on!” straight to “woaaah” in one bad url. This is a selection of some of the best error pages we came across – and most of them belong to websites we all visit every day.
404 pages happen when a user attempts to follow a broken or dead link – therefore it’s easy to see why the 404 error is one of the most recognizable errors ever on the world wide web. Some feature funny images and messages, while others go all the way with full-blown parallax – or full-fledged mini-games (yes, Gamespot, I’m looking at you, but shhh! We’ll get to that a bit later).
The hipster safe-haven Starbucks goes for a minimalist approach, where only the coffee marks left by a missing cup tell the story.
There’s no apocalypse like the Fallout 4 apocalypse. Their 404 page features the ever popular Vault Boy rummaging through a toolbox filled with weapons, grenades and discarded shoes, looking for your missing link.
The awesome cg+ website is ready to forgive you for mistyping a link… with a gun.
Tumblr will treat you to an animated gif by a different user every time you end up on their 404 page. It works wonders – being in the wrong is rarely this entertaining.
Distilled is an online marketing agency, so their 404 page is, of course, quirkier than usual. Hats off to their awesome “web butler” too.
Lego lets the picture speak for itself. Check out their cute, little, unplugged dude:
This is our personal favorite. This 404 page features an 8 bit mini game, with a little guy who can open boxes, and climb stairs, and explore a dungeon… and pretty much waste a lot of your time without even realizing it. We’re actually quite grateful for typing in a bad link 🙂 Thank you, Gamespot! No, really, thank you!
This is a good one. You might have clicked on a bad linked, but as a reward you will be treated to a parallax of colorful art (paint smears and the like) you can scroll through.
You don’t wanna miss this one. Here’s a 404 Death Star:
Here’s one more basketball reference from Dribbble – this time it’s Air Ball!, one of the most iconic chants in college basketball. Surprised? We are neither.
The stock photo website uses the stock photo of an animated vector dog shining a light on the 404 message. In case you were wondering, of course you can also but the illustration.
This is another one of our favorites. The link might be broken, but Pacman is sure to make up for it, and I can honestly say that 15 minutes later I was definitely glad for that small typo in the url. You can thank us later.
Bitly’s 404 page is beautifully animated, and that floating yellow creature will bounce and bobble as you move the mouse.
You are wrong, Mailchimp. This 404 video page is exactly what I was looking for. Check out that beautiful smoke in the background:
Finding a broken link is just like dropping your ice cream in this Airbnb 404 page. Well,unless the ice cream is nicely animated in a trendy flat style, of course. So, don’t drop your ice cream, but make sure you visit the link.
We expected no less from Ubisoft, but seriously, you might want to skip their 404 page if you’re epileptic; or if you’re afraid of demented rabbits; or if you don’t want to break the internet – but we know you want to, don’t you?
The 9gag error page deserves an award for best use of a meme in a 404 page. Well played, 9gag, well played!
Even though it’s quite old, this CSS-Trick 404 page is an Internet classic that proves that even static jpg images can be awesome. The torn paper revealing a snippet of code is sure to bring a smile to your face.
Plain text error pages have their own charm as well. Just take a moment to read this very Onion-ish 404 page – and yes, grinning is allowed:
You can never go wrong with an animal picture on the Internet, even if it’s placed on a 404 page. Huffington Post apparently knows this, and knows it well; you just can’t stay mad at the little furry creature, can you?
Github found the best way to appeal to its geeky audience even when the site breaks. Their 404 page features Star Wars, parallax, and flat design.
Here at Random Zebra we love Blizzard, even when their pages break. This 404 page is also a classic, featuring broken glass and a shattered website. Well, grats to you too, Blizzard. We might have broken the website, but you win the Internet!
Mashable and their 404 page claiming they found all our missing socks had us giggling. Also, the picture features a smiling toe peeking through a torn sock.
Alone in the desert, under a burning sun, here’s the Reddit 404 page for you. It does feel like that sometimes, when you get tangled and stranded somewhere on the World Wide Web.
The messaging application Snapchat is the proud owner of a 404 page featuring their usually faceless ghost, this time with a face – and an attitude to match:
The digital music service Spotify has a silent 404 page – because, obviously, there’s no music to be found on a broken link; hence, the page is asleep, so keep quiet:
Image-sharing Imgur has a 404 page that resembles an art gallery; only the paintings are of cartoon cats… and a giraffe; and their eyes follow your cursor. Enjoy!
Animated space that reminds you of warp drive? Check? Cute, spinning little robot? Check. Here’s Iconfinder’s 404 page (we can’t stop staring at it, honestly):
The 404 page from TripAdvisor is a slight departure from all the others we’ve showcased in this article. TripAdvisorare not trying to be witty – but they are, and they are doing a great job putting the error page in the context of travel and vacation, with some pretty clever messages.