How can I properly handle 404 in ASP.NET MVC?

I am using RC2

Using URL Routing:

routes.MapRoute(
    "Error",
     "{*url}",
     new { controller = "Errors", action = "NotFound" }  // 404s
);

The above seems to take care of requests like this (assuming default route tables setup by initial MVC project): "/blah/blah/blah/blah"

Overriding HandleUnknownAction() in the controller itself:

// 404s - handle here (bad action requested
protected override void HandleUnknownAction(string actionName) {
    ViewData["actionName"] = actionName;
    View("NotFound").ExecuteResult(this.ControllerContext);
}  

However the previous strategies do not handle a request to a Bad/Unknown controller. For example, I do not have a "/IDoNotExist", if I request this I get the generic 404 page from the web server and not my 404 if I use routing + override.

So finally, my question is: Is there any way to catch this type of request using a route or something else in the MVC framework itself?

OR should I just default to using Web.Config customErrors as my 404 handler and forget all this? I assume if I go with customErrors I'll have to store the generic 404 page outside of /Views due to the Web.Config restrictions on direct access.

Answers


The code is taken from http://blogs.microsoft.co.il/blogs/shay/archive/2009/03/06/real-world-error-hadnling-in-asp-net-mvc-rc2.aspx and works in ASP.net MVC 1.0 as well

Here's how I handle http exceptions:

protected void Application_Error(object sender, EventArgs e)
{
   Exception exception = Server.GetLastError();
   // Log the exception.

   ILogger logger = Container.Resolve<ILogger>();
   logger.Error(exception);

   Response.Clear();

   HttpException httpException = exception as HttpException;

   RouteData routeData = new RouteData();
   routeData.Values.Add("controller", "Error");

   if (httpException == null)
   {
       routeData.Values.Add("action", "Index");
   }
   else //It's an Http Exception, Let's handle it.
   {
       switch (httpException.GetHttpCode())
       {
          case 404:
              // Page not found.
              routeData.Values.Add("action", "HttpError404");
              break;
          case 500:
              // Server error.
              routeData.Values.Add("action", "HttpError500");
              break;

           // Here you can handle Views to other error codes.
           // I choose a General error template  
           default:
              routeData.Values.Add("action", "General");
              break;
      }
  }           

  // Pass exception details to the target error View.
  routeData.Values.Add("error", exception);

  // Clear the error on server.
  Server.ClearError();

  // Avoid IIS7 getting in the middle
  Response.TrySkipIisCustomErrors = true; 

  // Call target Controller and pass the routeData.
  IController errorController = new ErrorController();
  errorController.Execute(new RequestContext(    
       new HttpContextWrapper(Context), routeData));
}

Requirements for 404

The following are my requirements for a 404 solution and below i show how i implement it:

  • I want to handle matched routes with bad actions
  • I want to handle matched routes with bad controllers
  • I want to handle un-matched routes (arbitrary urls that my app can't understand) - i don't want these bubbling up to the Global.asax or IIS because then i can't redirect back into my MVC app properly
  • I want a way to handle in the same manner as above, custom 404s - like when an ID is submitted for an object that does not exist (maybe deleted)
  • I want all my 404s to return an MVC view (not a static page) to which i can pump more data later if necessary (good 404 designs) and they must return the HTTP 404 status code

Solution

I think you should save Application_Error in the Global.asax for higher things, like unhandled exceptions and logging (like Shay Jacoby's answer shows) but not 404 handling. This is why my suggestion keeps the 404 stuff out of the Global.asax file.

Step 1: Have a common place for 404-error logic

This is a good idea for maintainability. Use an ErrorController so that future improvements to your well designed 404 page can adapt easily. Also, make sure your response has the 404 code!

public class ErrorController : MyController
{
    #region Http404

    public ActionResult Http404(string url)
    {
        Response.StatusCode = (int)HttpStatusCode.NotFound;
        var model = new NotFoundViewModel();
        // If the url is relative ('NotFound' route) then replace with Requested path
        model.RequestedUrl = Request.Url.OriginalString.Contains(url) & Request.Url.OriginalString != url ?
            Request.Url.OriginalString : url;
        // Dont get the user stuck in a 'retry loop' by
        // allowing the Referrer to be the same as the Request
        model.ReferrerUrl = Request.UrlReferrer != null &&
            Request.UrlReferrer.OriginalString != model.RequestedUrl ?
            Request.UrlReferrer.OriginalString : null;

        // TODO: insert ILogger here

        return View("NotFound", model);
    }
    public class NotFoundViewModel
    {
        public string RequestedUrl { get; set; }
        public string ReferrerUrl { get; set; }
    }

    #endregion
}
Step 2: Use a base Controller class so you can easily invoke your custom 404 action and wire up HandleUnknownAction

404s in ASP.NET MVC need to be caught at a number of places. The first is HandleUnknownAction.

