Sunday, July 10, 2011


Some have argued that the web's ever-breaking-links are the major reason for the web's success. (See, for example, this discussion of the earlier Xanadu system and how such problems as link rot are, in fact, symptoms of why HTTP and HTML have been world-transforming successes, whereas Xanadu was not).

One consequence of the web's broken links is the need for 404 pages. (It is said that 404 pages are named for a room in the CERN laboratory). Original 404 pages solved a simple problem - something went wrong and a link broke, perhaps due to a web template programming error. Gradually, site designers realized, though, that 404 pages were a way to have a bit more fun. Here are a few of those more creative 404 pages that I've come across recently. What are your favourites?
ufortunate placement of yahoo! ad by jkenning
Lost in the Clouds

The Most Awkward 404 Not Found Page on the Internet

Bad Web Address Not Handled

A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever
Of course, such is the beauty / tragedy of the web that eventually the above links will, themselves, rot away and these nice 404 pages will disappear, to be replaced by not so nice ones.

Oh, well.

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