There’s no site owner or developer who hopes their witty and creative 404 pages will ever get a visit, but staying ahead of potential errors is a must when creating digital content. We can’t prevent that “404 page not found” message from ever showing, but we can at least soften the blow in user satisfaction when the inevitable happens.
Whether the visitor gets on your 404 error page when clicking a dead link, or if they simply stumble onto a page that’s currently unavailable, an out-of-the-box 404 SVG animation will help you do instant damage control. As the saying goes, you can “turn that frown upside down” with a clever and smooth animated 404 page design to redirect visitors and prevent bounce visits altogether.
To get ideas flowing, we’ve gathered the best 25 animated 404 page examples, along with a few other error page animations that handle common bumps in the customer journey in the craftiest ways. We’ve also included a “404 page best practice” cheat sheet to help you optimize the design from the get go. Let’s get started!
25 Best Custom 404 Page Examples
A custom 404 page helps you plan ahead for an unexpected pain point in a user’s journey. It serves a practical function (i.e., it informs site viewers that the requested page is unavailable/missing), but it also leaves room for plenty of branding and user engagement opportunities, from a play on words with the company’s tagline to situational humor like a server that’s caught on fire. Any website should consider a custom 404 page to engage with its visitors, whether it's a sales consulting, a SaaS tool, a bitcoin calculator, or a content website.
There’s a recipe for success in designing a custom error page, and it includes a significant emphasis on delivering a seamless UX. Read on, and we’ll share with you all the “ingredients” needed to create the best 404 SVG animation for any brand.
But first, let’s take a look at some of the best 404 page animations out there!
Kitty Yarn Play 404 Page
A kitty playing with a ball of yarn will make it impossible for visitors that run into this error page to leave frustrated. There’s just no way around it – cats are the masters of distraction! The only adverse effect this animated 404 page might have is that viewers could have a hard time clicking off at all. Better give them a good reason to look away from the cuteness, and head back to your homepage!
Scared Yeti 404 Page
This yeti is just as spooked by this error page as you are! You’ve stumbled onto a dark and scary 404 page that’s ultimately trying to convince you that maybe this is all just a bad dream. The witty copy works well with the simple animation, creating a humorous distraction that takes away from the frustration of landing on a missing page.
Octopus 404 Page
You’ve encountered an error that even the octopus isn’t too happy about. The animation is subtle, and it is backed by clear redirection to help viewers understand why they’re seeing the error message, along with how they can get back to safer grounds. This type of 404 SVG animation works well with brand mascots, animated logos or on-theme cute animated characters.
Lava Lamp 404 Page
Take a breather! This hypnotic lava lamp 404 animation encourages visitors to take a moment and do a quick breathing exercise. Might not erase the effects of the inconvenience the user is experiencing, but it clears the way for the cool-headed decision to continue browsing the website instead of bouncing.
Paint Spill 404 Page
Oops! Looks like someone spilled the paint in this error page – so now it’s just a canvas for some accidental art. An animated custom 404 page needs to capture the visitor’s attention for just a few moments, because no one’s sticking around until the paint dries. This creative 404 page animation gets users off the wet paint, and back to the homepage a.s.a.p.!
Skateboard 404 Page
Viewers are met with a playful reason that they can’t make it up the skating bank in order to visit the page they were looking for. You are redirected to the previous page with a “good luck” message in the form of the iconic Star Wars-themed phrase “May the force be with you.”
Detective 404 Page
Ever searched for a page so much that you end up feeling like you’re playing detective? This 404 animation nails replicating that experience just right! After a while it can definitely feel like you’re going in circles and jumping through interdimensional hoops. A 404 page that taps into the funny side to turn an unfortunate event into pure entertainment!
Deep Dive 404 Page
Somehow, you’ve deep dived to the bottom of the sea with the link you’ve just clicked on! This 404 animation turns the error page into a dead end to the viewer’s underwater adventure. No one’s fault that there’s no electric socket down there -- so all that’s left is to “Go Home.” Captivating, chucklesome, and straightforward, just like all 404 pages should be!
Alien Abduction 404 Page
A perfect example of how you can use your website’s 404 page to restate your brand's main selling point and directly connect with viewers. That alien spaceship might not have managed to abduct the ShipDaddy courier yet, but you better go back to the homepage just to stay safe.
