How To Find and Fix Broken Links on Your Website

Broken links are one of the most common issues websites face yet often get ignored by site owners. A broken link occurs when a URL on your site returns an error code instead of directing to the right web page.

This frustrates visitors when content they expect to see is unavailable. It also signals issues to search engines – Pages with lots of dead links risk getting lower rankings or even being removed from search results.

That‘s why finding and fixing broken links needs to be a priority. In this comprehensive guide I‘ll explain:

  • Why broken links damage your site‘s SEO and usability
  • Top 12 tools to identify broken links
  • Step-by-step instructions to use broken link checkers
  • Tips to prioritize which links to fix first
  • Best practices to prevent new broken links from emerging

Let‘s get started!

Why Finding Broken Links Matters

Broken links are usually the result of deleted or moved web pages. For example, you may have an old blog post that received incoming links. If you take that page down later without redirecting links, it will start showing 404 errors.

Some key reasons you should care about eliminating broken links:

Hurts User Experience – Visitors clicking on dead links either see error messages or land on irrelevant pages. This gives a poor impression forcing them to leave your site.

Damages SEO – Search engines assume pages with multiple broken outbound links have quality issues. Too many 404 errors could lead to reduced rankings or even removal from index.

Loses Referral Traffic – External sites linking to your broken pages receive error messages instead of sending visits. Fixing dead links can help restore lost traffic.

Hampers Internal Navigation – Internal broken links make it harder for visitors to navigate your site. This further lowers conversions and time on site.

Regularly checking for dead links using broken link checker tools should be part of your website maintenance. The sooner you fix errors, the less risk of issues compounding.

12 Powerful Tools to Find Broken Links

Manually going through every link on your site to check if it‘s broken would be extremely tedious. That‘s why using automated software tools is vital.

There are many great broken link checkers available. Here are 12 top recommendations:


I‘ve categorized them into software programs, browser extensions and online checkers for easier reference. Let‘s explore key details of each one.

Software Tools

💡**Key Benefits:** Very extensive and accurate broken link scanning capabilities for large sites. Can also check multiple sites together.

1. Screaming Frog SEO Spider

Screaming Frog is one of the most popular SEO crawlers with advanced broken link checking functionality.

Key Features

  • Spider entire websites or just portions
  • Filter links by HTTP status codes like 404
  • See source page with dead links
  • Tag links for easy identification
  • Extract broken URLs into a spreadsheet
  • Support for JavaScript rendering


It offers a free version but limits how many pages you can crawl per site. Paid plans start at $149 per year allowing unlimited checks.

👉 Download Screaming Frog SEO Spider

2. Xenu Link Sleuth

Xenu is a veteran link analysis tool that remains popular for broken link detection.

Key Features:

  • Multithreaded high speed crawler
  • Website map generator
  • Detects any HTTP error codes
  • Support for proxies
  • Handle dynamic URLs well

It has a dated interface but very efficient at finding dead links. You get a free trial otherwise it‘s around $40 for a license.

👉 Get Xenu Link Sleuth

3. Integrity by Link-Assistant

Integrity is the broken link checker tool from Link-Assistant which is highly rated.

Key Features

  • Prioritize fixing high value broken links first
  • Automatically rewrites broken URLs with correct ones
  • Schedule continuous scans
  • Compare reports over time
  • Support for wildcards and filters

Pricing starts at around $99 per year for the basic subscription. But they offer a 7-day free trial to test.

👉 Start Free Integrity Trial

Browser Extensions

💡**Key Benefits:** Easily check links on pages you visit manually without needing to crawl entire site. Integrates into browsers you already use daily.

4. Check My Links

Check My Links is the most popular browser extension for finding 404 errors with over 200,000 users.

Key Features

  • Right click any link to see if working or dead
  • Scan entire web page for broken links
  • Auto-check links on pages you visit
  • Customizable crawler options

The browser extension is free. Paid plans start at $9.99 per month for additional capabilities like exporting full reports and bulk analysis.

👉 Get Check My Links

5. Dr. Link Check

Dr. Link Check has extensions available for Chrome, Firefox, Safari and even Bookmarklets.

Key Features

  • One click link analyzer
  • Sort good links vs bad links
  • Support for wildcards
  • Retest previously broken URLs
  • Internal, external and image links covered

A free account lets you check up to 10 links per day. Their unlimited plan is €4.99 per month billed annually.

👉 Install Dr. Link Check

Online Tools

💡**Key Benefits:** No software downloads needed. Useful for quickly spot checking a page or site. Often free or cheap to use.

6. Dead Link Checker

As the name suggests, Dead Link Checker specializes in finding broken link pages.

Key Features

  • Checks entire site or individual URLs
  • Crawls up to 10,000 links
  • Scheduled scans
  • Sort and filter links
  • Export results as CSV

It offers one of the most affordable plans starting at $6 per month when billed annually.

👉 Use Dead Link Checker

7. LinkMiner

LinkMiner is a respected brand when it comes to broken link analysis and reporting.

Key Features

  • Powerful filters and bulk editing tools
  • Retest previously failed links
  • Support for wildcards and regex
  • Real-time failed link notifications
  • Custom branded reports

They offer a free plan with limited checks. Paid packages begin from $29 per month.

👉 Start Using LinkMiner

8. Link Diagnosis

Link Diagnosis has been around since 2009 serving over 270,000 customers.

