A 404 error page is served by the web server or your web application when the requested URL is not available in the site. Some webmasters, who are aware of this situation, take preventive steps to make their 404 error page as helpful and meaningful as possible. But some web hosting companies do it the other way.
They put their own ads on their client’s 404 pages and make money from those. If you are not sure if it’s happening with your site, try this. Open your website URL followed by some random text, say, http://www.supermusicsearch.com/error and check the 404 error page that will show up. If you see that the error page is showing up ads that were not setup by you, it must be your hosting company. Another possible culprit could be the company which developed the site for you, if it was outsourced.
What should you do if your host is monetizing your error pages?
Some steps to handle this situation are:
- Modify the 404 error page yourself and redirect it to the homepage when a 404 situation is encountered.
- Ask your hosting company to provide you with an explanation as to why they are using your pages to make money.
- Modify the 404 page to show other relevant links from your site for the URL that’s searched.
For some bright ideas about customizing your error page, visit this link from SmashingMagazine.com