404 rendering at custom route without redirection

Dear Discourse community,

I have an issue I’m trying to resolve, but having little problems with it.
The behaviour I’m trying to achieve with a custom route, is basically the behaviour you see when linking in a topic to another non-existent topic. When clicking a link to a non-existent topic, you are presented with a 404 page. When you click your browser’s Back button, you are redirected back to the topic you came from.

Now for my custom route, I notice different behaviour. So when I’m at my custom route, a JSON is retrieved from the backend, but when this JSON is not present, the controller returns a 404 page. EmberJS picks up on this, and redirects to www.my-discourse-server.com/404. So far so good. But if I hit the back button, I go back to the non-existent page, which returns a 404 and I once again find myself at the /404 page.

Let me try to give a short indication of what the code looks like. My route:

export default Discourse.Route.extend({
  model(opts, router, model) {
    return Ember.$.getJSON(`/custom-route/${opts.uniqueID}`);

When this returns a 404, it is caught by Discourse and transitioned to ‘exception-unknown’ by /discourse/app/assets/javascripts/discourse/routes/application.js.es6.

So basically what I want is to present the user with a 404 page, without the URL redirecting to /404.

Any suggestions?



@joebuhlig is this something that you encountered when developing the Static Pages plugin?

Not exactly. The Static Pages plugin doesn’t try to maintain the URL without redirecting. It’s all done on the server side as seen here:


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Hey @joebuhlig,

I actually created PRs for the procourse-static-pages plugin recently. Glad you removed the Licensing, since I think more people can benefit from this plugin.

When I make a post, linking to a non-existing procourse-static-page, I see the same behaviour as I described. So when you click the link in the post, Discourse opens that URL and receives a 404 from the controller (as intended). However, the frontend then redirects you to /404. Meaning that if you go back, you again hit the non-existing route which again redirects you to the /404.

We’re still dealing with this problem, and I think your plugin can also benefit from a solution.


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The Static Pages plugin simply follows the core Discourse process. I try to stick to the “the Discourse way” as much as I can.

Since this seems to be the way it works in core, you would need to write an acceptable PR for the team. But I can’t speak to whether or not they would accept it. There may be a valid reason for redirecting to a 404 page as opposed to leaving the URL.

I agree that it seems to be “the Discourse way”. However, when I link to a non-existing topic/post, Discourse does not redirect to a 404 page, but simply renders one without redirecting. So there seem to be multiple ways of handling this.

Any chance @codinghorror can weigh in on this?

1 Like