Google Webmaster Tools is reporting crawl errors for links that never existed, and if i check the "Linked from" tab for a given error link, it shows another that never existed.

They all mention joomla/ which is not the CMS used on this domain (it's WordPress fyi).

Example: http://example.com/joomla/index.php/component/user/register

Linked from: http://example.com/joomla/component/user/login?return=L2######

I tried something: I provided one of the faulty urls to the "Fetch as Google" functionality. Instead of returning a 404, it returns a 301 to another Joomla page.

HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently
Server: Apache/2.4.3
X-Powered-By: PHP/5.4.4-10
X-Pingback: http://example.com/xmlrpc.php
Expires: Wed, 11 Jan 1984 05:00:00 GMT
Cache-Control: no-cache, must-revalidate, max-age=0
Pragma: no-cache
Set-Cookie: PHPSESSID=1fgr5v2oip39miibuptd51s8h0; path=/
Set-Cookie: woocommerce_items_in_cart=0; expires=Sat, 12-Jan-2013 11:44:01 GMT; path=/
Location: http://example.com/joomla/component/user/register
Content-Type: text/html; charset=iso-8859-1
Content-Length: 387
Date: Sat, 12 Jan 2013 12:44:01 GMT
Via: 1.1 varnish
Connection: keep-alive
Accept-Ranges: bytes
Age: 0

<title>301 Moved Permanently</title>
<h1>Moved Permanently</h1>
<p>The document has moved <a href="http://example.com/joomla/component/user/register">here</a>.</p>
<p>Additionally, a 301 Moved Permanently
error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.</p>
  • Did someone use the WordPress import feature to import content from a Joomla powered site? Does your server host multiple websites but use the same IP address for more than one website? Despite using WP, is it possible that Joomla is also installed on your server? wordpress.org/plugins/redirection is a WP plugin that might give you some useful information about the problem. Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 8:53

2 Answers 2


Most of these "mystery" 404s tend be a result of Googlebot trying to crawl forms, parse JavaScript, etc., or from any number of external sources ranging from auto-transaltion services to simple mis-typed links.

There's a Google blog post which covers the subject in some detail, but the bottom line is, if it's some junk that doesn't represent an actual URL on your site, current or past, don't worry about it.

  • Thanks for that. I read the article and they suggested using Fetch as Google: indeed. You can see the result in my updated question.
    – pixeline
    Commented Jan 12, 2013 at 12:50
  • Please could you paste the contents of your .htaccess file :P Commented Jan 12, 2013 at 13:36
  • @pixeline What response do you ultimately reach, after following that redirect? If it's a 404, the situation is essentially unchanged.
    – GDVS
    Commented Jan 12, 2013 at 16:12

We can see from your HTTP response headers that your request was handed off to PHP, and then to WordPress. The first place I would go looking for this, then, is your WordPress plugins and themes. If you can't find the problem yourself, you might also want to call in a system administrator to take a look; this looks like something that is likely to require hands-on to figure out.

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