The InvokeHttp404 method creates a common place for re-routing to the ErrorController and our new Http404 action. Think DRY!

public abstract class MyController : Controller
{
    #region Http404 handling

    protected override void HandleUnknownAction(string actionName)
    {
        // If controller is ErrorController dont 'nest' exceptions
        if (this.GetType() != typeof(ErrorController))
            this.InvokeHttp404(HttpContext);
    }

    public ActionResult InvokeHttp404(HttpContextBase httpContext)
    {
        IController errorController = ObjectFactory.GetInstance<ErrorController>();
        var errorRoute = new RouteData();
        errorRoute.Values.Add("controller", "Error");
        errorRoute.Values.Add("action", "Http404");
        errorRoute.Values.Add("url", httpContext.Request.Url.OriginalString);
        errorController.Execute(new RequestContext(
             httpContext, errorRoute));

        return new EmptyResult();
    }

    #endregion
}
Step 3: Use Dependency Injection in your Controller Factory and wire up 404 HttpExceptions

Like so (it doesn't have to be StructureMap):

MVC1.0 example:

public class StructureMapControllerFactory : DefaultControllerFactory
{
    protected override IController GetControllerInstance(Type controllerType)
    {
        try
        {
            if (controllerType == null)
                return base.GetControllerInstance(controllerType);
        }
        catch (HttpException ex)
        {
            if (ex.GetHttpCode() == (int)HttpStatusCode.NotFound)
            {
                IController errorController = ObjectFactory.GetInstance<ErrorController>();
                ((ErrorController)errorController).InvokeHttp404(RequestContext.HttpContext);

                return errorController;
            }
            else
                throw ex;
        }

        return ObjectFactory.GetInstance(controllerType) as Controller;
    }
}

MVC2.0 example:

    protected override IController GetControllerInstance(RequestContext requestContext, Type controllerType)
    {
        try
        {
            if (controllerType == null)
                return base.GetControllerInstance(requestContext, controllerType);
        }
        catch (HttpException ex)
        {
            if (ex.GetHttpCode() == 404)
            {
                IController errorController = ObjectFactory.GetInstance<ErrorController>();
                ((ErrorController)errorController).InvokeHttp404(requestContext.HttpContext);

                return errorController;
            }
            else
                throw ex;
        }

        return ObjectFactory.GetInstance(controllerType) as Controller;
    }

I think its better to catch errors closer to where they originate. This is why i prefer the above to the Application_Error handler.

This is the second place to catch 404s.

Step 4: Add a NotFound route to Global.asax for urls that fail to be parsed into your app

This route should point to our Http404 action. Notice the url param will be a relative url because the routing engine is stripping the domain part here? That is why we have all that conditional url logic in Step 1.

        routes.MapRoute("NotFound", "{*url}", 
            new { controller = "Error", action = "Http404" });

This is the third and final place to catch 404s in an MVC app that you don't invoke yourself. If you don't catch unmatched routes here then MVC will pass the problem up to ASP.NET (Global.asax) and you don't really want that in this situation.

Step 5: Finally, invoke 404s when your app can't find something

Like when a bad ID is submitted to my Loans controller (derives from MyController):

    //
    // GET: /Detail/ID

    public ActionResult Detail(int ID)
    {
        Loan loan = this._svc.GetLoans().WithID(ID);
        if (loan == null)
            return this.InvokeHttp404(HttpContext);
        else
            return View(loan);
    }

It would be nice if all this could be hooked up in fewer places with less code but i think this solution is more maintainable, more testable and fairly pragmatic.

Thanks for the feedback so far. I'd love to get more.

NOTE: This has been edited significantly from my original answer but the purpose/requirements are the same - this is why i have not added a new answer


ASP.NET MVC doesn't support custom 404 pages very well. Custom controller factory, catch-all route, base controller class with HandleUnknownAction - argh!

IIS custom error pages are better alternative so far:

web.config

<system.webServer>
  <httpErrors errorMode="Custom" existingResponse="Replace">
    <remove statusCode="404" />
    <error statusCode="404" responseMode="ExecuteURL" path="/Error/PageNotFound" />
  </httpErrors>
</system.webServer>

ErrorController

public class ErrorController : Controller
{
    public ActionResult PageNotFound()
    {
        Response.StatusCode = 404;
        return View();
    }
}

Sample Project


Quick Answer / TL;DR

For the lazy people out there:

Install-Package MagicalUnicornMvcErrorToolkit -Version 1.0

Then remove this line from global.asax

GlobalFilters.Filters.Add(new HandleErrorAttribute());

And this is only for IIS7+ and IIS Express.

If you're using Cassini .. well .. um .. er.. awkward ...


Long, explained answer

I know this has been answered. But the answer is REALLY SIMPLE (cheers to David Fowler and Damian Edwards for really answering this).

There is no need to do anything custom.

For ASP.NET MVC3, all the bits and pieces are there.

Step 1 -> Update your web.config in TWO spots.
<system.web>
    <customErrors mode="On" defaultRedirect="/ServerError">
      <error statusCode="404" redirect="/NotFound" />
    </customErrors>

and

<system.webServer>
    <httpErrors errorMode="Custom">
      <remove statusCode="404" subStatusCode="-1" />
      <error statusCode="404" path="/NotFound" responseMode="ExecuteURL" />
      <remove statusCode="500" subStatusCode="-1" />
      <error statusCode="500" path="/ServerError" responseMode="ExecuteURL" />
    </httpErrors>    

...
<system.webServer>
...
</system.web>

Now take careful note of the ROUTES I've decided to use. You can use anything, but my routes are

  • /NotFound <- for a 404 not found, error page.
  • /ServerError <- for any other error, include errors that happen in my code. this is a 500 Internal Server Error

See how the first section in <system.web> only has one custom entry? The statusCode="404" entry? I've only listed one status code because all other errors, including the 500 Server Error (ie. those pesky error that happens when your code has a bug and crashes the user's request) .. all the other errors are handled by the setting defaultRedirect="/ServerError" .. which says, if you are not a 404 page not found, then please goto the route /ServerError.

