Updated on June 12, 2022
Broken links happen to every site, including mine, and usually for reasons outside of one’s control. Some sites go defunct, while others might delete or move articles. However, it’s important to make sure links on a site are as accurate as possible. Accurate, working links help keep a website useful for visitors.
Below are a few tools for checking for broken links.
Broken Link Checker plugin
The WordPress plugin Broken Link Checker does a thorough job at checking broken links on a WordPress-based site.
Unfortunately, the downside is that this plugin can use a lot of resources on a website. Depending on the web host, this might be a bad thing, especially on shared hosting plans. A few ISPs even go as far as banning the use of this plugin. This plugin’s probably better for those with higher-end hosting plans, or those running a virtual private server.
The website Brokenlinkcheck.com doesn’t need any plugins. Instead, you just enter the URL of the site you’d like to check, and it’ll scan for broken links on up to 3000 pages.
Larger sites might not find this checker to be sufficient. However, those with smaller sites or want to offload link checking to an external server will find this site useful.
Of course, even if you do find broken links, you’ll have to see if it’s possible to find a replacement link.
I’ll often do a search to see if the article the link pointed to is still on the site, just under a new URL. If not, I’ll search for an alternative to the original link, such as a different news story about the same subject.
And if that fails, I’ll just delete the link outright. The latter’s usually the case for links to now-deleted YouTube videos, or articles moved behind a paywall.