Finding broken links on your website


Years ago I stumbled upon a great piece of software: Xenu\'s Link Sleuth written by Tilman Hausherr. It is one of those rare programs that only attempts to do one thing and does it very well. You give it a website; it looks for broken links... that's it.

There's little more to say about the software itself (and that's a good thing), but the way this software has been developed and maintained is quite impressive. First, the software is free. That's really nice, and lots of developers give their work away. Second, the developer doesn't accept donations to continue the work. Tilman's website requests that you donate to a charity, send him a t-shirt or mention the work in your blog. I suppose lots of other developers do this as well - most contributors to large open-source projects don't get any monetary benefit from their work. What's most impressive, however, is that the software has been updated by the same developer for almost 15 years. Side projects like this come and go. I couldn't begin to count the number of cool, useful, free programs I've used over the years that either turn into paid tools or fall into a state of disrepair because the developer gets tired.

So if you're looking for a quick and easy way to test a website for broken links, look no further. This is one of the many things you should check when gearing up for SEO (or when launching a site, or when modifying a site, or when you're just trying to be nice to your site visitors... etc). And a tip of the hat to Tilman Hausherr for the excellent work!

Get Xenu's Link Sleuth - Note: The website looks like it's from 1997 (because it probably is), and there's an alien at the top. Don't be alarmed.

Jeff Robertson

Jeff Robertson is a digital marketer and an online development expert with experience stretching back to dial-up. He is partner and Chief Technology Officer at Carbon8, where he helps bridge the gap between the technical and marketing worlds, as well as oversees technical infrastructure.

share this