How to Find Broken Links

Modified on Tue, 16 Jul at 2:16 PM

  1. What are broken links and why they are harmful.
  2. How Netpeak Spider detects broken links.
  3. How to see a report on broken links in the program.
  4. How to see which pages have broken links.
  5. How to get rid of broken links.

1. What are broken links and why they are harmful

Broken links are links pointing to non-existent pages of files that return a 4xx or higher status code.

If a website contains lots of broken links, it may get a lower position in the SERP. So if you want to successfully promote your website, regularly check it for broken links. Netpeak Spider detects broken links as critical errors.

2. How Netpeak Spider detects broken links

Just like search robots, the crawler detects links on website pages, follows and analyzes them. The tool adds all unavailable pages or pages returning 4xx or higher status codes to the ‘Broken Pages‘ report. The target parameter of this issue is the ‘Status Code‘, which is included in all default templates. 

By default Netpeak Spider detects only internal broken links. To search for external broken links, you need to configure additional settings:

  1. Go to the ‘Settings → General‘.

  2. Tick the ‘Crawl external links‘ option in the ‘Basic crawling settings‘ section and press ‘OK‘.    

Then, enter the initial URL and press the ‘Start‘ button.

3. How to see a report on broken links in the program

When crawling is finished, you can see all the found broken pages if you click on the ‘Broken Pages‘ report. 

All the Found Broken Pages

To export the extended report on broken pages to your computer, go to ‘Export → Special Reports → Broken Pages‘.

Special Reports

4. How to see which pages have broken links

To see which pages link to non-existent pages or files, double click on the number in the ‘Incoming Links‘ column of the corresponding URL or click on the ‘Issue Report‘ button.

Issue Report

As a result, an additional report will be opened. It contains data on Source URLs, anchors, content inside the alt and rel attributes, and URL view in the source code.

Additional Report

However, remember that this report will not be available unless incoming links are counted. The program counts them automatically when crawling is stopped if the ‘Incoming links‘ parameter is enabled. If you did not enable this parameter before starting crawling, you can always start this process through the ‘Analysis‘ menu.

Count Incoming Links

5. How to get rid of broken links

Broken pages are often removed manually using the following ways:

  • In case the page is permanently moved to a new URL, set up a permanent redirect to a new URL and replace all internal links to an updated page address.
  • Check correctness of the link. Perhaps, it was mistyped.
  • If the link is correct and the page returns 200 status code in a browser but you see incorrect status code in the program. Then, it might have happened because the server was overloaded. Try to recrawl the result in the ‘Broken pages‘ report with a decreased number of threads. To do it, go to the ‘General‘ tab of program settings and set up 1 thread. Save the settings and use Ctrl+Shift+R when the report on broken pages is opened to recrawl the results. 
  • If the link refers to a non-existent page located on an external resource, delete it.

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