Ok. that's out of the way.. now to my routes listed in global.asax

Step 2 - Creating the routes in Global.asax

Here's my full route section..

public static void RegisterRoutes(RouteCollection routes)
{
    routes.IgnoreRoute("{resource}.axd/{*pathInfo}");
    routes.IgnoreRoute("{*favicon}", new {favicon = @"(.*/)?favicon.ico(/.*)?"});

    routes.MapRoute(
        "Error - 404",
        "NotFound",
        new { controller = "Error", action = "NotFound" }
        );

    routes.MapRoute(
        "Error - 500",
        "ServerError",
        new { controller = "Error", action = "ServerError"}
        );

    routes.MapRoute(
        "Default", // Route name
        "{controller}/{action}/{id}", // URL with parameters
        new {controller = "Home", action = "Index", id = UrlParameter.Optional}
        );
}

That lists two ignore routes -> axd's and favicons (ooo! bonus ignore route, for you!) Then (and the order is IMPERATIVE HERE), I have my two explicit error handling routes .. followed by any other routes. In this case, the default one. Of course, I have more, but that's special to my web site. Just make sure the error routes are at the top of the list. Order is imperative.

Finally, while we are inside our global.asax file, we do NOT globally register the HandleError attribute. No, no, no sir. Nadda. Nope. Nien. Negative. Noooooooooo...

Remove this line from global.asax

GlobalFilters.Filters.Add(new HandleErrorAttribute());
Step 3 - Create the controller with the action methods

Now .. we add a controller with two action methods ...

public class ErrorController : Controller
{
    public ActionResult NotFound()
    {
        Response.StatusCode = (int)HttpStatusCode.NotFound;
        return View();
    }

    public ActionResult ServerError()
    {
        Response.StatusCode = (int)HttpStatusCode.InternalServerError;

        // Todo: Pass the exception into the view model, which you can make.
        //       That's an exercise, dear reader, for -you-.
        //       In case u want to pass it to the view, if you're admin, etc.
        // if (User.IsAdmin) // <-- I just made that up :) U get the idea...
        // {
        //     var exception = Server.GetLastError();
        //     // etc..
        // }

        return View();
    }

    // Shhh .. secret test method .. ooOOooOooOOOooohhhhhhhh
    public ActionResult ThrowError()
    {
        throw new NotImplementedException("Pew ^ Pew");
    }
}

Ok, lets check this out. First of all, there is NO [HandleError] attribute here. Why? Because the built in ASP.NET framework is already handling errors AND we have specified all the shit we need to do to handle an error :) It's in this method!

Next, I have the two action methods. Nothing tough there. If u wish to show any exception info, then u can use Server.GetLastError() to get that info.

Bonus WTF: Yes, I made a third action method, to test error handling.

Step 4 - Create the Views

And finally, create two views. Put em in the normal view spot, for this controller.

Bonus comments
  • You don't need an Application_Error(object sender, EventArgs e)
  • The above steps all work 100% perfectly with Elmah. Elmah fraking wroxs!

And that, my friends, should be it.

Now, congrats for reading this much and have a Unicorn as a prize!


I've investigated A LOT on how to properly manage 404s in MVC (specifically MVC3), and this, IMHO is the best solution I've come up with:

In global.asax:

public class MvcApplication : HttpApplication
{
    protected void Application_EndRequest()
    {
        if (Context.Response.StatusCode == 404)
        {
            Response.Clear();

            var rd = new RouteData();
            rd.DataTokens["area"] = "AreaName"; // In case controller is in another area
            rd.Values["controller"] = "Errors";
            rd.Values["action"] = "NotFound";

            IController c = new ErrorsController();
            c.Execute(new RequestContext(new HttpContextWrapper(Context), rd));
        }
    }
}

ErrorsController:

public sealed class ErrorsController : Controller
{
    public ActionResult NotFound()
    {
        ActionResult result;

        object model = Request.Url.PathAndQuery;

        if (!Request.IsAjaxRequest())
            result = View(model);
        else
            result = PartialView("_NotFound", model);

        return result;
    }
}

(Optional)

Explanation:

AFAIK, there are 6 different cases that an ASP.NET MVC3 apps can generate 404s.

(Automatically generated by ASP.NET Framework:)

(1) An URL does not find a match in the route table.

(Automatically generated by ASP.NET MVC Framework:)

(2) An URL finds a match in the route table, but specifies a non-existent controller.

(3) An URL finds a match in the route table, but specifies a non-existant action.

(Manually generated:)

(4) An action returns an HttpNotFoundResult by using the method HttpNotFound().

(5) An action throws an HttpException with the status code 404.

(6) An actions manually modifies the Response.StatusCode property to 404.

Normally, you want to accomplish 3 objectives:

(1) Show a custom 404 error page to the user.

(2) Maintain the 404 status code on the client response (specially important for SEO).

(3) Send the response directly, without involving a 302 redirection.

There are various ways to try to accomplish this:

(1)

<system.web>
    <customErrors mode="On">
        <error statusCode="404" redirect="~/Errors/NotFound"/>
    </customError>
</system.web>

Problems with this solution:

  1. Does not comply with objective (1) in cases (1), (4), (6).
  2. Does not comply with objective (2) automatically. It must be programmed manually.
  3. Does not comply with objective (3).

