I found a broken link on another website I maintain. I quickly surveyed the available solutions and chose to try the Python based LinkChecker instead of the other perl or ruby based solutions. I wanted something I could use from a command line, run locally and possibly script. WordPress has it’s own plugin for this called Broken Link Checker which I enjoy using on a couple of other websites I maintain.
linkchecker under my local user I found that the invocation is pretty straight forward. Output options are numerous. By default it checks internal site links. I then found the
--check-extern option which is what I was looking for to check all the external links. By default ten threads are used at a time. While this option is good I haven’t had time to try out all the other options available.
The first link checker people often hear about is a perl script available via CPAN and hosted as validator.w3.org/checklink. Another perl option is linklint.org. The Python based twill scripting language for web browsing looked intriguing. The Ruby gem link-checker was published a few years ago and caught my attention but I have more experience with Python than Ruby. I am sure readers of this blog post would love to hear about the good and bad experiences of others using these and similar tools to keep the links on their websites from pointing to bad URLs.
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