Today I was working on a WordPress site with 100+ pages (and no posts). Part of my job was to make sure there are no broken links in the site. So I loaded up my good old trusted Broken Link Checker plugin. When it started to pop up the “broken links” I noticed that almost all of them came back with “Connection Failed” error, while the links were not even broken. I know that we have some server issues, which may prevent some automated processes finding the very same server the site is running on. I suspect this was the case here too. So I turned to an internal tool we developed and was running on a different server. That timed out, because WordPress sites have so much more links (to check), than custom, non-cms-based sites.
Finally I decided to use a dedicated tool. I have been working on PCs for the last 12 years, so I was quite familiar with the excellent Xenu’s Link Sleuth. Unfortunately it is a Windows only tool, or as the author put it, “No, I won’t make a Java, MacOS, Linux, Knoppix, Ubuntu, Beos, Palm, C64, SAP, AmigaOS, Blackberry, Symbian, iPhone or Android version. Don’t even ask!” However I quickly found a very similar tool for the Mac I was working in: Integrity. It did everything I wanted and seemed to be even faster then Xenu. Although the speed depends on the machines CPU and on the size of the project too. I am very happy with this finding.
Soon I found another issue with this site. When we moved it from the development server to the production server the switch of internal URLs wasn’t perfect. about 10-15% of them were changed from http://proof.domain.com to http://domain.com, instead of my preferred http://www.domain.com. I could have played with the .htaccess file to fix this, but for other reasons this was not an option. I also could have written a little SQL command, but instead we utilized a plugin called Search & Replace, which was designed for this kind of tasks.
Thank you for the pointers to the additional link checking tools. I’ve used the broken link checker WP plugin for a while now, but sometimes you need something more robust.