Hosting Tutorial & Guide

How to Check and Remove Broken Links on Your Website

updated on Dec 30, 2014
How to Check and Remove Broken Links on Your Website Broken links come into being on your site when a linked website is moved to a new domain, the targeted page is removed, or the URLs of pages are changed for some reasons. It is a common mistake that many website administrators ignore the broken links, because this deed causes the result that clicking the links leads to errors.

This bad result brings further harms on the search engine optimization of the site and visitors' feelings toward your business. Considering the troubles, we work out this simple tutorial to guide you to easily find all the harmful broken links on your site, and to remove them effectively to improve SEO and your site fame.

How to Check Broken Links?

It is nearly impossible to check all the links on your site manually to find the broken ones especially when your site is in a quite large scale. However, you don't need to worry because there are many useful tools you can make use of to do the job easily. In most cases, the tools are free of charge. Check the most popular options in the following.

Broken Link Checker
Website: https://wordpress.org/plugins/broken-link-checker/

As one helpful and easy-to-use WordPress plugin, Broken Link Checker is able to monitor the blog site to find out the hidden broken links or missing images by checking your comments, posts or any other content on your post. Moreover, this tool can prevent the search engine from connecting or following broken links and enables you to filter and search links by anchor text or URL.

In addition, Broken Link Checker is able to edit links on the plugin page without the hassle of manually updating every post. Furthermore, you are allowed to use many ways to display broken links in a post. It needs to point out that once this checker tool finds out any broken link in your blog site, it will notify you right now through email and dashboard ways. Besides, it is highly configurable and is compatible with WordPress 3.9.1 version.
Top 5 Free Broken Link Checkers - Broken Link Checker

LinkChecker
Website: https://wummel.github.io/linkchecker/

As a free and GPL licensed check tool, LinkChecker can run on Python 2.7.2 or the latest version with multithreaded and recursive checking for your site. What's more, it endows different and alternative interfaces including GUI, command line and website interface. In the meantime, this check tool offers the password or username authorization for FTP, HTTP and Telnet with supporting for Cookie and HTML5.

Furthermore, LinkChecker gives the ability to check the custom pages, HTML and CSS files with antivirus check included. Besides, it has the link checking restriction with some regular expression filters for the URLs and supports for outputting in many kinds of normal or coloured texts which include XML, SQL, HTML, CSV or more. Furthermore, LinkChecker provides you with multiple downloadable packages in the format of tar. , deb and exe.
Top 5 Free Broken Link Checkers - LinkChecker

Link Evaluator
Website: https://evaluator.oclc.org/

As a Firefox extension, Link Evaluator is created to help webmasters evaluate the availability and usability of online resources connecting or pointing to some given website pages. Moreover, it can follow all of links on the existing pages and further assess the response of every URL link by examining both of the URL returned page contents and the HTTP status code.

At the same time, Link Evaluator is able to generate different and classified checking results, such as network time-outs, broken links (404), "incorrect" content for the existing URL and authentication failure or more. In addition, this check tool allows you to quickly understand all checking results by highlighting each link with differentiated colours, for example, the green colour for complete and right link and the red colour for broken and wrong link respectively.
Top 5 Free Broken Link Checkers - Link Evaluator

Link Valet
Website: https://www.htmlhelp.com/tools/valet/index.html

As an essential and effective website monitoring tool, Link Valet allows you to check out the potential broken links on the post with requesting you to enter the URLs of some HTML pages on the website. What's more, this tool involves a comprehensive summary and a brief description of all checked links from the web page which you want to investigate.

Additionally, you are able to have much further choices for detailed reports, for example, you can view the page headers, probe any script or validate the page and so on. Note that you are prepared with two alternative options of the summary report and the full report. Besides, this kind of checking tool is user-friendly and easy-to-navigate by presenting you with your required URL in an unexpected order.
Top 5 Free Broken Link Checkers - Link Valet

Search Engine Optimization Toolkit
Website: https://www.iis.net/downloads/microsoft/search-engine-optimization-toolkit

As a noted and useful broken links check tool, Search Engine Optimization Toolkit offers bountiful features for making the content on your website more SEO-friendly including the robots exclusion module, the site analysis module, the sitemaps and site indexes modules or more.

To be specific, its built-in site analysis tool comes with a large set of reports for analysing the site's compliance with SEO and discovering many kinds of problems on the website, such as broken links, performance issues and duplicate resources. Moreover, this tool is easy to download and install even for beginners or newbies.

Top 5 Free Broken Link Checkers - Search Engine Optimization Toolkit

How to Use Broken Link Checkers

After listing some link checkers, we'd like to make things more specific by taking Broken Link Checker plugin as an example. When you have installed and activated this WordPress plugin, you get an option of Link Checker in the settings. After the plugin has checked throughout your site, you can see the number of broken links on the following page. Just click on the result, and you can check the links one by one and make changes to them.

Broken Link Checker

In the case that you run a site on a platform that does not come with an extension with the function you need or you don't want to slow down the site with too many plugins, you can also choose to download a link checker on local computer to test the validity of the URLs on the whole site or a given page.

If you have no idea about which to use, LinkChecker, which comes with all of command-line interface, GUI client and CGI web interface, is a good option that is powerful and easy-to-use. When it finishes the checking, it shows the broken links in detail and presents the reasons why they are broken. For improved SEO and user experience, we recommend you to perform checking periodically.

How to Remove Broken Links?

How to Remove Broken Links Having found the broken links, now you need to come up with a way to resolve the problem. Generally speaking, there are 3 simple and widely adopted ways for fixing the invalidity, among which you can try certain ones or all of them. Remember that before you take any bulk action (if it is supported), you should check the marked links to confirm whether they are really broken.

Unlink the broken links.
To deal with the broken links, the easiest way is to unlink them, especially when some ones are on contextual contents and point to deleted posts with related information. This method is not recommended for those really functional or necessary links.

Create redirections.
Redirections work when a link points to a site that has been moved to a new domain name or a post that has changed the URL. By creating effective redirections, you can lead visitors who click specific links to the right locations instead of leaving them in bewilderment.

Modify the Links.
Modification is suitable for dealing with the ones that are broken because of mistakes like the wrong spelling. If you find that the web page that you are intended to link to is valid, you can correct the link to fix the problem.

To prevent broken links, we suggest you to create a 404 error page to avoid the situation that visitors click a broken internal link but only find that they are lost in an error page. A custom error page offers suggestions and references when the problem happens.