Error handling in ASP.NET MVC

This is a basic error handling strategy for an ASP.NET MVC app. It will handle all ASP.NET errors, allow somewhere to put logging code and redirect to a generic error page.

This will miss exceptions not handled by ASP.NET such as navigating to an invalid URL but will be sufficient to handle and log application errors in your controllers.

First start by creating an ErrorController (this one is basic but could be expanded):

using System.Web.Mvc;

namespace BasicErrorHandling.Controllers
    public class ErrorController : Controller
        // GET: Error
        public ActionResult Index(string message)
            TempData["errorMessage"] = message;
            return View();

Don’t forget to create a view for said controller:

    Layout = null;

<!DOCTYPE html>

    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width" />
        <h1>Generic Error Page</h1>

For testing purposes, let’s introduce an exception in one of our actions:

public ActionResult About()
    ViewBag.Message = "Your application description page.";

    // throw an error to test exception handling
    throw new Exception("Fictious error");

    return View();

The method that will handle our errors and redirect to our error page is in our Global.asax.cs:

protected void Application_Error(object sender, EventArgs e)
    // get error and clear it 
    var exception = Server.GetLastError();

    // log error
    // ...

    // redirect to error page
    string message = Regex.Replace(exception.Message, @"\t|\n|\r", ""); // replace newlines which will not work with query string
    Response.Redirect("/Error/?message=" + message);

Here we should log or handle the error in the manner appropriate to our application. Finally we redirect to an error page supplying an optional message parameter. We could also redirect to this error controller from somewhere else than Global.asax.

To make everything work nicely we need to add a new route in our RouteConfig.cs:

public static void RegisterRoutes(RouteCollection routes)

        name: "Error",
        url: "Error/{message}", 
        defaults: new { controller = "Error", 
                        action = "Index", 
                        message = UrlParameter.Optional } 

        name: "Default",
        url: "{controller}/{action}/{id}",
        defaults: new { controller = "Home", 
                        action = "Index", 
                        id = UrlParameter.Optional }

You can find the whole thing on GitHub.

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