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I use quite a few affiliate links on WPLift (I use the Free Simple Link Cloaker plugin to manage them) but I wanted a way to check if any of them were dead, as this would mean losing out on potential income. The very nice solution I found to this problem was the free, Broken Link Checker plugin. In this guide, I will show you how to install and configure this plugin so you can anylize your blog for dead links.

Install the plugin

Download the Broken Link Checker plugin, then upload it to your wp-content/plugins folder via ftp. You can download a free ftp client called Filezilla for this purpose.

You can also upload the plugin directly, via your wordpress admin panel by clicking Plugins > Add New > Upload > Install Now.

You will also need to enter your ftp settings there as well, your webhost will have provided these when you signed up.

Once the plugin is uploaded, visit your plugins page and click “activate” next to the plugin.You will now see a new menu item called “Link Checker” under the “Settings” tab. Leave the plugin for 5 minutes or so, when you first activate it, it starts anylizing your posts and comments looking for any broken links.

Configuring the Plugin

After the plugin has run for a while, click the “Link Checker” tab to setup some options. Wait untill it says “No URLs in the work queue.” at the top, this means it has finished. The first tab is “General” here are the settings I use :

  • Check Each Link: I changed this to Every 168 Hours, this is once per week which is fine I think.
  • Email Notifications: This emails if you if broken links are found, I turned this off – I get enough email as it is!
  • Link Tweaks: These options are if you want broken links to be styled differently, I turned these off .

Look for Links in

The next tab along is “Look for Links in” you can leave these settings as the defaults, Check for broken links in: Blogroll items, Comments, Pages, Posts. I dont use any custom fields so I left the custom fields unticked – you may want to enable this if your theme uses custom fields which contain URLs. The next part is for Post Statuses, I dont generally line up posts for the future – I post them right away, so I left this section as the default which is just “Published” posts.

Which Links to Check

The next tab along is “Which Links to Check” and allows you to specify whether the plugin should check:  HTML links, HTML Images, Plain Text URLS, Vimeo Videos, DailyMotion Videos, Youtube Videos and has a section for exclusions (Don’t check links where the URL contains any of these words). Tick the ones appropriate to your site, I just ticked HTML and HTML images as I dont embed any videos.

Protocols and APIS

In this tab you can choose to check links using basic HTML or various APIs from MediaFire, MegaUpload etc – I left as basic HTML but if you use any of the sites listed then you may want to use their API.

Advanced

The final tab is the “Advanced” settings where you can set various timeout settings, server load limit and you can also recheck your whole site.

Fixing the Broken Links

Now that you have setup your options, if the plugin has found any broken links its time to fix them. Under the “Tools” menu, is a new link “Broken Links”, if you have any broken ones it will have a number next to it.

Your broken links will be listed, along with the problem next to it. You can go through and either edit the links where you have made a mistake, you can choose to unlink it or you can mark it as “not broken” – this might happen if a site was temporarily down when the plugin ran.

There you have it, a really handy plugin for maintaining your blogs link structure.


Author:

Oliver Dale is the founder of Kooc Media, a small internet company based in the UK. Kooc Media runs several high-profile websites including WPLift, ThemeFurnace and DesignersTalk.

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