How to Find and Fix Broken Links in WordPress

As time goes by, there’s an elevated danger of your web site’s outbound hyperlinks directing guests to pages that not exist. These outdated hyperlinks are often referred to as “Broken Links”, “Dead Links”, or “Link Rot”.

Broken links negatively affect your web site’s search engine marketing and harm the user-experience of tourists. Don’t be alarmed in case your web site has damaged hyperlinks as most websites do, nevertheless it’s in your curiosity to restore broken website links and both change the URL of the link or take away the hyperlink altogether.

Picture by Turgut Arslan from Pixabay

While it’s technically potential to manually verify pages in your web site for broken hyperlinks, it’s impractical to achieve this. Thankfully, there are a selection of instruments and providers that scan your website for damaged links and generate a report for you.

In this article I would really like to share with you the perfect options which might be obtainable to you.

What Are Broken Links & Why Are They Dangerous?

If in case you have a broken hyperlink in your website, a consumer will click on the link and be taken to a 404 page that states that the web page is just not out there.

This is obviously irritating to the individual reading your web site as they clicked on the link with an curiosity in viewing the web page you linked to. For instance, if an inner hyperlink is wrong, you will stop the stream of visitors by preventing users from visiting another web page in your website.

So how does this example arise?

Broken links can happen due to a mistake by the website owner. For example, when you mistyped the URL (e.g. as an alternative of, the damaged link can be brought on by you.

Human errors akin to this do occur from time to time, nevertheless most damaged hyperlinks are brought on by external web sites that you haven’t any control over.

An exterior link that was right on the time of publication can grow to be broken for quite a few reasons.

  • The permalink construction of the web site has changed
  • The page slug has been renamed e.g. web to web
  • The page has been deleted
  • The website has closed down
  • The website has changed area, however the web site proprietor didn’t set up URL redirects

It’s good apply to get right into a routine of often scanning for damaged links and correcting them, nevertheless most website house owners are responsible of not making it a priority.

I can relate to this as managing an lively web site is time-consuming and there’s all the time something else you could work on. Additionally, eradicating broken hyperlinks might be fairly boring due to the repeitive nature of checking and changing hyperlinks.

I might nevertheless implore you to take the time to repair damaged hyperlinks. Doing so will enhance the user-experience of web site visitors and improve your search engine ranking. Because of this, your natural search visitors ought to improve.

How to Verify for Broken Links

It is simply not practical to manually verify every web page of your web site recurrently for broken links. That is why website house owners use broken hyperlinks software program and providers.

Let’s take a better take a look at instruments and providers that permit you to scan your website for broken hyperlinks.

Google Search Console

Google Search Console, previously generally known as Google Webmaster Tools, used to display pages with 404 errors in the “Crawl Errors” web page. In 2018 the crawl errors page was changed by the “Index Coverage Report” and “URL Inspection Tool”.

Google have said that this new report system focuses more on issues that matter to Google.

“The old report showed every single error encountered over the past three months, including some stale, transient, or relatively unimportant errors. The new reports focus on the issues in the past month that matter to Google: you are only shown an issue if it threatens to remove your page from the index or prevent the page from being indexed.”

At first look the brand new coverage report does not seem as useful because the previous Crawl Errors report; nevertheless I nonetheless discovered it to be useful for correcting inner damaged links. It highlighted pages that I had previously set as sub-pages, previous weblog posts that folks have been utilizing an previous permalink structure, and publish classes that I have since modified.

You do nonetheless want to do lots of investigation yourself, however you need to use the index coverage report to right inner linking errors and scale back the number of visitors which might be despatched to 404 pages.

404 Page in Google Search Console

Ahrefs Website Audit

Ahrefs is a premium search engine optimisation answer that provides you an entire analysis of your web site.

Their website audit device helps you examine your web site for 119 pre-defined search engine optimization points and provides you suggestions on how to resolve them. This specific function is incredibly helpful because it highlights 404 pages, damaged redirects, and time-outs. You can even verify for broken backlinks by way of the Ahrefs Website Explorer device.

Ahrefs plans start from $99 per 30 days although you’ll be able to trial their software program for every week for less than $7.

aHrefs Site Audit

Screaming Frog search engine marketing Spider Device

One other common web optimization device is Screaming Frog search engine optimization Spider Device. Out there for Home windows, Mac, and Linux, the desktop software can report 404 errors and server errors.

The free model of the appliance limits crawling to 500 URLs. This ought to be adequate for small websites, but bigger web sites and blogs may have to improve to the paid version which is £149 per yr.

Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool

Xenu’s Link Sleuth

Xenu’s Hyperlink Sleuth is a free desktop software that helps you find damaged URLs for any web site. It’s a Window’s software, however it may be used on Mac and Linux computer systems although the assistance of different software program.

As compared to Ahrefs and Screaming Frog web optimization Spider Device, Xenu’s Link Sleuth is a no-frills affair and it has not been up to date since 2010 either.