Key Features

  • Crawls entire site structure
  • Scan individual URLs
  • Scheduling with email notifications
  • API access
  • PDF and CSV reporting

A free account provides limited checks while paid plans start from $9 per month.

👉 Sign up on Link Diagnosis

Step-by-Step Guide to Find Broken Links with Dead Link Checker

While I‘ve provided an overview of various broken link finder tools, I wanted to go through a quick practical walkthrough showing you how to use one them in depth.

For this tutorial, we‘ll use Dead Link Checker which offers a nice balance of features and affordability.

Step 1 – Add Website URL

Go to and enter the URL of your website in the box provided. You can insert homepage URL or any internal page.


Optionally, you may also want to specify the following:

  • Crawl Depth – How many click levels to spider (default 4)
  • Max Pages – Total pages limit (default 10,000)
  • Max Links – Total links limit (default 1,000,000)
  • Timeout – Seconds per page (default 10)

These allow customizing the scope and speed of the scan.

Step 2 – Crawl Your Site

Once you insert the URL and optional settings, hit the Crawl Site Now button.

This will initiate the automated broken link scanning process. You‘ll see a progress bar indicating sites and pages checked so far.

Depending on site size, this may take a few minutes to even over an hour for large ecommerce sites.

Step 3 – Review Broken Links Report

When the crawling finishes, you are presented with a report on dead link checker findings.

It shares details like:

  • Total links scanned
  • Broken links
  • Valid links
  • Warnings
  • Plus top pages with most dead links

You can click on numbers within the report to view URLs under each status.


Alternatively, use the menu to access:

  • Pages not found report
  • Pages with error report
  • External links report

This lets you segment dead links for easier inspection.

Step 4 – Recheck Previously Broken Links

A useful feature in Dead Link Checker is the ability to retest failed links from previous scans.

Go to Site History and you‘ll find past scans you performed along with number of bad links recorded at that time.

Click the Recheck Now button on any previous scan results to start a fresh crawl focusing solely on those broken URLs.

This allows validating if updated web pages resolved earlier issues. It‘s handy for measuring progress after you‘ve fixed broken links discovered initially.


Using this approach you can eliminate dead links from your site over time through periodic scanning.

Prioritizing High Value Broken Links to Fix

For larger sites, it‘s common to find hundreds or even thousands of broken URLs. Fixing each one at once may not be feasible.

That‘s why you need to prioritize links to focus on first. Here are helpful ways to determine importance:

1. Most Popular Pages – Links on high traffic pages impact more visitors. Crawl stats in reports identify top entry pages to your site.

2. Source of Referrals – External sites sending visitors to broken pages hamper conversions. Check analytics for top referrers and pages driving clicks.

3. Recent Links – Newer links likely reflect current content direction so resolving errors should be higher priority.

4. Links in Navigation – Dead links in menus, sidebars or footers hurt ability to navigate your site.

Using these factors you can create a top 10 list of broken links that would make maximum positive difference once fixed.

Best Practices to Prevent New Broken Links

Finding and fixing broken links is an ongoing activity. To reduce future link rot, implement these steps:

Set up Redirects – When deleting or moving pages, use 301 redirects so search engines and visitors land on an appropriate alternative page instead of 404 errors.

Maintain Sitemaps – Having XML sitemaps declaring all valid URLs on your site helps search bots discover relocated pages.

Review External Links – Don‘t link out without verifying site is active. Also register accounts linking to you so they inform if pages get removed in future.

Enable Alerts – Use tools supporting alerts when new broken links appear so you can address promptly before multiplying.

Create Archival Plans – Document procedures to archive old content you want to remove instead of abruptly deleting. Storing content offline retains ability to redirect historical URLs if needed.

Advanced Technique – Broken Link Building

So far I‘ve focused on fixing broken links hurting your site. But dead link pages on other websites present an opportunity to acquire backlinks.

This technique known as Broken link building involves 3 key steps:

1. Find Resources Listing Dead Links – Use analysis tools to discover pages on other sites linking to broken or outdated pages.

2. Create Relevant Content – Publish content on your site that would be a logical updated substitute for their dead pages.

3. Outreach to Site Owners – Contact webmasters asking to replace broken URLs with links to your content instead. Provide value by improving their sites.

Because you alert site owners about issues and offer working solutions, many are happy to update links giving you attribute backlinks. The higher domain authority of sites you fix links on, the more SEO value gained.

Executed strategically, broken link building allows transforming errors into new organic traffic and ranking opportunities. But always ensure the content you recommend fits contextually.

Let‘s Recap Key Takeaways

We‘ve covered a ton of ground around finding and handling broken links. Let‘s summarize main tips:

✔️ Use automated broken link checker tools instead of manually identifying errors

✔️ Prioritize fixes by link popularity and traffic impact

✔️ Implement redirects and sitemaps to minimize future broken links

✔️ Monitor previously broken URLs to validate fixes

✔️ Turn dead external links into backlink wins via outreach

I hope this guide gives you clarity and confidence to address broken links harming your site‘s performance. Treat it as an ongoing site maintenance process.

Fixing errors quickly minimizes the downsides enabling you to focus on content growth that lifts organic search visibility over the long term.

Have you used any broken link checkers recently? Feel free to share your experiences or ask me any questions in the comments section below!