April 2022 Update: I have removed old websites which were not working & added all new working sites to check broken links. Enjoy!
Broken links are dead-links that are not good for search engines and also for your readers. Today, I will be sharing some free 404 link checker tools which will help you to detect 404 and dead links on your blog.
Personally, I prefer Xenu link sleuth for my sites. <Link>.
Though, I’m sure many of us here are wondering why we need to use these dead link checker websites. I will explain this after a break.
Why we should regularly check and fix 404 links :
Broken links are those links that give a 404 status code. Usually, when a webmaster decides to change the permalink and also removes the page it gives a 404 status code. Such links are called broken links and they are not useful for search engines and also for readers. Too many broken links are not treated as a sign of a quality site, so we should make sure to fix such links and point them to the right URL.
These free online link checker tools will check your sites for any broken links. This means, it could be the internal broken link or could be external broken links.
Especially, if you have a huge blog, your old posts may have too many dead links, by adding working and updated URL’s, you will be making them worth a read.
Search engines bots hate broken links, which can result in low ranks in search engines and less traffic to your blog. From a search engine perspective, Broken links are treated as the dead end.
For WordPress bloggers, we have the Broken link checker WordPress plugin, which is very useful and effective. Though, for static sites and for BlogSpot, we don’t have any such plugin, so we will look into some online solutions.
If visitors are landing on broken links of your blogs, there are chances that they won’t return back to your site.
No one has time to waste time on broken links. You can find out broken links with lots of free site checker tools available online. Once you detected broken links of your blog, you can manage those broken links with the redirection plugin.
Useful Broken link checker Websites:
This is one tool that we use here at ShoutMeLoud. Semrush is a complete suite for finding broken links on your website (Internal + External). It shows the broken links with HTTP code & when the broken link was discovered. Read Semrush Review.
You can use a special link to get 14 days free trial of their pro account that is worth $199. This promo is exclusively for ShoutMeLoud readers.
2. W3C Link Checker
W3C Link Checker is provides you options while checking broken links of your blog such as show only summary, hide redirects, checking linked documents , sending referrer header etc. In results, it provides the status of the link and lists the issues occurred while checking broken links.
3. Ahrefs Broken link checking
Ahrefs is a popular SEO tool-kit just like Semrush. What you will really like about them is the interface and the simplicity of usage.
If you need to export broken link data to share it with your developer or someone from team, you can do that with the export features. Read Ahrefs review.
4. Broken link checker for WordPress
If you are running WordPress based website, then you are in luck today. Broken link checker is a free WordPress plugin that scans your complete WordPress site for links and checks the status of it.
From a single dashboard, you could check all the links which are broken, redirected or if there is some other error.
This is one of the best free thing available for bloggers like you and you can read ShoutMeLoud earlier guide on Broken link checker plugin to understand it’s usage.
5. Check my links Chrome addon
I saved the best for the last as this chrome extension is way different than all the websites that I have listed above. Using Check my links chrome addon, you can quickly scan mass links on a webpage to find out which links are broken or not working. I often this chrome extension for finding link building opportunity.
If your requirement is to find broken links on a single webpage, this addon is going to be your guide.
Desktop Tools to Check Broken links For Huge Websites
Integrity is a free Mac desktop app and is available via the app store. (Download Link) What is great about this app is, it’s free, and you can use it for large websites. Before I share the guide on how to use Integrity, let’s look at some of the features of integrity:
- Works perfectly with huge websites, without slowing it down.
- Also, check for broken images
- Check for internal and external links
- Setting panel to control the crawling, and other things like the number of threads.
- Export reports in .pdf format
To get started, download the Integrity Mac app from developer website over here, and install it. Once you have downloaded and installed the app, simply open it, add your domain URL, and make the settings as shown in figure.
Make sure you select the option which says “ignore query strings” to avoid crawling of URL parameters link (Ex: replytocom links). If you want to ignore crawling and checking of particular directory of your website, you can use blacklist and whitelist rules. You can get complete details of settings and options, over here. Now, click on Go, and integrity will start checking your website for any broken links.
Depending upon the size of your Website, this tool might take hours to complete the report. You have various options to sort the results, or you can only check bad links, by selecting the option on report page. I prefer to sort results by clicking on the “by page” option at the top, as this will quickly help me to get rid of broken links on a particular page.
This is certainly one of the best free SEO tool to find broken links of a large website. The only limitation is, that this is a Mac-only app.
Here are few more websites and tools that will help you run a scan on a complete website and find all broken links.
- Screaming frog
- Xenu’s Link Sleauth
Broken links gives an unprofessional image to visitors about you and your blog. If you are ignoring your blog’s broken link then I would suggest keeping a check on broken links of your blogs with the above-mentioned tools. It doesn’t take much time and is very easy to check.
Do you think that detecting broken links is a vital part of SEO? If yes, then what you do to check broken links of your blog?
Wondering what to read next? Here I have hand-picked few articles for you:
- How to Find Low-Quality Content & Create A Better Site
- 12 Best WordPress Plugins For Blogs & Business Websites in 2020
- Best Blogging Apps For Mac Users: 2020 Edition