I work for a small not-for-profit and we use Drupal to power our website. There are only 6 people on staff and we all have access to do pretty much anything on the site.

Yesterday, our Chief Exec came across something strange. A link had been sent out in our newsletter that pointed to oursite.com/404-page-not-found. How could this have happened? Not being very familiar with Drupal, I suggested it was some weird redirect as a result of a 404 to the most recent post. But it was the right post. Coincidence? The universe is rarely so lazy.

So I looked into it. Turns out, and I’m not entirely sure how this happened, someone had actually edited the page that was set as our custom 404 page. So the link in the newsletter was technically correct. The problem was all 404 were being directed to that article.

Because we didn’t want to break the link in the newsletter I set up a new 404 custom page. In the process of testing it, putting in a few aliases and redirects I discovered a few broken links. Amusingly, these broken links had never come to light because they were supposed to direct to the article that was ON the 404 page!

With the new 404 in place they really were broken. I soon had that fixed but it led me to check a few more pages and it turns out that who ever made the original error made a bit of dog’s dinner of it. There were a few duplicate nodes and aliases pointing all over the place.

Didn’t take more than about half an hour to the whole thing out but it did provide a nicely little puzzle!