Cat Revenge 404 Page
Oh no! Someone definitely got on this kitty’s nerves, and that’s exactly why you’re seeing this 404 error page. It’s nothing to do with broken or missing links -- just your typical feline mischief! This type of 404 animation works well for websites that have broad audiences, because chances are no one’s going to mind seeing this vengeful kitty-cat.
“Lost With You” 404 Page
The animated character in this 404 error page appears to be as lost as you are. The place you’re currently visiting looks jumbled, so you’ve absolutely dropped by on the wrong side of the website. Tame and quirky at the same time, this animation can buy you those few seconds that count when a viewer decides whether to continue browsing or give up altogether. “Back to Home” it is!
Bored Cat 404 Page
Does the cat hang around waiting for viewers to come across the 404 page, or did you just wake it up from a good nap with your visit? A more lighthearted thought experiment than Schrodinger’s cat, but curious enough to make you wonder. Having adorable animals “break the bad news” is a fail-safe way to keep users on your website!
Rubik's Cube 404 Page
The page you’re looking for might be “under construction,” it might need fixing, or it might just be an abandoned building site. What’s for sure is that there’s nothing to see here. A creative take on the puzzling experience of running into a missing page!
Package Freefall 404 Page
A 404 animation that stays on theme with a barcoded package that’s freefalling on a loop. This makes perfect sense when used on a shipping platform’s 404 error page. Running into a broken link when tracking a package can undoubtedly be irritating, so keeping the atmosphere light and animated can help curb user frustration.
Panicked Earth 404 Page
A prime example of how entertaining it can be to just embrace the awkwardness of the situation! The “What on earth are you doing here?!” message is a clear sign that you’ve entered uncharted territory. The “Get yourself home” link might get clicked later in the viewer’s visit because the panicked Earth’s facial expressions are just a bit too fun to watch.
Suspicious 404 Page
It seems like your being here is kind of “sus”! The error page’s watching eye sees that you don’t belong here, but still offers a “Here’s nothing!” message to state the obvious. This animation shows just how easily you can make an error message look amusing, even with the most basic vector graphics.
Lost Traveller 404 Page
Are you a lost traveler? The animated character from this 404 error page is right there with you! The good news is you won’t be stranded for too long, as the “Back to Home” button is there to show you the way back. This design started off as an illustration, but through animation it added that extra kick of interest that easily grabs the viewer’s attention.
Out of Space 404 Page
Here’s an “out of this world” isometric 404 animation that sheds light on who’s responsible for the error page you’re seeing. Not surprisingly, it’s a flying saucer that has beamed up the contents of this missing page. A totally valid explanation! The “Back to Earth” button is the visitor's only way back from outer space, landing them securely on the website’s home page.
Mars Landing 404 Page
Uh oh, you just crash landed on a broken/missing link. This animated 404 page banks on the space animation trend, sending out an astronaut to rescue you. The error message gives visitors clear indications of what might have gone wrong, and a quick way to travel back to the previous page.
Electric Caveman 404 Page
One of the most (literally!) electrifying custom 404 page examples from Markus Magnusson, the master of animation himself! Wondering what might have gone haywire behind the scenes and made this page unreachable? This 404 animation shows you a plausible explanation for this mishap, in the form of a caveman vs. power cord scene.
Walking Investigator 404 Page
This dapper anthropomorphic bird is on a search for the page you’re looking for, and it looks like it’s not having any better luck finding it than you are. A 404 page animation as simple as a walking cycle will shift the focus away from this sudden drawback in the user’s journey. It paves the way for a smooth transition to another page that the visitor might find useful.
Space-Themed 404 Page
Attempting to convince this 404 page’s visitors that aliens are real, and that they are in fact to blame for this error, is a surefire way to lighten the mood. The “Take me to safety” button plays into the theme of this 404 animation and significantly increases the chances that viewers won’t just click off, but will instead continue to browse your website from a new starting point.
“Searching with you” 404 Page
With a fun approach to presenting viewers with an error message, this 404 page animation brings the system to life, portraying it as two animated characters that are looking for the missing page. An effective way to make a not-so-great interaction between the user and your website feel more like an interactive dialogue.
Turtle in Trouble Error Page
We would have missed out on some awesome designs when curating this list of 404 page design inspiration examples if we hadn’t stopped to look at other error page animations. Is the page loading slower than it takes a tipped-over turtle to get back on his feet? Then you’re going to land on this cutely animated 504 “Gateway Timeout” error page. Anyone else still rooting for the little guy to land on his feet after countless loops?
Astronaut 404 Page
A 404-page animation experiment, by Ilya Tsurpun, where there are three stacked animated SVG assets, with individual frame rates and timeline lengths playing at the same time.
The effect is created by using an animated tween for the human illustration, running at a low FPS rate so that it doesn't look robotic or stiff. This makes the SVG animation look more like a classic animation and recreates the feel of a hand-drawn illustration. The inanimate assets are playing at 100fps.
Server on Fire Error Page
One of the most unique error pages on our list doesn’t shy away from letting you know the server’s administrator is on the hot seat (literally!), as this 500 error page is blazing. Not much room for redirection here, because an easy fix is unlikely. But visitors can at least empathize with the situation and continue browsing with less annoyance than if they had been met with a bland and impersonal message. Animated, on-brand, and lightheartedly funny is the way to go!
404 Page Best Practice Guidelines
An engaging 404 page animation, along with some sharp brand copy, can do even more than manage user frustration and secure visitor retention. To add animation to your error page designs, you can download pre-made 404 animations from stock video libraries, and add your copy to somewhat make it your own. The better alternative is to create your 404 animated assets from scratch with SVGator — for unlimited customization possibilities, lightweight file sizes and interactivity options (hover effects, on click/on tap, and more)!
Custom error page animations can turn a faulty link into a conversation starter that puts your brand in the spotlight. Unique 404 pages should be designed to also serve as social-media shareable assets. Make sure that if your error pages do get seen, they get your website noticed for all the right reasons by following these 404page UI guidelines:
Acknowledge the situation
Whether you choose to simply state the obvious, or go a step further and acknowledge the awkwardness of the incident , this is step one: admitting something went wrong. You can do this with funny website error messages, but you’ll have better chances of quickly defusing the situation using a 404 page animation.
De-escalate the inconvenience
Visitors won’t be happy to be met with an error message, but outstanding 404 page animations will soften the unpleasant impact of running into a broken link. Capturing the user’s attention before click-off is key when designing a 404 page UI that keeps visitors on the website. And there’s no better way to grab and hold attention in a digital space than with SVG animation!
Infuse the 404 error page with humor
Make your error page feel more like a watercooler break at the office, and less like a digital roadblock for users. How do you do that? Intertwine a touch of self-aware and on-brand humor with your 404 page animation. Make the animated character look as hurt and confused by the incident as the visitor might feel. Play around with puns, exaggerate facial expressions, or blame otherworldly beings for the mishap. Let the stand-up comic inside you shine!
Add branding elements into the mix
Make the most out of this unfortunate event by taking advantage of the fact that for a brief moment you have the visitor’s complete attention. Restate your core selling points, tie in a call-to-action into the error message, or let your brand’s mascot break the bad news. However you approach this unconventional branding gateway, animation will make it a memorable experience for the user!
Redirect visitors to prevent bounce visits
Hopefully, a user finding your 404 page will be a very rare and brief encounter. To keep these visitors on your website, provide clear directions to what they should do next. Give actionable instructions (like: “Go back,” “Go home,” “Get yourself home”) and offer alternative pages that the viewer is likely to find useful. This is an unskippable step in designing awesome 404 pages that aren’t dead ends, and instead are excellent restart points.
Want to have a 404 “page not found” UI design that’s so catchy and fun that it becomes a shareable branding asset? Make use of SVG animation and pull out all the stops in your creative process! Turn any of your website’s error pages into engagement magnets that double as efficient problem solvers. Open SVGator’s editor and start animating your way to prime visitor retention rates! Remember that if you have any 404 broken pages, you should seriously consider talking with some of the top SEO agencies. For example, Digital Silk can help you become the leader in your law niche, they can provide you with the best possible design that really resonates with you while using some of the coolest animations like the ones in this article.