Good topic, Megan.


At CIDRAP, we spend a lot of attention and time on link checking and link fixing. Our main news site has 10,344 outbound links to various sources, not counting links that writers and editors have entered directly into our 4,800 articles. So we’re familiar with link rot. To keep it at bay, we rely on the following:


  • A scripted job that runs weekly using an open source Perl program named LinkLint;
  • Our in-house content management system, which checks links on pages that writers are deploying to the site;
  • A student worker (these apparently are available in large numbers at low cost);
  • Daily log checking scripts
  • An executive director with a knack for clicking on whatever broken links slipped past all of the above.


I’ve also looked at some of the services and have friends outside of the U that use them at their workplaces, but been turned off by the cost and difficulty streamlining the correction process.


All of those techniques we use have pluses and minuses. And all of them have a cost, though it might be time. LinkLint ( is fairly easy to set up if you’re comfy working in unix and it can do a pretty good job.  We’ve run into some problems with it stalling on particular types of links, though, so that’s one downside.


I do think that link checking would be a good central service for OIT to provide. It seems like a common problem that can reflect poorly on the University, so there would be a common good to commonly addressing it.  (Uncommon thinking, eh?)






Dave Bender

Web Systems Architect

CIDRAP; University of Minnesota


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From: UofMN Web Standards [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Megan Dushin
Sent: Friday, November 05, 2010 12:10 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [WEBSTANDARDS] Web link-checking service


We used to pay for a link-checking service to check all of our websites for broken links (inbound, external, internal, orphaned, the gamut) and then send weekly email reports to the specific webmaster. This enabled us to keep link-rot away (provided we paid any attention to the reports).

We stopped that service (expense outweighed benefit at the time), and the need is arising again.

What do you use to check for broken external links on your sites? I know we can check for internal/orphaned links in Dreamweaver, but I don't know of a free way to check all external links within a site, or of a reputable paid service.

Your thoughts welcome!


Megan Dushin, Web developer/coordinator
Institute on Community Integration | College of Education and Human Development
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