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Not Your Typical 404

It’s happened to the best of us — from the casual browser looking for car parts on eBay to the full-time, multi-tab launching power-user, it’s inevitable that you’ll stumble upon an error page (or four) while surfing the net.

Posted September 8, 2010 by Nonstop Honolulu

It’s happened to the best of us — from the casual browser looking for car parts on eBay to the full-time, multi-tab launching power-user, it’s inevitable that you’ll stumble upon an error page (or four) while surfing the net.

Page moved, URL no longer exists or maybe a typo that took you to to a bad, bad place — it’s a fact of Internet life and an important part of a larger web infrastructure and user experience.

404 pages or Not Found error messages, according to Wikipedia, are as follows:

The 404 or Not Found error message is an HTTP standard response code indicating that the client was able to communicate with the server, but the server could not find what was requested. 404 errors should not be confused with “server not found” or similar errors, in which a connection to the destination server could not be made at all. A 404 error indicates that the requested resource may be available again in the future.

This is cool and all, but why are we talking about them? Well — to follow in the footsteps of twitter, and millions of other 404 page customizers, we want to give YOU the chance to own our 404! Read on.

Here’s what the Nonstop 404 page looks like now, along with a look at a bunch of other local and national 404 pages:

We know, it's lame (1 of 11)

We know, it's lame

Now, you’ll notice some web administrators choose to redirect their 404 traffic back to a page that does exist, such as their home page, contact page or sign-up page, (porn sites do this with extreme effectiveness. It’s my job to study the net.) it’s not always the best idea to do so. Mashable, for example, redirects their 404 page to an interesting article about error handling. Largely because their audience may skew savvy and know how to utilize search to find an article they’re hunting for.

Part of why 404 pages exist in the first place is largely due to the fact that a page really did move, or is no longer available, and it’s the 404′s job to facilitate a venue for someone to find what they truly were looking for, or — there’s really cool stuff there!

This is where you come in — artists, illustrators, musicians, whatever, we want to showcase your talent! Much like’s Exhibition Room, we want Nonstop’s 404 page to burst at the seams with great drawings, music, video and who knows what else might make it there.

If you’re interested and want your work to be seen, shoot me an e-mail and show us what you got! We’ll start as soon as I get a few entries and if your entry sticks, maybe we’ll have our very own 404ified version of twitter’s fail whale!?

While we’ll be displaying your work with credit and a link back, we’ll also build in some suggestions as to why someone who accidentally found our 404 can get to where they need to. We expect this to boost our error page views and convolute how a real 404 should work, but we’re willing to stick our necks out for you, so bring it on!

Web administrators/masters/architects/designers/monkeys/etc. — what’s your take on the 404? How do you handle your errors? Do you know of any cool 404 pages or sites out there doing it differently? Post it up in our comments, powered by Livefyre.


  1. edmorita
    Posted September 7, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    Can’t wait to see what people come up with.

  2. Posted September 7, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    @edmorita Thanks, Ed! Me too! I’ll @reply a bunch of the peeps who said they were interested to see if we can get some chatter going here. Thanks for the tweet!

  3. EdwardKim
    Posted September 7, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    Like I promised on your facebook page.

    This post reminds me or an article I read a few months back.

    I especially like the cssTricks 404 page. But I feel like your 404 page should be fun and represent who you are as an entity on the web.

  4. Posted September 7, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    @EdwardKim Yo Ed! Yep — there are several “top lists” of awesome 404 pages and I agree, your 404 should AT LEAST offer up a suggestion or a way to search for missing content, but it’s amazing how many very large websites out there, especially in Hawaii, fail to offer a hand to their readers.

    I like the cssTricks 404 as well.. clever. :) Thanks for the comment!

  5. strobie
    Posted September 7, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    Now I want to go hunt down a @3DHawaii 404 screenshot. It’s a hiker on a mountaintop! But I’ve worked hard to root all those out. ;-)

  6. strobie
    Posted September 7, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    @johngarcia @edmorita @reply I think it should be the Nonstop logo with the second “o” teetering and the “p” hanging on by a thread so the arrow points down, then graphically exaggerate the arrow.

  7. Posted September 7, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    @strobie @3DHawaii I liked your 404. :) I thought it was creative and was in-line with your content. Maybe make the dude local, though? ;-) hehe

  8. strobie
    Posted September 7, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    @johngarcia @EdwardKim That article is great. Love the dead fly.

  9. strobie
    Posted September 7, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    @johngarcia @3DHawaii Yeah, no kidding! That dude should be yodeling and wearing lederhosen! ;-)

  10. Tommy
    Posted September 7, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    I think you should put up a rotating plate of food with a captain that says, “If this is the wrong photo of food you’re looking for, perhaps you should try searching again.” The plate should be labeled “Plate 404″

  11. Posted September 7, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    Great topic, John. Here’s my clever design: 404. Did you see? I wrote it backwards!

