404 errors have always been a fact of life for websites.
A 404 is better known as a "page not found" or a "broken URL" error.
There are hundreds of ways to cause a 404 error, from a simple typo to a massive site migration.
Fortunately, there is a WordPress plugin that has the potential to solve nearly all of your 404 errors: Permalink Finder.
What does Permalink Finder do?
Step 1: Permalink Finder tries to detect any situation in which a visitors tries to visit a broken link on your site.
Step 2: Permalink Finder searches the database to see if it can find a close match for the broken URL. For example, if the broken URL is /about-our-comany/, then Permalink Finder will search for similar permalinks such as /about-our-company/
Step 3: Permalink Finder chooses the closest match for the broken URL, and redirects the visitor to that content.
In short, Permalink Finder tries to make the best possible guess as to which active link a visitor is trying to access.
Does Permalink Finder actually work?
Permalink Finder may not be 100% accurate, but during our testing on several live sites we detected no obvious errors.
Also, one of our concerns was that Permalink Finder would slow down our site as it tried to parse URLs and search the database. That didn't happen ... our sites showed no noticeable speed decrease.
Permalink Finder settings
Permalink Finder starts working immediately after installation and activation.
However, there are some settings available in Settings > Permalink Finder. In here you control how the criteria that the plugin will use to search for matching content:
Permalink Finder can also compensate for important files if they are missing. For example, it can replace robots.txt, favico.ico or sitemap.xml:
Finally, Permalink Finder can keep track of the permalinks that it redirects: