Future Tense

The Internet’s Most Delightful Dead Ends

Github 404 page
GitHub’s error page.

When you reach a 404 error page on the Web, it’s a sign that something has gone awry. But sometimes a wrong turn leads to an unexpectedly scenic dead end. In honor of April 4, here are some of our favorite 404 pages from around the Internet. Those marked with asterisks are animated or interactive: Click the links to see each one in action.

The New York Daily News’ “extra, extra.”

New York Daily News 404 error page

*MLB.com’s blooper reel. (Refresh the page a few times to see more.)

MLB.com error page

*Bluedaniel’s creepy, animated abandoned subway.

Bluedaniel.com 404 page

Github’s “not the web page you are looking for.” (See image at top.)

*Thingiverse’s end of the known thingiverse.

Thingiverse 404 page

Budgets Are Sexy’s fur-oh-fur page.

Budgets Are Sexy error page

NPR’s list of lost things.

NPR 404 error page

Moma’s pop art.

This cleverly hijacked page that’s linked to in a 2011 Supreme Court opinion.

Magnt.com’s Venn diagram. (Update, April 4, 2014, 6:11 p.m.: As commenters have pointed out, Magnt.com’s Venn diagram is not as clever as they probably intended it to be. Reaching a 404 page may involve a mistake on the part of either the typist or the website, but does not require both to happen at once.)

*This late-breaking entry from the Washington Post’s tech policy blog, The Switch.

*And my personal favorite, Romain Braiser’s interactive sacrifice of the lemmings.

But 404 pages don’t always make people happy. If you’ve spent much time on Slate, you may recall that we used to have a 404 page that attempted to convince you, #Slatepitch-style, that you probably didn’t want to read that story anyway.

Readers, by and large, were neither convinced nor amused, Slate editor David Plotz tells me. The page has been replaced with a more straightforward error message.

Want more errors? Try Renny Gleeson’s 2012 TED talk on 404 pages.

Hat tip to Maura Johnston