(2)

<system.webServer>
    <httpErrors errorMode="Custom">
        <remove statusCode="404"/>
        <error statusCode="404" path="App/Errors/NotFound" responseMode="ExecuteURL"/>
    </httpErrors>
</system.webServer>

Problems with this solution:

  1. Only works on IIS 7+.
  2. Does not comply with objective (1) in cases (2), (3), (5).
  3. Does not comply with objective (2) automatically. It must be programmed manually.

(3)

<system.webServer>
    <httpErrors errorMode="Custom" existingResponse="Replace">
        <remove statusCode="404"/>
        <error statusCode="404" path="App/Errors/NotFound" responseMode="ExecuteURL"/>
    </httpErrors>
</system.webServer>

Problems with this solution:

  1. Only works on IIS 7+.
  2. Does not comply with objective (2) automatically. It must be programmed manually.
  3. It obscures application level http exceptions. E.g. can't use customErrors section, System.Web.Mvc.HandleErrorAttribute, etc. It can't only show generic error pages.

(4)

<system.web>
    <customErrors mode="On">
        <error statusCode="404" redirect="~/Errors/NotFound"/>
    </customError>
</system.web>

and

<system.webServer>
    <httpErrors errorMode="Custom">
        <remove statusCode="404"/>
        <error statusCode="404" path="App/Errors/NotFound" responseMode="ExecuteURL"/>
    </httpErrors>
</system.webServer>

Problems with this solution:

  1. Only works on IIS 7+.
  2. Does not comply with objective (2) automatically. It must be programmed manually.
  3. Does not comply with objective (3) in cases (2), (3), (5).

People that have troubled with this before even tried to create their own libraries (see http://aboutcode.net/2011/02/26/handling-not-found-with-asp-net-mvc3.html). But the previous solution seems to cover all the cases without the complexity of using an external library.


I really like cottsaks solution and think its very clearly explained. my only addition was to alter step 2 as follows

public abstract class MyController : Controller
{

    #region Http404 handling

    protected override void HandleUnknownAction(string actionName)
    {
        //if controller is ErrorController dont 'nest' exceptions
        if(this.GetType() != typeof(ErrorController))
        this.InvokeHttp404(HttpContext);
    }

    public ActionResult InvokeHttp404(HttpContextBase httpContext)
    {
        IController errorController = ObjectFactory.GetInstance<ErrorController>();
        var errorRoute = new RouteData();
        errorRoute.Values.Add("controller", "Error");
        errorRoute.Values.Add("action", "Http404");
        errorRoute.Values.Add("url", httpContext.Request.Url.OriginalString);
        errorController.Execute(new RequestContext(
             httpContext, errorRoute));

        return new EmptyResult();
    }

    #endregion
}

Basically this stops urls containing invalid actions AND controllers from triggering the exception routine twice. eg for urls such as asdfsdf/dfgdfgd


The only way I could get @cottsak's method to work for invalid controllers was to modify the existing route request in the CustomControllerFactory, like so:

public class CustomControllerFactory : DefaultControllerFactory
{
    protected override IController GetControllerInstance(RequestContext requestContext, Type controllerType)
    {
        try
        {
            if (controllerType == null)
                return base.GetControllerInstance(requestContext, controllerType); 
            else
                return ObjectFactory.GetInstance(controllerType) as Controller;
        }
        catch (HttpException ex)
        {
            if (ex.GetHttpCode() == (int)HttpStatusCode.NotFound)
            {
                requestContext.RouteData.Values["controller"] = "Error";
                requestContext.RouteData.Values["action"] = "Http404";
                requestContext.RouteData.Values.Add("url", requestContext.HttpContext.Request.Url.OriginalString);

                return ObjectFactory.GetInstance<ErrorController>();
            }
            else
                throw ex;
        }
    }
}

I should mention I'm using MVC 2.0.


Here is another method using MVC tools which you can handle requests to bad controller names, bad route names, and any other criteria you see fit inside of an Action method. Personally, I prefer to avoid as many web.config settings as possible, because they do the 302 / 200 redirect and do not support ResponseRewrite (Server.Transfer) using Razor views. I'd prefer to return a 404 with a custom error page for SEO reasons.

Some of this is new take on cottsak's technique above.

This solution also uses minimal web.config settings favoring the MVC 3 Error Filters instead.

Usage

Just throw a HttpException from an action or custom ActionFilterAttribute.

Throw New HttpException(HttpStatusCode.NotFound, "[Custom Exception Message Here]")
Step 1

Add the following setting to your web.config. This is required to use MVC's HandleErrorAttribute.

<customErrors mode="On" redirectMode="ResponseRedirect" />
Step 2

Add a custom HandleHttpErrorAttribute similar to the MVC framework's HandleErrorAttribute, except for HTTP errors:

<AttributeUsage(AttributeTargets.All, AllowMultiple:=True)>
Public Class HandleHttpErrorAttribute
    Inherits FilterAttribute
    Implements IExceptionFilter

    Private Const m_DefaultViewFormat As String = "ErrorHttp{0}"

    Private m_HttpCode As HttpStatusCode
    Private m_Master As String
    Private m_View As String

    Public Property HttpCode As HttpStatusCode
        Get
            If m_HttpCode = 0 Then
                Return HttpStatusCode.NotFound
            End If
            Return m_HttpCode
        End Get
        Set(value As HttpStatusCode)
            m_HttpCode = value
        End Set
    End Property

    Public Property Master As String
        Get
            Return If(m_Master, String.Empty)
        End Get
        Set(value As String)
            m_Master = value
        End Set
    End Property

