When internet users wander into a dusty, unused corner of your website, you can either bore them or entertain them. Here are 15 sites that embrace whimsical, funny and outright strange 404 error pages.
Leave it to the 501st, an international group of Star Wars fans dedicated to screen-accurate costumes, to adapt a classic Star Wars line as a 404 error: "This is not the page you're looking for. Move along... Move along..." The rugged, worn-in Stormtrooper pointing off into the distance just brings it all home.
NASA gets delightfully nerdy with its 404 message, telling lost web surfers that "the cosmic object you are looking for has disappeared beyond the event horizon." A swirling bed of stars adds lovely visual interest to the message.
Major League Baseball has a sense of humor when it comes to telling web users they've lost their way online. Professional baseball's 404 page loads one of a selection of different GIFs with the message "OOF!" at the top of the page. The GIFs show various blunders, such as mascots running into each other or players colliding while trying to catch a ball.
Amazon has the sort of 404 page you'll want to refresh over and over again. Each shows a different dog that lives with an Amazon staffer along with a link to a page describing all the different pooches.
Oliver, seen here, loves to sit and turn around and play with a porcupine toy. Keep refreshing to see the rest, including a corgi named Waffles and a Frenchie named Biscuit. Collect them all.
UK digital marketing company Bluegg is prepared to make you jump out of your seat with its 404 page that continuously reloads a video of a screaming goat.
"Ahhhhhhhhhhh! This page doesn't exist. Not to worry. You can either head back to our homepage, or sit there and listen to a goat scream like a human," the company writes.
The official Bruce Springsteen website wants to rock your face off with its 404 message. It features a large black and white photo of Springsteen sliding toward the edge of a stage on his knees while doing an impressive back bend. The stark words "You ain't gonna find nothin' down here friend/Except seeds blowin' up the highway in the south wind" come from his song "Seeds."
Toy company Mattel highlights its Magic 8 Ball on its 404 page. The animated ball sparkles and rotates when you click on it, revealing a classic answer like "It is decidedly so," "Outlook not so good" or the very fitting "Ask again later."
The Onion is known for its funny fictional news articles. The site's 404 page mines the same territory with a faux news article sporting the headline "The page you were seeking burned down." The short story includes a sweatshop, a toll-free recovery fund hotline and a bittersweet homage to lost webpages.
Lego lets its toys star on its 404 page. You might have followed an old link, but you can still get a smile out of the company's image of a classic minifig holding an interrupted power cord while other minifigs make faces in the background.
US Senator Bernie Sanders may no longer be running for president, but his campaign website still sports a very personal 404 message. Sanders himself recorded a short video saying, "The good news is you're on the right website and it's a really good website. The bad news is you're on the wrong page."
Whoever made the US National Public Radio 404 page has both a sense of humor and a love of history. The message is simple: "Page Not Found," but it then elaborates with "It's a shame that your page is lost, but at least it's in good company; stick around to browse through NPR stories about lost people, places and things that still haven't turned up."
What follows is a host of links to stories about famously missing people and things: Amelia Earhart, part of the Watergate Tapes, Jimmy Hoffa, Atlantis, Waldo and "Your Luggage."
Visually, the Internet Movie Database's 404 page isn't much to look at, but it's the content that counts. A rotating selection of altered movie quotes greets people who wander off the IMDb path. Here are a few gems:
"Webpages? Where we're going, we don't need webpages." - Dr. Emmett Brown, "Back to the Future" (1985)
"Page not found? INCONCEIVABLE." -Vizzini, "The Princess Bride" (1987)
"Someday we'll find it...the website connection..." -Kermit the Frog, "The Muppet Movie" (1979)
Business news site Bloomberg goes ballistic with its amusing 404 error page featuring a repeating sequence of a man in a business suit smacking an old-fashioned computer monitor off a desk and then he falls into pieces. It's bizarre, but it's also fitting for a frustrating 404.
Multifaceted online community Reddit lets its alien mascot take center stage in its 404 page. When you land on the error, you get one of several different illustrations showing the alien lost and in despair. It may be sweating in a desert, stuck out in space or surrounded by a snail-infested technicolor fever dream.
It's tough when you get a 404 error. It can even make you want to cry. CNET's Brian Tong models that sense of despair for our very own 404 page. Yes, it's sad the page you're looking for isn't there, but we have plenty of other pages for you to check out.