Unless you’re just starting your first blog, you are probably quite aware that a website needs regular maintenance. Things need to upgrade, others break down, and you always think how to improve your site. When doing maintenance, people often forget to check for broken links on their sites. No matter if you have a small business site with just several internal and external links, or you run an entire portal which may contain tens of thousands links, this is something you should take care of.
Depending on the size of your site and how valuable your links are to you, there are several techniques you can use to check for broken links on your WordPress site. And while doing maintenance, don’t forget to put your site in under construction mode.
- Manual – Apparently, you can check links by manually going through them. This is possible if you have a one-pager, or a simple business site that consists of just several pages. If so, it shouldn’t be that hard to open all pages and click on the links to see if they’re still working fine. By checking for broken links manually, you can even save time which you might lose on searching for plugins and figuring out how they work.
- WordPress plugins – If a manual check up isn’t an option for you, there are WordPress plugins that can help you. We already showed you Broken Link Checker, and if you want a premium version with much more options, check 5sec Redirect plugin on CodeCaynon.
- Online tools – There are free and premium online tools that can check for broken links on your site. Tools can be used without the installation, and in today’s article, we’re about to show you the best ones.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console, aka Webmasters Tools, is a perfect place for every blog owner. After you validate your site, this online tool will let you manage a website on Google. Among many other fantastic tools that we are not going to mention in this article, you get to check for broken links that might appear on your site.
As Google is already crawling your website to index it, calculate page rank and do much more, it’s also looking for all links. You can take advantage of that and find all broken links on your site:
- Open Google Search Console
- Navigate to Crawl -> Crawl Errors
- Open the Not Found tab
Here, you will locate the list of all links from your site that point nowhere. To be more precise, here you will find broken links that lead to 404 error page.
Google will show you the link, response code (usually 404), and the date when it was detected. After you check for broken links, you should fix the problem (delete the broken page, add tags and categories that might have been removed by mistake, add missing tags, redirect pages, etc.) and tell Google that you fixed the issue by clicking the button.
Dr. Link Check
Behind the clever name, there is a beautiful and straightforward online tool that will check your site for broken links. Sometimes, less is more so Dr. Link Check won’t offer settings, nor it will bother you with instructions.
- Open Dr. Link Check
- Type in your URL
- Click Start button
The free version will let you scan up to 1000 internal and external links from your site. After some time, Dr. Link Check will show you a report card and tell you where are the broken links. Everything is easy, fast and that’s why we think that this online broken link checker is one of the best out there.
W3C Link Checker
As part of W3C’s validators and Quality Web tools, Link Checker is an attractive and reliable way of testing your site for broken links. The tool is quite simple to use; it will look for issues in links, anchors, and objects in a web page or an entire site. It can also check for links in CSS files.
- Open W3C Link Checker
- Enter the address you want to check
- Select additional options if needed
- Click on the Check button
Allow the Link Checker some time to do its magic. Take note that testing just one web page may take up to a minute so give it some time.
Online Broken Link Checker
Here’s another free online tool that will check for broken links on any site you provide. Online Broken Link Checker can validate both internal and external links. It will show you the location of problematic links and show you a report for all bad URLs.
- Go to Online Broken Link Checker
- Enter URL and the security code
- Wait for the tool to finish scanning and see the report card
With this free version, you can check up to 3000 pages which do not have a limit regarding the links in them. If you want to check more than that, you should opt-in for the premium version. Also, the free version doesn’t allow subfolders.
Dead Link Checker
With this free online link checker, you can quickly test your site for broken links. Besides testing a single site or page, this tool allows you to check for broken links on multiple sites simultaneously. Additionally, there is an auto-check option that will run scheduled scans on selected sites and email you reports. Quite nice, isn’t it?
- Open Dead Link Checker
- Enter the URL
- Choose if you want to scan the entire site or a single page
- Click the Check button
If you want to use aforementioned multi-site scans and auto-checker, you will have to register a free account.
Websites Broken Link Checker
Another simple tool that will quickly scan your site and look for broken links.
- Open Websites Broken Link Checker
- Enter the URL and verify that you’re not a robot
- Click the Check button
After you start the test, you should wait for several seconds or minutes (depending on the number of links) after which Websites Broken Link Checker will show you a very simple report card. Here you’ll get to see which links are working fine, and which ones are broken.
Although the services we presented in this article can help you find broken links on your site, we believe that having a plugin is a much more convenient way of handling the issue. By installing the Broken Link Checker, you will have more options, and the great part is that the plugin will notify when a new link stop working correctly.
Still, we suggest that you bookmark this article or any of the tools so that you can quickly check for broken links even if you can’t get access to the plugin.
What are you experiences with broken links? How often do you check your site? What plugin or tool do you use?