    Public Property View As String
        Get
            If String.IsNullOrEmpty(m_View) Then
                Return String.Format(m_DefaultViewFormat, Me.HttpCode)
            End If
            Return m_View
        End Get
        Set(value As String)
            m_View = value
        End Set
    End Property

    Public Sub OnException(filterContext As System.Web.Mvc.ExceptionContext) Implements System.Web.Mvc.IExceptionFilter.OnException
        If filterContext Is Nothing Then Throw New ArgumentException("filterContext")

        If filterContext.IsChildAction Then
            Return
        End If

        If filterContext.ExceptionHandled OrElse Not filterContext.HttpContext.IsCustomErrorEnabled Then
            Return
        End If

        Dim ex As HttpException = TryCast(filterContext.Exception, HttpException)
        If ex Is Nothing OrElse ex.GetHttpCode = HttpStatusCode.InternalServerError Then
            Return
        End If

        If ex.GetHttpCode <> Me.HttpCode Then
            Return
        End If

        Dim controllerName As String = filterContext.RouteData.Values("controller")
        Dim actionName As String = filterContext.RouteData.Values("action")
        Dim model As New HandleErrorInfo(filterContext.Exception, controllerName, actionName)

        filterContext.Result = New ViewResult With {
            .ViewName = Me.View,
            .MasterName = Me.Master,
            .ViewData = New ViewDataDictionary(Of HandleErrorInfo)(model),
            .TempData = filterContext.Controller.TempData
        }
        filterContext.ExceptionHandled = True
        filterContext.HttpContext.Response.Clear()
        filterContext.HttpContext.Response.StatusCode = Me.HttpCode
        filterContext.HttpContext.Response.TrySkipIisCustomErrors = True
    End Sub
End Class
Step 3

Add Filters to the GlobalFilterCollection (GlobalFilters.Filters) in Global.asax. This example will route all InternalServerError (500) errors to the Error shared view (Views/Shared/Error.vbhtml). NotFound (404) errors will be sent to ErrorHttp404.vbhtml in the shared views as well. I've added a 401 error here to show you how this can be extended for additional HTTP error codes. Note that these must be shared views, and they all use the System.Web.Mvc.HandleErrorInfo object as a the model.

filters.Add(New HandleHttpErrorAttribute With {.View = "ErrorHttp401", .HttpCode = HttpStatusCode.Unauthorized})
filters.Add(New HandleHttpErrorAttribute With {.View = "ErrorHttp404", .HttpCode = HttpStatusCode.NotFound})
filters.Add(New HandleErrorAttribute With {.View = "Error"})
Step 4

Create a base controller class and inherit from it in your controllers. This step allows us to handle unknown action names and raise the HTTP 404 error to our HandleHttpErrorAttribute.

Public Class BaseController
    Inherits System.Web.Mvc.Controller

    Protected Overrides Sub HandleUnknownAction(actionName As String)
        Me.ActionInvoker.InvokeAction(Me.ControllerContext, "Unknown")
    End Sub

    Public Function Unknown() As ActionResult
        Throw New HttpException(HttpStatusCode.NotFound, "The specified controller or action does not exist.")
        Return New EmptyResult
    End Function
End Class
Step 5

Create a ControllerFactory override, and override it in your Global.asax file in Application_Start. This step allows us to raise the HTTP 404 exception when an invalid controller name has been specified.

Public Class MyControllerFactory
    Inherits DefaultControllerFactory

    Protected Overrides Function GetControllerInstance(requestContext As System.Web.Routing.RequestContext, controllerType As System.Type) As System.Web.Mvc.IController
        Try
            Return MyBase.GetControllerInstance(requestContext, controllerType)
        Catch ex As HttpException
            Return DependencyResolver.Current.GetService(Of BaseController)()
        End Try
    End Function
End Class

'In Global.asax.vb Application_Start:

controllerBuilder.Current.SetControllerFactory(New MyControllerFactory)
Step 6

Include a special route in your RoutTable.Routes for the BaseController Unknown action. This will help us raise a 404 in the case where a user accesses an unknown controller, or unknown action.

'BaseController
routes.MapRoute( _
    "Unknown", "BaseController/{action}/{id}", _
    New With {.controller = "BaseController", .action = "Unknown", .id = UrlParameter.Optional} _
)
Summary

This example demonstrated how one can use the MVC framework to return 404 Http Error Codes to the browser without a redirect using filter attributes and shared error views. It also demonstrates showing the same custom error page when invalid controller names and action names are specified.

I'll add a screenshot of an invalid controller name, action name, and a custom 404 raised from the Home/TriggerNotFound action if I get enough votes to post one =). Fiddler returns a 404 message when I access the following URLs using this solution:

/InvalidController
/Home/InvalidRoute
/InvalidController/InvalidRoute
/Home/TriggerNotFound

cottsak's post above and these articles were good references.


