Broken link, also called as dead link, is a link that points to a web page that is unavailable to reach. It’s common to broken links on WordPress websites, for example, the original page is deleted or closed. Definitely, broken links are harmful for your website. It gives visitors a bad impression for your website usability, affects the quality of your internal and external links and hurts your search engine ranking. In general, you can search and delete each broken link by hand. However, it’s impossible if you have a lot of articles. So to help you make the thing easily, we list some of the best broken link checkers to fix WordPress broken links.
How Broken Links Harm Your Site
In fact, the broken links or the dead hyperlinks are not just annoying and disappointing. The existence of them may lead to the unexpected damage to your website, as well as your online reputation, brand image and income.
- Broken links can lead to the bad visiting experiences of your new users. After all, they cannot find out the exact pages, posts and contents they are actually looking for.
- Broken links can cause to the loss of the existing customer base, especially when your loyal users are frustrated enough so as to never come back again.
- Broken links will damage the current online reputation of your site, as well as the online ranking and SEO.
W3C Link Checker
This tool is a part of W3C’s validators and Quality Web tools. It is a premium tool that checks the issues in anchors, links, and referenced objects in a web page, or on the entire websites.
The link checker will read on XHTML, HTML document or even a CSS stylesheet so as to extract a list of links and anchors. After that, W3C Link Checker will figure out the following parts.
- Check that anchor text is defined as twice.
- Check that all the links are dereferenceable that include the fragments.
- Warns the HTTP redirects that include the directory redirects.
- Check the recursively parts of a site.
There is an online version and a command line version of this tool. Both of these two options support the HTTP basic authentication. When using the online version, you should note that the number of documents to be checked is limited. In addition, there is a one second sleep between the requests to each server so as to avoid the target server congestion and the abuses.
Google Webmaster Tools
Created by Google, this tool is completely free of charge. It is rich featured and helps webmasters to understand how Google is indexing your websites. It lists out the errors into not found, Sitemap related & restricted by robots.txt so that webmasters can modify and improve them.
The best part is that this tool started reporting on broken links since the year of 2008. In this case, you can see all the pages that the broken links are coming from via the Webmaster Tools directly. This kind of data or information is helpful for users to figure out that visitors already find their websites with the properly credited links.
To access the data, you should:
- Enter this tool and access to your site to verify that you are the owner of the website.
- Hit the Diagnostics tab and then the Web Crawl button.
- Click the Not Found button to check the links that are broken or return the 404 errors.
- Hit the Linked From number so as to see a list of broken links.
- Download these sources to sort in your local Excel.
Link Valet is an online link checker that can spider your site and will give you a report on all the broken links. It fetches the page when you enter the link of an HTML page, and then it will produce a report on it. When a link references another HTML page at the same site, the tool will follow the link and prepare a similar report on the referred page.
Note that each webpage report will have a summary of all the links from that page. From the report, you can find some highlighted options when the following situations happen.
- The link returns the 404 or the broken errors.
- The content of the URL has been updated when you already have a Link Valet report of your site.
- The server has redirected your links.
- The server returns that the same link will return multiple documents to different users.
In addition, from the report, you can check the page and the page header, validate the page and probe the script referenced by Forms.
Online Broken Link Checker
This is a reliable and flexible tool, with which webmasters are not required to manually search for dead links. It does not only tell which hyperlinks are dead, but also show where exactly those stale references located in the HTML code. In case, you can easily find the broken links and fix them.
Some of the core features of this tool are summarized in the following.
- Check your entire website for the dead and broken links by scanning unlimited number of pages.
- Validate both your external and internal URLs.
- Display the location of the bad links in the HTML of your site.
- Report the error code for these dead links.
- Run on multiple platforms, including Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and Linux.
Check My Links
Check My Links is a special link checker that crawls over your webpage to find broken links. It quickly finds all the links on a webpage and check each link whether it is dead. It highlights the broken link when founded. As a result, it is a helpful Google extension designed for web designers, developers, and content editors.
SortSite Error and Link Checking
SortSite is a premium website analysis tool that scans the entire website for quality issues, including broken links, spelling errors, browser compatibility, accessibility, web standards validation and search engine issues. As for the link check, it finds dead links and missing images in HTML, PDF, CSS, Flash, and Microsoft Office documents.
In addition to the broken links or the missing images from HTML, some of the main checking items are listed in the following.
- CSS – Check for the missing background images and dead @import statements.
- RSS – Check for the broken or dead RSS feeds.
- Flash – Check for the broken links inside the movies or the missing movie files.
- Script Errors – Check for the warnings, mistakes and errors caused by PHP, ASPX and ASP.
Broken Link Checker
This is a specialized WordPress broken link plugins that detect your articles, comments, and other content within your website, for redirects, broken links, and missing images. Once founded broken links, it notifies you via WordPress dashboard or email. Besides, it can also prevent search engines from following broken links.
How to Find and Fix Broken Links
All the above-mentioned link checkers are easy to use, but we still want to introduce the detailed steps so as to help you better understand the process of broken link checking. Here, we take Broken Link Checker as an example.
Just like any other WordPress plugin, you first need to install and active this plugin before making use of any features. Once activated, it adds a Link Checker option under the Settings and Tools menu bar.
Click on Settings -> Link Checker, and you will be linked to the Broken Link Checker Options panel, just like the following.
Click on the General Tab, it enables you to configure the general settings of this tool. First of all, you can see the Status that shows the number of broken links on your site. Then, you can set the Check each link, Email notifications, notification email address, link tweaks, and suggestions. At last, click on the below button to save changes.
Then, you can click on the Status link or go to Tools -> Link checker to see the detailed information about your broken links. Here, you have three methods to fix the broken links.
First, move your mouse over the broken link, there are some options appeared to allow you directly to edit the link.
Alternatively, you can open and edit the page, and then change the link.
At last, you can also perform the Bulk Actions to Mark as Not Broken, Unlink, recheck, and so on.
Till now, you have successfully fixed the broken links. To avoid too many plugins to make your site slow, you can simply deactivate the plugin and delete it. Besides, you can try some other link checkers listed on this page.