Adding a custom 404 page is a best practice for any Django website. This post shows a quick tip for how to test and configure a custom 404 page in your Django projects.

Create a new Django project.

$ cd Desktop
$ mkdir demo && cd demo
$ pipenv install django==2.1
$ pipenv shell
(demo) $ django-admin startproject demo_project .
(demo) $ python manage.py runserver

The Django welcome page is visible at http://127.0.0.1:8000/.

Django welcome page

Now go to any other page which should result in a 404. For example http://127.0.0.1:8000/abcdef.

No 404 page

In the default settings.py file Django sets DEBUG = True and ALLOWED_HOSTS = []. We want to change both. Turning off debug will show us what a live site would show and ALLOWED_HOSTS restricts which HTTP requests Django will respond to so the URL needs to be explicitly added.

# demo_project/settings.py
DEBUG = False

ALLOWED_HOSTS = ['127.0.0.1']

Refresh the page again at http://127.0.0.1:8000/abcdef.

Django default 404

Now let’s update it with custom text. First create a templates folder and then add a 404.html file to it.

(demo) $ mkdir templates
(demo) $ touch templates/404.html

Update settings.py so Django will look for this new templates folder.

# demo_project/settings.py
TEMPLATES = [
    {
        ...
        'DIRS': [os.path.join(BASE_DIR, 'templates')],
        ...
    },
]

And finally add some basic text to the file.

<!-- templates/404.html -->
<h1>404 Page Not Found</h1>
<p>This page does not exist yet!</p>

Now refresh the page once more to see our work.

Django custom 404 page