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Alden Bates' Weblog

Feigning normality since 1973

The Dead Link Problem

Filed in: Website Management.

Tonight I wrote a wee program* which scans the tetrap.com site mirror I have sitting on my hard drive, grabs all the external links, and checks said external links by doing a head request. Thusly I can locate and fix any dead links.

Dead links are a big problem on the web. Putting a link on my web page is a risk, because at some point in the future that link has a high probability of going "dead" (the page is gone), redirecting, or even redirected to a porn site. As a surfer, it's annoying to click on a link looking for some information, only to find the page has disappeared, so as a webmaster, I make it a practice of checking my links semi-regularly to make sure they all work and go where intended. Since tetrap.com is pretty large, I have to use a link-checking program...

Which caused me to ponder another question: Why do webmasters have to check their links independently? It seems to me that search engines have already done all the work. They've crawled my pages (so they know which URLs I'm linking to) and they've crawled the pages I'm linking to (because that's what search engines do) so it follows Google, Yahoo!, MSN, etc, already know which of my pages have dead links on them. Wouldn't it be nice if one of them provided some easy way for me to get this information so I don't have to go checking the links myself?

Given the high percentage of pages out there containing dead links, such a service would probably be well received...

* So if you got any funny hits on your web site from "tetrap.com link checka", that was my 1337 programming skillz.

Posted May 17, 2005 1:23 AM

Comments

tetrap.com link checka

So, you gonna market this fine program for other concerned webmasters to buy? :-)

Posted by: trinalin | May 17, 2005 1:46 PM

I'd have to clean it up quite a bit first, since at the mo it's hard coded to look at specific directories on my PC, but it's something I'll be looking at doing. Once I get it to a state where it's working properly, of course. :)

Posted by: Alden Bates | May 17, 2005 2:25 PM

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