Despite this, many individuals continue to use the appliance to examine damaged hyperlinks because it still works nice and is 100% free to obtain.

Xenu's Link Sleuth

Broken Hyperlink Verify

Broken Hyperlink Examine, also referred to as On-line Broken Link Checker, is a free online damaged hyperlink answer.

It generates a report of broken hyperlinks in your web site and exhibits the page the place every link is revealed. The exact server response can also be denoted.

I discovered the reviews from Broken Link Examine to be fairly correct as it highlighted many affiliate links on my website that need to be updated.

Broken Link Check

Lifeless Link Checker

An alternate to Broken Hyperlink Examine is Lifeless Hyperlink Checker. It works in the identical method by displaying the standing, the URL, and the supply page.

Lifeless Hyperlink Checker is free to use, nevertheless the web site additionally presents a subscription plan from $9.95 per thirty days that may scan your website day by day, weekly, or month-to-month. E-mail stories of the broken hyperlink results are sent after every scan.

Dead Link Checker

Verify My Links

Examine My Links is a free browser extension for Chrome that crawls via an internet page looking for broken hyperlinks.

Since this extension only scans the web page you’re on, it is best to think about this extension as a further broken hyperlinks device that enhances your principal damaged links answer.

It may be useful for detecting broken hyperlinks in your website design and navigation and for checking hyperlinks in long articles. For example, once I scanned one of the useful resource pages on my weblog it highlighted that two web site hyperlinks have been broken.

Check My Links

How to Use WordPress to Verify for Broken Links

There are a number of useful WordPress plugins out there that may make it easier to detect broken hyperlinks. All of that are free to use.

Please remember, nevertheless, that these plugins can put a whole lot of strain on your web site server so if you find yourself scanning for broken links you could discover it troublesome to carry out different tasks in the WordPress admin area. In case you have a primary hosting plan, chances are you’ll slow down the front-end of your website too.

Thankfully, the plugins do have some settings to provide help to scale back the strain in your server so I might nonetheless encourage you to check these broken link options. Just make sure to monitor the efficiency of your website when a broken link plugin is scanning.

* Word: WP Broken Link Standing Checker was additionally tested for this text, however it did not full the scan or present any broken hyperlinks.

Broken Link Checker

Broken Link Checker is a well-liked damaged links WordPress plugin that’s lively on over 700,000 web sites. It’s a highly-configurable answer that allows you to apply customized formatting hyperlinks to broken links and choose which submit varieties and link varieties are scanned.

With a plugin comparable to this, I like to activate the plugin, scan for broken links, right every link, and then deactivate the plugin. Doing this ensures my website efficiency isn’t affected, nevertheless if the plugin stays activated you’ll be able to commonly scan your website for broken links. You possibly can define how many hours should cross before one other scan is performed and be emailed about new broken hyperlinks.

Moreover, in the settings area you assist handle efficiency issues by defining the server load limit and the share of your assets you need to allocate to the plugin.

Broken Link Checker

Link Checker

An alternate to Broken Hyperlink Checker is the equally named Hyperlink Checker.

It has some helpful options resembling a dedicated stats tab and an edit hyperlink that takes you immediately to the edit page for the web page the place the link is damaged. I did nevertheless find it a bit of irritating that navigation links on the results page usually are not paginated. You subsequently need to skip via outcomes using “Previous” and “Next” hyperlinks.

The free model of the plugin is restricted to 500 URLs. You possibly can improve this limit to 25,000 for 45 euros by upgrading to Link Checker Professional. Upgrading also unlocks choices to examine damaged pictures and videos together with scheduling performance.

Hyperlink Checker has some useful options, nevertheless if in case you have greater than 500 pages in your website I might advocate making an attempt out Broken Link Checker first.

Link Checker

404 Answer

I have found 404 Answer to be so helpful that I now have it activated on my personal weblog. It doesn’t scan your web site for broken links. As an alternative, what it does is mechanically redirect visitors who landed on 404 pages to the web page they need to have arrived on.

This has helped me in a lot of methods. Firstly, it’s serving to me improve visitors as users are directed to the right page as an alternative of a 404 error page. Secondly, 404 Answer has created a log of the 404 pages which are receiving visitors. This has helped me see posts and pages that I’ve linked to incorrectly due to changing permalinks, changing dad or mum pages, and altering category names.

In other words, 404 Answer addresses the primary issues related to incorrect inner hyperlinks. It redirects visitors to the right web page in order that you do not lose visitors and it additionally explains which URL issues want to be resolved. This helps you right the interior linking points you have got and scale back the number of redirects which are essential.

404 Solution

What to Do with Broken Links

Up to now we now have targeted on finding damaged hyperlinks, however what do you have to do once you discover them?

The reply is that it depends.

One of the causes that correcting broken links is so time-consuming is that you simply want to examine every hyperlink individually and then determine on the most effective course of action.

aThemes 404The 404 error message that is displayed to visitors once they visit an incorrect URL on aThemes.

