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How to Redirect All 404 Pages to Homepage in WordPress

Redirecting all 404 errors to the homepage can be done in several ways in WordPress. However, be cautious when implementing this. Constantly redirecting users without giving an error message can be confusing. It’s typically better user experience to have a custom 404 page that helps guide users back to relevant parts of your site. That said, if you have a strong reason to redirect all 404s to the homepage, here’s how you can do it:

1. Using a Plugin:

There are many plugins available that can handle redirects for you.

Backlink Saver is by far the easiest one to use. Just install the plugin, activate it and boom, all of your 404 pages will be redirected to the homepage. This one can also help you deindex hacked URL’s from Google after you clean up a site. If you remove the malware on your website but the old hacked URLs are still show up, after redirecting them to the homepage using this plugin in 1 to 2 months Google will eventually drop them out of their index/SERPs.

Redirection is  another good plugin:

  1. Install and activate the Redirection plugin.
  2. Once activated, go to Tools > Redirection.
  3. Set up a new redirect. For the source URL, use a regular expression to capture all 404s and then set the target URL as your homepage.
    • Source URL: .*
    • Check the Regex box.
    • Target URL: Your homepage URL.

2. .htaccess Method:

You can use the .htaccess file in the root directory of your WordPress installation to handle the redirect. Before editing .htaccess, always take a backup because a small error can make your site inaccessible.

Add the following code to your .htaccess file:

ErrorDocument 404 https://yourdomain.com/

Replace https://yourdomain.com/ with your actual homepage URL.

3. Using Theme’s functions.php:

You can add a function to your theme’s functions.php file to redirect all 404 errors to the homepage.

Add the following code to your functions.php:

add_action('template_redirect', 'redirect_all_404s_to_homepage');
function redirect_all_404s_to_homepage(){
if(is_404()){
wp_redirect(home_url(), 301);
exit;
}
}

Remember to check your site after making these changes to ensure everything is working as expected.

Note: Redirecting all 404s to the homepage can potentially have SEO implications. Search engines might not see it as a good practice since it can confuse bots. Always consider user experience and SEO best practices when making decisions about site behavior. If you decide to go this route, monitor user behavior and search rankings to ensure it’s having the desired effect.

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