    There are some good ones in this Mashable roundup of error pages:

  12. Posted September 7, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    @strobie @3DHawaii ahah seriously, though, where’d you folks get that photo? hehe Hold a contest for best “exploring local” then do a professional photoshoot for your 404 image. ;-)

  13. Posted September 7, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    @Andreas ahaha Did you see? One day he’s going to catch on. :-p

    I saw the round-up on Mashable the other day… fancy that! Seems these topics are always pretty timely, though, and a “top/greatest/awesome/cool” list of anything usually never gets old as long as you space them out.

    Did you have a hand in re-wording the KS 404? :)

  14. strobie
    Posted September 7, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    @johngarcia @3DHawaii Stock footage, I’m sure. Styled shoot would be an excellent upgrade.

  15. Posted September 7, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    @Tommy haha good idea, Thomas. If this whole plan for user-submitted content fails, maybe we’ll stick with the empty plate idea. Or, to keep in line with our three “pillars” we could do something for each:

    Entertainment: Bottles “404 brewery” beer, empty and scattered on white
    Eating: Empty plate with 404 drawn out in smudged ketchup (don’t forget the pepper)
    Events: Maybe a torn off club wristband with “404 – Page Not Found” printed on the side

    This could be fun.

  16. Posted September 7, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    @strobie @3DHawaii ha or maybe a series of awesome 3DHawaii explorers… a different one for each time you hit the error page? :) It’ll be like a present every time.

  17. Posted September 7, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    @johngarcia Ha ha! Yes, our friend with the waders will be rich and famous some day.

    I’ve never seen a local roundup of 404s before, so you’re ahead of the game there. But yeah, definitely a topic that never gets old and should never get old.

    The KS 404 was always this maika’i! I had nothing to do with it. :)

  18. Posted September 7, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    @strobie @edmorita @reply hehe check this out:

    From Masumi on Facebook:

  19. Posted September 7, 2010 at 11:36 pm

    @strobie @johngarcia @EdwardKim Commodore 64 FTW!

  20. Posted September 7, 2010 at 11:43 pm

    @Andreas Well — awesome, then! This post wasn’t really meant as a local 404 roundup, but maybe it should morph into that? I tried grabbing 404′s from sites that people reading would recognize. :) I can think of a few more to add to the gallery. I think it’s a highly under-utilized page on many sites!

  21. strobie
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 3:49 am

    @Andreas @johngarcia @EdwardKim winnah!

  22. strobie
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 3:49 am

    @johngarcia @edmorita @reply CUTE!

  23. harrycovair
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 5:28 am

    I’ve gotten my share of 404′s. It’s especially frustrating when the twidiot posts a tweet and then pulls the object from the page and doesn’t bother to delete the original tweet. Same can be said for page developers that don’t update their own page(s).

    I can live with the 404′s. What frustrates me to no end are the 403 errors. Too many users or certificate required/expired.

    At work they tightened down all access to the blog-o-sphere. Anything related or resembling a blog is completely and irrevocably FORBIDDEN. Sometimes I’ll (accidentally) blindly clink on a shortened url and get that infamous “Sorry but your organization has FORBIDDEN access to <web_site_name>” (No, not porn… I know what you’re thinking already.)

    Hey, thanks for the rant and rave. Feeling better already.

    Remember it’s spelled g-O-O-g-l-e and not g-o-G-G-l-e. 8-)

  24. turkfontaine
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 5:59 am

    this is the kind of thing i mean when i talk about NNSTPHNL’s ‘snap, crackle and pop’. it’s a damned exciting and interesting place and i hope it will be the HIhomepage for many people.

  25. Posted September 8, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    @turkfontaine Thanks for joining us, Turk! We’ve got some pretty neat blog posts coming up soon! Hope you stick around!

  26. Posted September 8, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    @harrycovair Great thoughts, Harry! I hate it when I come across a broken twiter link or Lots of orgs are blocking social networking access at work and I’ve seen interesting articles on why it might not be the best idea… I’ll dig them up someday. In any case, thanks for joining us and it’s good to know who the techies are in these comments!

  27. harrycovair
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    @johngarcia Eating: an empty plate with *crumbs* and your ketchup 404.

  28. Posted September 21, 2010 at 6:52 am

    We got a 404 submission! I’ll be putting it up shortly as soon as the artist sends me a finalized version. If you’ve got ideas, send them my way! Photos, video, whatever! Doesn’t even have to be 404 related!

  29. Posted March 24, 2011 at 5:58 am

    It’s been a while, but check our 404! :)

  30. nonstopmari
    Posted March 24, 2011 at 6:10 am

    @johngarcia badumpbump *groan* definitely memorable

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