My shortened solution that works with unhandled areas, controllers and actions:

  1. Create a view 404.cshtml.

  2. Create a base class for your controllers:

    public class Controller : System.Web.Mvc.Controller
    {
        protected override void HandleUnknownAction(string actionName)
        {
            Http404().ExecuteResult(ControllerContext);
        }
    
        protected virtual ViewResult Http404()
        {
            Response.StatusCode = (int)HttpStatusCode.NotFound;
            return View("404");
        }
    }
    
  3. Create a custom controller factory returning your base controller as a fallback:

    public class ControllerFactory : DefaultControllerFactory
    {
        protected override IController GetControllerInstance(RequestContext requestContext, Type controllerType)
        {
            if (controllerType != null)
                return base.GetControllerInstance(requestContext, controllerType);
    
            return new Controller();
        }
    }
    
  4. Add to Application_Start() the following line:

    ControllerBuilder.Current.SetControllerFactory(typeof(ControllerFactory));
    

In MVC4 WebAPI 404 can be handle in the following way,

COURSES APICONTROLLER

    // GET /api/courses/5
    public HttpResponseMessage<Courses> Get(int id)
    {
        HttpResponseMessage<Courses> resp = null;

        var aCourse = _courses.Where(c => c.Id == id).FirstOrDefault();

        resp = aCourse == null ? new HttpResponseMessage<Courses>(System.Net.HttpStatusCode.NotFound) : new HttpResponseMessage<Courses>(aCourse);

        return resp;
    }

HOME CONTROLLER

public ActionResult Course(int id)
{
    return View(id);
}

VIEW

<div id="course"></div>
<script type="text/javascript">
    var id = @Model;
    var course = $('#course');
    $.ajax({    
        url: '/api/courses/' + id,
        success: function (data) {
            course.text(data.Name);
        },
        statusCode: {
            404: function() 
            {
                course.text('Course not available!');    
            }
        }
    });
</script>

GLOBAL

public static void RegisterRoutes(RouteCollection routes)
{
    routes.IgnoreRoute("{resource}.axd/{*pathInfo}");

    routes.MapHttpRoute(
        name: "DefaultApi",
        routeTemplate: "api/{controller}/{id}",
        defaults: new { id = RouteParameter.Optional }
    );

    routes.MapRoute(
        name: "Default",
        url: "{controller}/{action}/{id}",
        defaults: new { controller = "Home", action = "Index", id = UrlParameter.Optional }
    );
}

RESULTS


Try NotFoundMVC on nuget. It works , no setup.


My solution, in case someone finds it useful.

In Web.config:

<system.web>
    <customErrors mode="On" defaultRedirect="Error" >
      <error statusCode="404" redirect="~/Error/PageNotFound"/>
    </customErrors>
    ...
</system.web>

In Controllers/ErrorController.cs:

public class ErrorController : Controller
{
    public ActionResult PageNotFound()
    {
        if(Request.IsAjaxRequest()) {
            Response.StatusCode = (int)HttpStatusCode.NotFound;
            return Content("Not Found", "text/plain");
        }

        return View();
    }
}

Add a PageNotFound.cshtml in the Shared folder, and that's it.


It seems to me that the standard CustomErrors configuration should just work however, due to the reliance on Server.Transfer it seems that the internal implementation of ResponseRewrite isn't compatible with MVC.

This feels like a glaring functionality hole to me, so I decided to re-implement this feature using a HTTP module. The solution below allows you to handle any HTTP status code (including 404) by redirecting to any valid MVC route just as you would do normally.

<customErrors mode="RemoteOnly" redirectMode="ResponseRewrite">
    <error statusCode="404" redirect="404.aspx" />
    <error statusCode="500" redirect="~/MVCErrorPage" />
</customErrors>

This has been tested on the following platforms;

  • MVC4 in Integrated Pipeline Mode (IIS Express 8)
  • MVC4 in Classic Mode (VS Development Server, Cassini)
  • MVC4 in Classic Mode (IIS6)

Benefits

  • Generic solution which can be dropped into any MVC project
  • Enables support for traditional custom errors configuration
  • Works in both Integrated Pipeline and Classic modes

The Solution

namespace Foo.Bar.Modules {

    /// <summary>
    /// Enables support for CustomErrors ResponseRewrite mode in MVC.
    /// </summary>
    public class ErrorHandler : IHttpModule {

        private HttpContext HttpContext { get { return HttpContext.Current; } }
        private CustomErrorsSection CustomErrors { get; set; }

        public void Init(HttpApplication application) {
            System.Configuration.Configuration configuration = WebConfigurationManager.OpenWebConfiguration("~");
            CustomErrors = (CustomErrorsSection)configuration.GetSection("system.web/customErrors");

            application.EndRequest += Application_EndRequest;
        }

        protected void Application_EndRequest(object sender, EventArgs e) {

            // only handle rewrite mode, ignore redirect configuration (if it ain't broke don't re-implement it)
            if (CustomErrors.RedirectMode == CustomErrorsRedirectMode.ResponseRewrite && HttpContext.IsCustomErrorEnabled) {

                int statusCode = HttpContext.Response.StatusCode;

                // if this request has thrown an exception then find the real status code
                Exception exception = HttpContext.Error;
                if (exception != null) {
                    // set default error status code for application exceptions
                    statusCode = (int)HttpStatusCode.InternalServerError;
                }

                HttpException httpException = exception as HttpException;
                if (httpException != null) {
                    statusCode = httpException.GetHttpCode();
                }

                if ((HttpStatusCode)statusCode != HttpStatusCode.OK) {

                    Dictionary<int, string> errorPaths = new Dictionary<int, string>();

                    foreach (CustomError error in CustomErrors.Errors) {
                        errorPaths.Add(error.StatusCode, error.Redirect);
                    }

                    // find a custom error path for this status code
                    if (errorPaths.Keys.Contains(statusCode)) {
                        string url = errorPaths[statusCode];

