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How to Find and Fix Broken Links in WordPress (Step by Step)

Everyone agrees that broken links are bad for user experience. But did you know that broken links can significantly hurt your WordPress SEO rankings?

Yes, it’s proven that having broken internal links on your website negatively impacts SEO rankings.

In this article, we will show you how to easily find and fix broken links in WordPress so that you can improve your user experience and SEO rankings.

Finding and fixing broken links in WordPress

What is a Broken Link?

A broken link, also known as a dead link, is a link that no longer works.

Broken links can happen for many reasons, but the most common reason is when a page is either deleted or moved to a different location which causes the server to show a 404 not found error.

On WordPress sites, broken links typically occur when moving a site to a new domain name, or when deleting a post or page without proper redirection.

Sometimes broken links can also happen due to a typo, and they can go unnoticed for months if not years.

This is why it’s extremely important to regularly monitor broken links on your site and fix them, so you can keep them from hurting your SEO rankings.

In this guide, we will share the top five methods to find broken links in WordPress. After that, we will show you an easy way to fix those broken links.

Here’s a table of content for easy navigation:

Ready? Let’s get started.

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If you’d prefer written instructions, just keep reading.

SEMRush is one of the best SEO tool on the market. It allows you to easily monitor your website’s SEO rankings and overall health.

It also includes a powerful site audit tool that crawls your website to find common errors and prepare a detailed report for you.

First, you’ll need to sign up for a SEMRush account.

It is a paid service, but they offer a limited free account that allows you to crawl up to 100 pages on one domain name. Paid plan limits start from 100,000 pages a month.

Once you are logged in, you need to click on the ‘Site Audit’ link from the left menu.

This will bring you to the Site Audit page. From here, click on the ‘New Site Audit’ button at the top to add your website.

Adding a new site audit in SEMRush

You will be asked to enter your domain name. After that, you will be asked to configure site audit settings. You can select the number of pages to crawl and choose a crawl source.

Site Audit settings

Click on the start crawling button to continue.

SEMRush will now begin crawling your website for the site audit. This may take a few minutes depending on how many pages you selected for the crawl.

Once finished, you can click on your domain Under the Site Audit section to view your report.

SEMRush broken links

To see the broken links on your site, you will need to click on the ‘Broken’ link under the report overview.

Broken links report in SEMRush

You can now click on the Export button at the top right corner of the screen to download your crawl report. You will need it when fixing broken links on your website (more on this later in the article).

Ahrefs is an excellent all-in-one SEO tool for marketers, businesses, and SEO professionals. It offers detailed SEO insights into your own website or any of your competitors.

You can use it for keyword research, competition analysis, organic and paid keyword ideas, and site health monitoring including broken links.

First, you’ll need to sign up for an Ahrefs account. It is a paid service with plans starting from $99 per month. They also offer a full featured 7 day trial for $7.

Once you are logged into your Ahref’s dashboard, you need to enter your domain name under the Site Explorer tool.

Ahrefs site explorer tool

The site explorer tool will now crawl your website to prepare reports. This may take some time, depending on how much content you have on your website.

Once finished, you’ll see an overview of your site explorer results. From here, you need to click on the Pages » Best by Links menu and then sort your report by 404 status.

Broken links

You can now export your report in CSV format to fix the broken links on your WordPress site.

MonsterInsights is the best Analytics solution for WordPress. It automatically tracks broken links or 404 errors on your website in Google Analytics.

Using the plugin, you can set up Google Analytics without editing code. It also lets you set up link and button click tracking, eCommerce tracking, form conversion tracking, author tracking, and more.

To start, you’ll need to signup for a Google Analytics account and connect it with your WordPress website using MonsterInsights. For more details, you can follow our detailed guide on how to install Google Analytics in WordPress.

Note: MonsterInsights is a premium WordPress plugin, but we’ll be using the free version for this tutorial. However, you can upgrade to its Pro version for advanced tracking features, dashboard reports, popular posts feature, and more.

Once MonsterInsights is active on your website, the plugin will start to track broken links and show you a report in Google Analytics. However, it might take up to 24 hours before you see any data in Google Analytics.

To view the report, just log in to your Google Analytics account. After that, you can go to Behavior » Site Content and click on the ‘Content Drilldown’ report.

Next, you can enter ‘404.html’ in the search bar, and Google Analytics will show broken links on your website.

404 error pages in Analytics

Google Search Console is a free tool offered by Google to help webmasters manage their site’s visibility in search results. It also notifies you about errors, including 404 errors that are caused by a broken link.

For more details, see our ultimate Google Search Console guide with step by step set up instructions.

After you have logged in to your Google Search Console account, click on the ‘Coverage’ link from the left menu.

Google Search index coverage report

You’ll find 404 errors either under Errors or Excluded tabs. Clicking on them will show you a list of errors or issues Google encountered while visiting your website.

Excluded broken links

Clicking on the 404 error will show you all the links on your website that are broken links and return a 404 error.

