Increasing 404 error page in Google Analytics

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N_x_T
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Increasing 404 error page in Google Analytics

Post by N_x_T » Wed Mar 14, 2018 1:33 pm

Hi all,

My site got compromised, so I roll the site back to the clean version. After that incident, I noticed Google Analytics has reported number of 404 error page gone up by 2%. The average is 150 pageviews per day.

Please advise how can I find the cause of the problem and fix it.

Thank you,

M

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Re: Increasing 404 error page in Google Analytics

Post by AlexSmirnov » Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:41 pm

Don't worry much about those 404s you find in your GA account. If pages don't exist, they should return status 404.

Just build an "Error 404 - Page Not Found" custom error page for your Joomla. For your site visitors.

As far as Google is concerned, in a few months, those 404s you are currently seeing will gradually die off with them.
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Re: Increasing 404 error page in Google Analytics

Post by N_x_T » Thu Mar 15, 2018 7:34 pm

AlexSmirnov,

Thank you for your suggestions.

I built a custom error page follow the instructions you suggested a while ago. The number of pageviews on the 404-error-page was just 0.24%. After that incident, the number has gone up to 2%.

When I looked at the full referrer in GA, the top two were "Direct" and "Google". What does "Direct" mean and how can I track to find the cause?

Thank you,

N

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Re: Increasing 404 error page in Google Analytics

Post by sozzled » Thu Mar 15, 2018 8:29 pm

"Direct" probably means that the target URL was entered in the browser's address bar (or some web-agent attempted to locate the URL by "trial and error"). I get quite fair amount of [what's known in the game as] "referrer spam" (see my discussion on the forum at viewtopic.php?f=714&t=958501) and I've written an article about it (search Google for "Who’s snooping around your website?") ;)

"Google" probably means that someone obtained the URL to the target from Google. The fact that it led to a 404 error probably means that the information in Google was wrong or outdated.

Does that help?
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Re: Increasing 404 error page in Google Analytics

Post by N_x_T » Fri Mar 16, 2018 3:19 pm

sozzled,

It helps a lot. From your suggestions, I went to check the redirect extension I have. That extension have reported ton of the errors below, and it returned status 404.

https://mywebsite.com/forum/jxpnsk.php? ... -cash-back

From the link to your discussion topic, I did not see a solution to prevent this to happen. Did I miss something from that thread?

Please advise.

Thank you,

N

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Re: Increasing 404 error page in Google Analytics

Post by sozzled » Fri Mar 16, 2018 7:06 pm

N_x_T wrote:From the link to your discussion topic, I did not see a solution to prevent this to happen. Did I miss something from that thread?
You are correct in your assessment; there is no specific "solution" posted within that forum topic. That forum topic prompted debate among members of the community: some people disagreed with my idea to use the Redirects component as an early warning system of possible site attacks. That's OK with me; everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

I used that forum topic as a basis for writing my own article about what I've found and one method I use for signs of nascent site attacks. The forum rules prevent me from posting links directly to material I have written elsewhere. Other people may cite my works on this forum, of course, but I cannot cite them myself; however, it's not difficult to search for that information using Google. ;)
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Re: Increasing 404 error page in Google Analytics

Post by N_x_T » Wed Mar 21, 2018 8:29 pm

sozzled,

I got more information and more questions. I hope you and other Joomla gurus can help pointing me out. I just got a report from Google Search Console, please see below

URL injection
These pages appear to be created by a hacker with the intent of spamming search results.
Show details
http://mywebsite.com/forum/jxpnsk.php?tuta=dwg-to-pdf

As I mentioned earlier that I rolled the site back to the (I thought) the clean version.
I am new to Joomla, so I don't know how to check/find if the url injection is still hiding somewhere.

Please advise.
Thank you,
N

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Re: Increasing 404 error page in Google Analytics

Post by sozzled » Wed Mar 21, 2018 8:47 pm

We don't know if there's been a successful SQL injection, do we?

We know only that you have seen a rise in the number of 404 errors. That's all we know.

As I mentioned earlier in this topic, it's likely that what you're seeing is "referrer spam" or "index bombing". Did you read the other forum topic in which I offered my thoughts on how to detect these things using the Redirects component? I leave the matter of how you develop countermeasures to that kind of unwanted attention to each person to determine for themselves.
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Re: Increasing 404 error page in Google Analytics

Post by N_x_T » Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:46 pm

sozzled,
Did you read the other forum topic in which I offered my thoughts on how to detect these things using the Redirects component?
I did read, so I checked ReDJ Redirect extension that I have on my website. On the errors section, Visited URL column, it said
http://mywebsite.com/forum/jxpnsk.php?tuta=dwg-to-pdf error code 404

What should I do based on the information from Google Search Console and ReDJ Redirect?

Thank you,

N

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Re: Increasing 404 error page in Google Analytics

Post by sozzled » Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:53 pm

N_x_T wrote:What should I do based on the information from Google Search Console and ReDJ Redirect?
What would you like to do? You could, for example, redirect this URL to another URL; see https://www.addedbytes.com/blog/url-rew ... -beginners
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Re: Increasing 404 error page in Google Analytics

Post by kev211 » Thu Mar 22, 2018 6:28 am

I wonder if we can actually know if pages have been deleted from the website in Analytics that return 404 Error Page.

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Re: Increasing 404 error page in Google Analytics

Post by sozzled » Thu Mar 22, 2018 6:37 am

@kev211: think about what you've just written.

You're asking if a page (or view) that doesn't exist—that generates a 404 Error—has been "deleted"? ???

Surely your question can't be about wondering if a page was "deleted" but, if the page was deleted, I certainly don't know who, what, when, how or why the page was deleted. So what's your question?
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