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How to handle 404 errors in ASP.NET Core MVC

ASP.NET Core MVC is the .NET Core counterpart of the ASP.NET MVC framework for building cross-platform, scalable, high-performance web applications and APIs using the Model-View-Controller design pattern. Surprisingly, although ASP.NET Core provides plenty of options for handling 404 errors gracefully, the ASP.NET Core MVC runtime doesn’t take advantage of them by default.

As a result, when a web page is not found and a 404 error is returned by the application, ASP.NET Core MVC presents only a generic browser error page (as shown in Figure 1 below). This article discusses three options in ASP.NET Core we can use to handle 404 errors more gracefully.

To work with the code examples provided in this article, you should have Visual Studio 2019 installed in your system. If you don’t already have a copy, you can download Visual Studio 2019 here.

Create an ASP.NET Core MVC project

First off, let’s create an ASP.NET Core project in Visual Studio. Assuming Visual Studio 2019 is installed in your system, follow the steps outlined below to create a new ASP.NET Core project in Visual Studio.

  1. Launch the Visual Studio IDE.
  2. Click on “Create new project.”
  3. In the “Create new project” window, select “ASP.NET Core Web Application” from the list of templates displayed.
  4. Click Next. 
  5. In the “Configure your new project” window shown next, specify the name and location for the new project.
  6. Click Create.
  7. In the “Create a New ASP.NET Core Web Application” window, select .NET Core as the runtime and ASP.NET Core 3.1 (or later) from the drop-down list at the top.
  8. Select “Web Application (Model-View-Controller)” as the project template to create a new ASP.NET Core MVC application.
  9. Ensure that the check boxes “Enable Docker Support” and “Configure for HTTPS” are unchecked as we won’t be using those features here.
  10. Ensure that Authentication is set to “No Authentication” as we won’t be using authentication either.
  11. Click Create.

Following these steps will create a new ASP.NET Core MVC project in Visual Studio 2019. We’ll use this project to illustrate our 404 error handling options in the subsequent sections of this article.

When you execute the ASP.NET Core MVC project we’ve created in the preceding section, you will see the home page of the application together with the welcome message as shown in Figure 1 below. 

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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