You can now click on the download button to get the list of all 404 errors on your website. You’ll need this to fix broken links on your website.

For this method, we’ll be using the Broken Link Checker plugin. However, this method is not recommended because it is resource-intensive and will slow down your website. Managed WordPress hosting companies like WP Engine already block users from installing this plugin on their servers.

The plugin checks for broken links on your website, including internal and external links resulting in a 404 error.

First, you’ll need to install and activate the Broken Link Checker plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, the plugin will start working in the background to find links in your posts, pages, and comments. You can now go to Tools » Broken Links page to view the full report.

Broken Links Report in WordPress

If you have been running your WordPress blog for a long time, then this report will include broken links to third-party websites as well.

You will have to manually sort the list to find broken links on your website.

You will need to keep Broken Link Checker active on your website until you fix broken links. After that, you can deactivate the plugin because it will keep checking for broken links, which will slow down your server.

We have shown you five different methods to find broken links in WordPress. Now let’s talk about how to easily fix broken links in WordPress.

The best way to fix a broken link is to redirect it to another page. For example, if you moved the contents of an article to a different address, then you will need to redirect it to the newer article.

Similarly, if an article does not exist anymore, then you would want to point users to a similar page that is closely related to the contents of the old article.

You can do this by setting up 301 redirects.

The easiest way to fix broken links and set up redirection is by using the All in One SEO (AIOSEO) plugin for WordPress. It offers a powerful redirection manager that helps you track 404 error pages and create 301 redirects.

Note: We’ll be using the AIOSEO Pro version because it includes the redirection manager addon and offers multiple types of redirections.

First, you will need to install and activate the AIOSEO Pro plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you need to visit All in One SEO » Redirects page and then click the ‘Activate Redirects’ button.

Activate AIOSEO redirects

Next, you’ll need to go to the ‘Settings’ tab under Redirects and enable 404 logs. You can find the option in the ‘Logs’ section.

AIOSEO will also let you set the time period to record your 404 logs using the dropdown menu. We suggest that you select no longer than one month for smooth and optimal performance.

Enable 404 logs

After that, go ahead and click the ‘Save Changes’ button.

You will now see a ‘404 Logs’ tab appear in the Redirects section in AIOSEO. Go ahead and click on the tab.

When you first enable the 404 logs option, there will be no data on this page. The plugin will only start to monitor and record 404 pages after enabling the settings.

However, once it’s active, AIOSEO will show a list of broken links on your website under the ‘URL’ column. It will also show you how many people visited the link under the ‘Hits’ column and the last accessed date.

Click 404 logs menu option

You can now click the ‘Add Redirect’ button for any broken link you want to fix. When you click the button, you’ll see redirection options for your 404 error URL.

Simply enter the Target URL to which you’d like to redirect your visitors, select 301 Moved Permanently as the redirection type from the dropdown menu, and click the ‘Add Redirect’ button.

Add redirect for your broken link

You can now test this by visiting the old broken link, and you’ll be redirected to the new page.

Repeat the process for all broken links on your website.

For more information, see our guide on how to set up redirects in WordPress for beginners.

We hope this article helped you learn how to easily find and fix broken links in WordPress. You may also want to see our actionable tips on how to optimize your images for web, and our pick of the best WordPress membership plugins to create a membership site.

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Reader Interactions

57 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. I am using broken link check WordPress plugin. Is it possible to check broken link for custom buttons?
    Please help me.

  2. This article was super helpful in solving 404 errors on our website as we switched from joomla to wordpress, thank you so much, now our website is doing great.

  3. Thanks for the great stuff on link broken. The article were amazing. It not just only shows to find the broken link but the way you give the solution for the problem is always the best part.

  4. This is what i’m looking for! i have 301 redirecy plugin in my website but i have no idea how to use it properly.

    thank you so much for this useful tutorial.

  5. Thanks for sharing this blog. Your blog is very informative regarding broken websites. The points you shared, are very useful for broken website repair services. It is important that everyone must follow some good tips for their broken website.

  6. I installed this plug in and it says no broken links detected. I cannot imagine that is accurate because the site is big and definitely has some broken links. Do I need to reconfigure something to get it to run accurately?

  7. Thank you for this great post !

    Do you know how to bulk export broken links with this plug-in ?
    Or maybe, if you have one in stock, even a MySQL request could be used to export them within phpmyadmin.

    Cheers ;)

      • Well, I have just read that Yoast SEO has this function, too. It detects and corrects broken links, even directly from Google Console, if wanted, and with a easy button in tool bar, but only Premium version. So have to pay for it.

        I am wondering, if I can keep trusting you guys, seeing that you don’t answer to all questions here, and also how can you review a plugin when it is not updated for over a year???
        In WP > install New Plugin > the thumbnail is even missing of this plugin.

        Wow.

