Overview on How to Use the W3C Link Checker

I thought I would write up how I’m checking broken or redirected links on my website. Or more importantly, on my list of places to eat at Gotta Eat Here.

For many years I have been using the W3C Link Checker to check one page/URL at a time for Gotta Eat Here or many on my website or slides.

The tool has a few options that you can play around with, but I leave them as the default. You can even check a box to save the options as a cookie, which I assume stores your choices if you decide to use them.

The one option I use would be the “Check linked documents recursively, recursion depth:”. That has an INPUT field of how many levels you want to go down in your website.

After entering a URL in the URL field, you can decide if you want to check more than one page or not. To do so, then check the “Check linked documents recursively, recursion depth:” field. NOTE – You can only check pages that are not behind a firewall.

I can’t remember exactly, but it used to let you check 200 or 250 pages at once time. This is great if you want to submit it and let it wander through your website looking for broken links.

I use that feature when I’m checking my entire website. You can also submit your website in chunks using the folder structure you have set up and start with them.

I haven’t paid attention if doing so will jump out of that folder. or not if links go to other places in your website. Here’s hoping there’s an option for that in the list of checkboxes.

How it works is the W3C Link Checker goes through all the links on a page. The tool will tell you if the link is broken or redirected, not allowed to be checked by tools like it, etc. An example would be Google maps does not let you check or Twitter, etc.

For the redirected links, it’s great to point out issues on your website. For example, that a Twitter link might still have the URL as HTTP instead of HTTPS.

I have found that most redirect issues are either the website is now using HTTPS, or they changed platforms. Meaning they switched to PHP from HTML or something like that. Or maybe the website in the case Gotta Eat Here the restaurants got better URLs. That is either shorter and easier to remember or got they got the .COM of what they used to have.

The W3C Link Checker gives you a summary of how long it took to check all the links on a given page or set of pages. The report lists the page(s) it’s processed and what it found. Then at the end, it has a total time to process is doing more than one page.

Using the W3C Link Checker is excellent for the Gotta Eat Here website. It allows me to check my list of restaurants, be that by city or state. The tool gives me an idea that the place might have closed during the pandemic if the URL is broken.

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