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Why do I get a Page Not Found on my OSU Drupal Site?

If, suddenly, you receive a Page Not Found error when trying to go to your site's front page, and the address you entered is correct, chances are there has been a change to the URL Alias of the node that is used for the front page.

This can be startling when it happens as it suddenly appears as if you do not have access to the site, but in fact you still do.  First, though, let's understand why this is happening.

The OSU Drupal installation is set up, by default, to recognize the word "home" in the URL path as the front page.  So, for example, a node with the address "http://oregonstate.edu/dept/collegename/home", would automatically be recognized as the front page and would display as "http://oregonstate.edu/dept/collegename".

When CWS intially installs an OSU Drupal site, the "home" page is automatically set up.  All you have to do is replace the filler content on that home page with your own.  If, though, the page is deleted or the URL Path Settings on that node are changed to something other than "home", the front page will disappear.

Any role in an OSU Drupal site has the ability to change the URL Path Setting right from the content submission form, so it's important that awareness is raised about this potential issue.

So now that some light is shed on the cause of this issue, the solution is actually easy to figure out: just change the URL Path Setting back to "home".

How do I change the default front page settings?

The front page of a Drupal site is actually a special object in Drupal.  It has the ability to be dynamic.  In other words, it can be set up to recognize any existing node, no matter what the URL path, as the front page.  When this occurs, the site's root URL is displayed instead of the full path used for the node.

For example, the URL "http://oregonstate.edu/dept/collegename/home", if set as the front page, would display as "http://oregonstate.edu/dept/collegename".

Under normal circumstances the initial configuration should not have to be changed.  If a need arises to do this, though, a site's administrator can perform this task.