        • Thank you for your feedback, we are working on improving our answers to comments. For clarification, this article was updated in August, we will certainly look into updating articles such as this one as we find they need updates so thank you for letting us know that we should look into this article.

  8. I’m pretty sure I already know the answer but I’ll ask anyway: This is just for self-hosted sites on WordPress.org, not WordPress.com, correct? Is there ANY way to check broken links on a WordPress.com blog? I am in the process of converting from Blogger and I have over 700 blog posts that ALL have internal links. In other words, a big pain. I suppose I’ll eventually have to manually fix them in any case, but seeing the broken links would give me a priority of which ones to fix first.

    • Hi Sine Thieme,

      Yes, this is for WordPress.org websites. We will suggest that you export your blog posts in XML format using the built in WordPress.com export tool. After that you can use an advanced text editor like Notepad++ or TextWrangler (for Mac), use simple search and replace tool in the editor to replace old blogger URLs with your WordPress.com URLs.

      Admin

  9. After I activate that plugin I got error.

    The plugin generated 1690 characters of unexpected output during activation. If you notice “headers already sent” messages, problems with syndication feeds or other issues, try deactivating or removing this plugin.

  10. Hi-

    I use Link Cloaker and it seems that Broken Link Checker is not picking up the links that are not good because those bad links are directed to my homepage. I don’t want those links to be directed to my homepage. I want them to come up as broken so I can fix them.

    How can this be fixed?

    Thanks

    • You can fix that by performing a 301 redirection.

      So whenever such a link is access from another site, your site simply redirects the person to a new URL.

      A plugin for this is redirection WordPress plugin

      Hope that helps.

  11. Thanks! I’m running Broken Link Checker now to fix dozens of broken links on my site. My google organic search traffic plummeted this year after moving to a new domain…and wasn’t sure why. I think broken links is the reason (just realizing a lot of my old posts are busted).

    Has anyone had direct experience with improved google ranking SEO after fixing broken links? What was the before/after result?

    • I’ve been using broken link checker for a while at this domain. After fixing them, seems fairly frequently, I need to do so again, say a few weeks after fixing a bunch.

  12. I do not recommend this plugin. It is a serious CPU hog that will slow down your site and possibly use up your CPU allocation. A number of host providers have banned it. If you want to check your links you are better off running an app from your computer to check run an external check.

  13. I found 34 broken links in my blog..Thanks for sharing this article , it has been useful for me

  14. Broken Link Checker has been very handy for me – but what is that Green Tab (shown in this post’s last screenshot and is there any way to hide it?

    This is extremely confusing for clients and I find it even worse than sidebar ads.

    Any ideas on how to manage this? Thanks!

    • Unfortunately, no way to get rid of it without editing the plugin (at least that is our understanding). You can always contact the plugin author and make a suggestion.

      Admin

  15. What do you do if it tells you that some links are broken but they are not? I went to the pages and double checked the link and it works fine.

  16. Used BLC in the past. It’s good to use from time to time, but creates a lot of bloat in your database. That’s probably because of my massive post archive.

    • STUN, did the same on my site…over 6,000 posts. However after running the WP-Optimize plugin, the database was nice and clean again.

  17. I use wpengine.. This is what they have to say about:

    “There’s another class of plugins that we disallow simply because they cause a high load on our servers or create an unnatural number of MySQL queries.

    Broken Link Checker — Overwhelms even our robust caching layer with an inordinate amount of HTTP requests.”

    On their hosting service it is a disallowed plugn!

    “wpengine” reccommends:

    To track traffic in a more scalable manner, both the stats module in Automattic’s Jetpack plugin and Google Analytics work wonderfully.

  18. I use Broken Link Checker and it is very useful. But why would you disable the plugin after using it the first time? I receive notifications every few days that the plugin has found a couple of more broken links. Usually, because when an a site I linked to has shut down, or the link has become corrupted or a blogger removed a post, — any number of reasons. It is not helpful for SEO — or to your visitors — when they click on a bad click. I believe Broken Link Checker should be active all the time.

  19. Thank you for letting us know about this great plugin! Started to use it on some website right away.

    I don’t understand why I should disable the plugin after initial use and wait 6 months to run it manually again. It appears to me that I can leave it Active, and it will check the links automatically every so many hours and send me a mail if it has found a broken link. Much better, isn’t it?

    Thanks in advance for your opinion on this.

  20. I want to finish seeting up my .org site first, but as I’m moving from .com this will be a great tool! Thank you!

  21. I installed the Broken Link Checker plugin a few months ago and immediately following the installation my site crashed. I would love to have it but I am afraid to install it again.

    • I had the same problem, I had to delete the plugin by FTP, because the rest of my screen was whit and it was nog possible to active or deactive it.

      Sad, because in my other site it worked well, both site are on the same server.

      • You can temporarily switch to a default WordPress theme like twenty twelve and then activate the plugin. If it works you can then check for broken links, fix them, and then revert back to your own theme.

        Admin

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