                        // avoid circular redirects
                        if (!HttpContext.Request.Url.AbsolutePath.Equals(VirtualPathUtility.ToAbsolute(url))) {

                            HttpContext.Response.Clear();
                            HttpContext.Response.TrySkipIisCustomErrors = true;

                            HttpContext.Server.ClearError();

                            // do the redirect here
                            if (HttpRuntime.UsingIntegratedPipeline) {
                                HttpContext.Server.TransferRequest(url, true);
                            }
                            else {
                                HttpContext.RewritePath(url, false);

                                IHttpHandler httpHandler = new MvcHttpHandler();
                                httpHandler.ProcessRequest(HttpContext);
                            }

                            // return the original status code to the client
                            // (this won't work in integrated pipleline mode)
                            HttpContext.Response.StatusCode = statusCode;

                        }
                    }

                }

            }

        }

        public void Dispose() {

        }


    }

}

Usage

Include this as the final HTTP module in your web.config

  <system.web>
    <httpModules>
      <add name="ErrorHandler" type="Foo.Bar.Modules.ErrorHandler" />
    </httpModules>
  </system.web>

  <!-- IIS7+ -->
  <system.webServer>
    <modules>
      <add name="ErrorHandler" type="Foo.Bar.Modules.ErrorHandler" />
    </modules>
  </system.webServer>

For those of you paying attention you will notice that in Integrated Pipeline mode this will always respond with HTTP 200 due to the way Server.TransferRequest works. To return the proper error code I use the following error controller.

public class ErrorController : Controller {

    public ErrorController() { }

    public ActionResult Index(int id) {
        // pass real error code to client
        HttpContext.Response.StatusCode = id;
        HttpContext.Response.TrySkipIisCustomErrors = true;

        return View("Errors/" + id.ToString());
    }

}

Dealing with errors in ASP.NET MVC is just a pain in the butt. I tried a whole lot of suggestions on this page and on other questions and sites and nothing works good. One suggestion was to handle errors on web.config inside system.webserver but that just returns blank pages.

My goal when coming up with this solution was to;

  • NOT REDIRECT
  • Return PROPER STATUS CODES not 200/Ok like the default error handling

Here is my solution.

1.Add the following to system.web section

   <system.web>
     <customErrors mode="On" redirectMode="ResponseRewrite">
      <error statusCode="404"  redirect="~/Error/404.aspx" />
      <error statusCode="500" redirect="~/Error/500.aspx" />
     </customErrors>
    <system.web>

The above handles any urls not handled by routes.config and unhandled exceptions especially those encountered on the views. Notice I used aspx not html. This is so I can add a response code on the code behind.

2. Create a folder called Error (or whatever you prefer) at the root of your project and add the two webforms. Below is my 404 page;

<%@ Page Language="C#" AutoEventWireup="true" CodeBehind="404.aspx.cs" Inherits="Myapp.Error._404" %>

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
    <meta charset="utf-8" />
    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">
    <title >Page Not found</title>
    <link href="<%=ResolveUrl("~/Content/myapp.css")%>" rel="stylesheet" />
</head>
<body>
    <div class="top-nav">
      <a runat="server" class="company-logo" href="~/"></a>
    </div>
    <div>
        <h1>404 - Page Not found</h1>
        <p>The page you are looking for cannot be found.</p>
        <hr />
        <footer></footer>
    </div>
</body>
</html>

And on the code behind I set the response code

protected void Page_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)
{
    Response.StatusCode = 404;
}

Do the same for the 500 page

3.To handle errors within the controllers. There's many ways to do it. This is what worked for me. All my controllers inherit from a base controller. In the base controller, I have the following methods

protected ActionResult ShowNotFound()
{
    return ShowNotFound("Page not found....");
}

protected ActionResult ShowNotFound(string message)
{
    return ShowCustomError(HttpStatusCode.NotFound, message);
}

protected ActionResult ShowServerError()
{
    return ShowServerError("Application error....");
}

protected ActionResult ShowServerError(string message)
{
    return ShowCustomError(HttpStatusCode.InternalServerError, message);
}

protected ActionResult ShowNotAuthorized()
{
    return ShowNotAuthorized("You are not allowed ....");

}

protected ActionResult ShowNotAuthorized(string message)
{
    return ShowCustomError(HttpStatusCode.Forbidden, message);
}

protected ActionResult ShowCustomError(HttpStatusCode statusCode, string message)
{
    Response.StatusCode = (int)statusCode;
    string title = "";
    switch (statusCode)
    {
        case HttpStatusCode.NotFound:
            title = "404 - Not found";
            break;
        case HttpStatusCode.Forbidden:
            title = "403 - Access Denied";
            break;
        default:
            title = "500 - Application Error";
            break;
    }
    ViewBag.Title = title;
    ViewBag.Message = message;
    return View("CustomError");
}

4.Add the CustomError.cshtml to your Shared views folder. Below is mine;

<h1>@ViewBag.Title</h1>
<br />
<p>@ViewBag.Message</p>

Now in your application controller you can do something like this;

public class WidgetsController : ControllerBase
{
  [HttpGet]
  public ActionResult Edit(int id)
  {
    Try
    {
       var widget = db.getWidgetById(id);
       if(widget == null)
          return ShowNotFound();
          //or return ShowNotFound("Invalid widget!");
       return View(widget);
    }
    catch(Exception ex)
    {
       //log error
       logger.Error(ex)
       return ShowServerError();
    }
  }
}

Now for the caveat. It won't handle static file errors. So if you have a route such as example.com/widgets and the user changes it to example.com/widgets.html, they will get the IIS default error page so you have to handle IIS level errors some other way.


