– Error Handling in ASP.NET MVC

How can I correctly handle exceptions thrown from controllers in ASP.NET MVC? The HandleError attribute seems to only process exceptions thrown by the MVC infrastructure and not exceptions thrown by my own code.

Using this web.config

<customErrors mode="On">
    <error statusCode="401" redirect="/Errors/Http401" />

with the following code

namespace MvcApplication1.Controllers
    public class HomeController : Controller
        public ActionResult Index()
            // Force a 401 exception for testing
            throw new HttpException(401, "Unauthorized");

doesn't result in what I was hoping for. Instead I get the generic ASP.NET error page telling me to modify my web.config to see the actual error information. However, if instead of throwing an exception I return an invalid View, I get the /Shared/Views/Error.aspx page:

return View("DoesNotExist");

Throwing exceptions within a controller like I've done above seems to bypass all of the HandleError functionality, so what's the right way to create error pages and how do I play nice with the MVC infrastructure?

Best Solution

Controller.OnException(ExceptionContext context). Override it.

protected override void OnException(ExceptionContext filterContext)
    // Bail if we can't do anything; app will crash.
    if (filterContext == null)
        // since we're handling this, log to elmah

    var ex = filterContext.Exception ?? new Exception("No further information exists.");

    filterContext.ExceptionHandled = true;
    var data = new ErrorPresentation
            ErrorMessage = HttpUtility.HtmlEncode(ex.Message),
            TheException = ex,
            ShowMessage = !(filterContext.Exception == null),
            ShowLink = false
    filterContext.Result = View("ErrorPage", data);