38 brilliantly designed 404 error pages

21. Everipedia

Everipedia is a wiki site that has a vision to become "a pillar of the Internet, by connecting people to information about anything and everything," its executive editor Romi Ezzo tells us. With its information-sharing purpose in mind, "We thought we could give people a much more relevant user experience by helping people learn about 404 errors if they ever came across one on our site," says Ezzo, who sent us this GIF to illustrate the 404 error page in action. Telling you everything you need to know about 404 pages, it's pretty meta, and totally in keeping with the site's aims.

22. Tin Sanity

404 pages Tin Sanity

This dancing cup and straw screams its way across the page around the text

Tin Sanity features an incredible animation of a dancing cup and straw that screams its way across the page around the text: "You just got 404'd". The screaming is accentuated with a drumroll and funky bass soundtrack, all of which leaves an excellent impression.

23. Audiko

404 pages Audiko

This 404 page is worth a visit just for the artwork

The free ringtone-making service's 404 page features a beautifully rendered illustration of London, including the obligatory red bus and telephone box, as well as Big Ben's Tower, Sherlock Holmes and a hint of Tower Bridge. The site's worth a visit just for the brilliant artwork.

24. Bret Victor

404 pages Bret Victor

This is not a page. It's a picture of something that's not a page. Or is it?

Bret Victor's 404 page, inspired of course by René Magritte's iconic painting, The Treachery of Images, confronts the viewer with some challenging philosophical questions. If this is not a page, then what is it? What constitutes a 'page'? Is it a thing that can be truly said to exist? What is the 'this' that this apparent non-page is referring to? Is anything truly real? Makes you think, no?

The stock image has two great error pages – one page not found page with an animation of a child searching under the bed for the page that doesn't exist (pictured above) and another 404 error page that features a still image of a child looking #sorrynotsorry. The animation is more fun and original, but we like the way that the child and message changes each time you access the 404 error page. Each have myriad ways to get you back on track, as you'd expect from Shutterstock.

26. Home Star Runner

404 pages Home Star Runner

This 404 page features amusing characters and shouts "404'd" at you

Audio can be very effective when used in a 404 capacity. This error page for Home Star Runner, which features amusing characters, downloads and games, shouts "404'd" at you when you first arrive on the page. The hand-drawn illustration fits the rest of the site well in terms of style and theme.

27. Duoh!

404 pages Duoh

Duoh uses bright colours and negative space in its 404

Duoh is the collaborative partnership between illustrator Veerle Pieters and partner Geert Leyseele. Their business is based on strong design principles,  so you'd expect a well-realised 404 page – and they don't disappoint. In characteristic bright colours and negative space, this page looks and feels in keeping with the rest of the site.

28. Bit.ly

404 pages Bit ly

Bit.ly's cute creature responds to your mouse movements

Link shortening service Bit.ly needs a special URL for its 404 page as bit.ly.com/404 has already been used as a shortened link. The page itself features a cute little creature bobbing up and down in an interactive sea, and responds to your mouse movements.

29. ApartmentHomeLiving

404 pages Apartment Homeliving

Why is a sheep sitting on the lavatory in this 404 error page?

This letting agent website's 404 page features a strange interior shot with a sheep sitting on the lavatory. Creative and wacky at the same time, it's a great (if abstract) example of how to do it well.

30. DropBox

404 pages DropBox

DropBox has a very simple but effective 404 page featuring an Escher-esque impossible box

Replacing the Escher-esque impossible box that adorned its 404 page for years, DropBox has gone for a similarly quirky illustration to represent things all going wrong – the wheels coming off, if you like. It's a nice, simple hand-drawn illustration that gets the message across well, with plenty of helpful navigation links for usibility.

31. eHarmony

404 pages eHarmony

Is eHarmony's 404 suggesting you should just get plastered?

The last thing you want to find when you're looking for love is that it can't be found, but eHarmony's 404 page softens the blow with this adorable image and a suggestion that you sign up for its dating service. Or maybe it's suggesting that you should just get plastered? That works for us, too.

32. Walk with You

404 pages Walk with You

Bold typography makes this 404 page come alive

This simple illustrative design for a site promoting life coaching uses existing assets from the overall site design, including a waterfall, to convey the 404 message. Bold typography makes this page work well.

33. LimpFish

404 pages Limpfish

No time-wasters, please

One of the best examples of a newspaper metaphor, Dave Barton's personal site manages to inject a little humour into its error message.

34. Starbucks

404 pages Starbucks

Careful, that might stain

Starbucks, like Heinz, makes good use of its primary product to illustrate the 404 message. In this instance, the tell-tales signs of a missing coffee cup are used to tell the story.

35. Blizzard Entertainment

404 pages Blizzard

Blizzard's 404 page is just smashing

Video game developer Blizzard takes an original approach to its 404 page that fits in with its general style, using broken glass as a metaphor for the broken link. What makes this example stand out is the clean design aesthetic beneath the glass.

36. NPR

Actually, we think you'll find he's called Wally

The US's National Public Radio website's 404 page presents an amusing wiki-style list of missing people or things, from Amelia Earhart to your luggage.

37. CSS-Tricks

Don't worry. You can't really rip a hole in the fabric of the internet

The superb tips, tutorials and advice blog CSS-Tricks is loved by all in the web design community because despite its dry subject matter, it manages to exude enthusiasm, humour and personality. And this cheeky 404 page is an excellent example of that.

38. Magnt

Magnt's clever 404 page demonstrates a keen sense of wit and a clear call to action

Magnt enables you to create a business card-themed web page in minutes. Its clever 404 page demonstrates the company's keen sense of wit with its Venn diagram showing the two main reasons why you've landed on the site’s error page: “we broke something” and “you can’t type.”. At the same time it also provides a clear call to action to take you where you need to go.

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