Posting an answer since my comment was too long...

It's both a comment and questions to the unicorn post/answer:

https://stackoverflow.com/a/7499406/687549

I prefer this answer over the others for it's simplicity and the fact that apparently some folks at Microsoft were consulted. I got three questions however and if they can be answered then I will call this answer the holy grail of all 404/500 error answers on the interwebs for an ASP.NET MVC (x) app.

@Pure.Krome

  1. Can you update your answer with the SEO stuff from the comments pointed out by GWB (there was never any mentioning of this in your answer) - <customErrors mode="On" redirectMode="ResponseRewrite"> and <httpErrors errorMode="Custom" existingResponse="Replace">?

  2. Can you ask your ASP.NET team friends if it is okay to do it like that - would be nice to have some confirmation - maybe it's a big no-no to change redirectMode and existingResponse in this way to be able to play nicely with SEO?!

  3. Can you add some clarification surrounding all that stuff (customErrors redirectMode="ResponseRewrite", customErrors redirectMode="ResponseRedirect", httpErrors errorMode="Custom" existingResponse="Replace", REMOVE customErrors COMPLETELY as someone suggested) after talking to your friends at Microsoft?

As I was saying; it would be supernice if we could make your answer more complete as this seem to be a fairly popular question with 54 000+ views.

Update: Unicorn answer does a 302 Found and a 200 OK and cannot be changed to only return 404 using a route. It has to be a physical file which is not very MVC:ish. So moving on to another solution. Too bad because this seemed to be the ultimate MVC:ish answer this far.


Adding my solution, which is almost identical to Herman Kan's, with a small wrinkle to allow it to work for my project.

Create a custom error controller:

public class Error404Controller : BaseController
{
    [HttpGet]
    public ActionResult PageNotFound()
    {
        Response.StatusCode = 404;
        return View("404");
    }
}

Then create a custom controller factory:

public class CustomControllerFactory : DefaultControllerFactory
{
    protected override IController GetControllerInstance(RequestContext requestContext, Type controllerType)
    {
        return controllerType == null ? new Error404Controller() : base.GetControllerInstance(requestContext, controllerType);
    }
}

Finally, add an override to the custom error controller:

protected override void HandleUnknownAction(string actionName)
{
    var errorRoute = new RouteData();
    errorRoute.Values.Add("controller", "Error404");
    errorRoute.Values.Add("action", "PageNotFound");
    new Error404Controller().Execute(new RequestContext(HttpContext, errorRoute));
}

And that's it. No need for Web.config changes.


1) Make abstract Controller class.

public abstract class MyController:Controller
{
    public ActionResult NotFound()
    {
        Response.StatusCode = 404;
        return View("NotFound");
    }

    protected override void HandleUnknownAction(string actionName)
    {
        this.ActionInvoker.InvokeAction(this.ControllerContext, "NotFound");
    }
    protected override void OnAuthorization(AuthorizationContext filterContext) { }
}  

2) Make inheritence from this abstract class in your all controllers

public class HomeController : MyController
{}  

3) And add a view named "NotFound" in you View-Shared folder.


I went through most of the solutions posted on this thread. While this question might be old, it is still very applicable to new projects even now, so I spent quite a lot of time reading up on the answers presented here as well as else where.

As @Marco pointed out the different cases under which a 404 can happen, I checked the solution I compiled together against that list. In addition to his list of requirements, I also added one more.

  • The solution should be able to handle MVC as well as AJAX/WebAPI calls in the most appropriate manner. (i.e. if 404 happens in MVC, it should show the Not Found page and if 404 happens in WebAPI, it should not hijack the XML/JSON response so that the consuming Javascript can parse it easily).

This solution is 2 fold:

First part of it comes from @Guillaume at https://stackoverflow.com/a/27354140/2310818. Their solution takes care of any 404 that were caused due to invalid route, invalid controller and invalid action.

The idea is to create a WebForm and then make it call the NotFound action of your MVC Errors Controller. It does all of this without any redirect so you will not see a single 302 in Fiddler. The original URL is also preserved, which makes this solution fantastic!


Second part of it comes from @Germán at https://stackoverflow.com/a/5536676/2310818. Their solution takes care of any 404 returned by your actions in the form of HttpNotFoundResult() or throw new HttpException()!

The idea is to have a filter look at the response as well as the exception thrown by your MVC controllers and to call the appropriate action in your Errors Controller. Again this solution works without any redirect and the original url is preserved!


As you can see, both of these solutions together offer a very robust error handling mechanism and they achieve all the requirements listed by @Marco as well as my requirements. If you would like to see a working sample or a demo of this solution, please leave in the comments and I would be happy to put it together.


I have gone through all articles but nothing works for me: My requirement user type anything in your url custom 404 page should show.I thought it is very straight forward.But you should understand handling of 404 properly:

 <system.web>
    <customErrors mode="On" redirectMode="ResponseRewrite">
      <error statusCode="404" redirect="~/PageNotFound.aspx"/>
    </customErrors>
  </system.web>
<system.webServer>
    <httpErrors errorMode="Custom">
      <remove statusCode="404"/>
      <error statusCode="404" path="/PageNotFound.html" responseMode="ExecuteURL"/>
    </httpErrors>
</system.webServer>

I found this article very helpfull.should be read at once.Custome error page-Ben Foster


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