Broken Links – Checking For

One of the most common maintenance tasks for a site is checking for and fixing broken links.

The more you link to content outside your site, the higher your chances the links will break over time.

The Plugin

The Broken Link Checker plugin can:

  • automatically scan for broken links
  • mark the broken links as strike-through text on the front end (the view the visitors see)
  • generate a list of broken links on the WordPress Dashboard, along with the pages/posts that contain the links
  • email the site administrator and other specified users a list of the broken links
  • run on a timer set in hours

To check if your site is running on your site, login to your site and look for a block on the Dashboard labeled Broken Link Checker.

Note: if you don’t see the block, contact CALS Web Services to enable it.

Notification Email

Note: you must be a site administrator to complete this step.

It is important to verify which email(s) receive the broken link notifications.  By default, the emails go to whomever created the site, which may not be the person you want receiving the broken link emails.

To check and update the email that the Broken Link Checker uses,  from the WordPress Dashboard Menu, choose Settings..Link Checker. The Broken Link Checker options page appears.

Update the Check each link interval as desired. Keep in mind that setting a short interval on a site with a lot of content can slow the site down.

Review and update the Notification e-mail address as desired.

Tip: you can turn off the strikethrough of broken links by unchecking Link tweaks – Apply custom formatting to broken links.

Reviewing and Fixing Broken Links

Once the scan has finished, you can login and access the results from the WordPress Admin Dashboard.

Locate the Broken Link Checker block, and click the text “Found X broken links” where X is the number of broken links found.

The Broken Links Summary Page appears.

The screen contains four columns:  URL (broken link destination path), Status (type of error), Link Text, Source (page or post containing the broken link).

Tip: most of the links you want to fix will have a Status of 404 Not Found.

For the broken link you want to review:

  • note the URL and the Link Text you will search for
  • right-click the page or post name in the Source column, and choose Open link in a new tab from the popup menu.

Note: this can be tedious on a Publications page, which could be full of links.

Review and repair the link and click Update.

The repaired links should drop off the list the next time the scan runs.