Change the URL Handle

If a link has turn into broken because the website owner changed the URL tackle, you’ll be able to resolve the difficulty by discovering the brand new web page URL and changing it in your article.

This, nevertheless, is just not all the time potential. Typically a web page will get removed from the web altogether. A standard purpose for that is that the website is not lively. Depending on the relevance of the link, you might have the ability to substitute the link.

Contemplate a blog publish that references many reviews.

If one among these stories was now producing a 404 web page, you could find a way to discover one other source to cite in your article as an alternative.

Take away the Link

Hyperlink alternative is just not all the time potential and the perfect, and typically easiest thing to do, is to simply take away the hyperlink.

For instance, should you referenced an internet site by identify and it not exists, you will in all probability have to delete the hyperlink and rewrite that section.

If the link had been added to anchor text like this, you’ll be able to maintain the text intact however remove the hyperlink. That is one thing which Broken Link Checker helps you do with its unlink choice. It’s, nevertheless, nonetheless good apply to look at each hyperlink intently as a link alternative or change of handle might resolve the difficulty.

Permalink Modifications

Over time, most WordPress blogs will generate inner damaged hyperlinks due to altering their permalink structure or altering publish and page slugs e.g. web to web

In this state of affairs, your aim is to scale back 404 errors by redirecting guests to the right URLs.

You can do this through the use of 301 redirects. This informs serps that the URL has completely modified.

Personally, if I made a big change to my permalink structure, I might arrange a 301 redirect using .htaccess; nevertheless, when you should not have much expertise with .htaccess, you should use WordPress plugins akin to Easy 301 Redirects and 301 Redirects to accomplish the same factor. 404 Answer may also be used for this because it has an choice to add guide 301 redirections.

Fixing Inner Hyperlink Errors

Over the previous few years I have changed the URL construction of the pages on my weblog. This has resulted in some pages being placed as a dad or mum of pages and others having their dad or mum web page removed.

404 answer highlighted the truth that lots of my posts and pages have been nonetheless linking to the previous URL of pages. For example, once I moved my webhosting information from /guides/web-hosting/ to /web-hosting/, some articles nonetheless referenced the previous URL.

Since all of those broken hyperlinks have been alone weblog, I used to be in a position to resolve this shortly using the discover and exchange WordPress plugin Higher Search Substitute. You will discover this plugin helpful when correcting inner linking issues; nevertheless make sure to make a backup before you carry out a find and substitute as one incorrect character is enough to crash your website.

Better Search Replace

Affiliate Links

Affiliate hyperlinks are of the most typical sources of broken links. Whenever you scan your web site for damaged links, the report will undoubtedly spotlight any affiliate hyperlinks which might be not valid. It is likely one of the most irritating elements of online marketing.

Affiliate hyperlinks could be broken for various causes:

  • The company is not operating
  • The corporate has closed your account due to inactivity
  • The affiliate program is not stay
  • The affiliate monitoring system has been changed i.e. totally different tracking URLs for affiliates

If an organization has ceased operations, you must unlink all hyperlinks to them so you are not sending individuals to a lifeless web site. You might also need to delete any content that reference them.

If an organization has changed their affiliate monitoring system, you will have to log into your account and discover the brand new tracking URL and then update your links accordingly.

You’ll have a choice to make when a company closes their associates program or closes your affiliate account. Do you want to exchange the affiliate URL by linking to pages instantly or would you like to take away all references to them?

There isn’t any arduous and fast rule for this example. You need to make a judgement name each time.

Every Broken Link is Distinctive

It can be tempting to resolve damaged links shortly and either delete them or unlink them. While this does save time, this can be detrimental to the standard of your content material and frustrate readers due to things being out of context.

Reviewing each link individually is time-consuming, nevertheless it is the greatest plan of action from an search engine optimization perspective as every hyperlink is exclusive.

Ultimate Thoughts

Broken hyperlinks usually are not one thing that any web site owner can avoid. Over time a proportion of your outbound links will develop into damaged as a result of the pages you linked to not exist.

It is good apply to hyperlink to unique sources moderately than web sites that reference them. Likewise, you should not link instantly to zip information and PDF information as the situation of those are steadily modified. Even when you comply with good linking practices, you haven’t any management over what other website house owners do with their pages. This is the reason correcting broken links must be thought-about a daily website upkeep process.

What you do have is full control over the links on your own web site.

In the event you change your web site’s permalink construction or change the URL of any web page on your web site, you need to ensure visitors are nonetheless directed to the right pages. You are able to do this using 301 redirects and by changing inner page links with the right URL. 404 Answer might help significantly with this entire course of.

I hope you have got found this tutorial on fixing damaged hyperlinks useful. In that case, I encourage you to comply with aThemes on Fb and Twitter.

Good luck.


Kevin Muldoon

Kevin Muldoon is knowledgeable blogger with a love of travel. He writes frequently about web advertising on his personal blog and on the internet advertising discussion discussion board Rise Boards.