404 Day (and they say you can’t make something out of nothing)

Happy 404 day!

What, you didn’t know today was a holiday? Whether you write dates in mm/dd or dd/mm order, as long as you’re on the Gregorian calendar today’s date is 4/04 — and any savvy consumer of HTTP knows that 404 means “page not found”, a status code encountered far too often in the ever shifting sea of links that we call the Web.

To help celebrate the occasion, take a look at the 404 Research Lab, a site dedicated to everything that is 404. It includes a history of 404, steps to dealing with a 404, and even a philosophical discussion of the significance of 404.

Best of all, check out Area 404, which contains links to a variety of creative 404 pages. Some of my favorites include parodies of Shakespeare and Poe’s The Raven, a somewhat dated but still funny WMD not found page, a Limerickal Ode to the Duke of URL (ouch), “Oh, the humanity!“, and the paranoid server that just won’t stop making excuses.

Jeff Atwood posted recently on creating useful 404 pages. In the comments you’ll find even more links to humorous examples, as well as one really useful one.

Finally, if you’re using WordPress, check out Rodney’s 404 Handler plugin. This little gem will let you know when your users encounter a 404 on your blog. It might help you locate a dead link or two.