Check for broken links within any website

Screenshot of Sitebeam's broken links test

How is it measured?

Conventional HTML links and Meta Refresh links are checked by this test.

Each link within the website is tested to see whether it returns a valid response. There are four potentially ‘bad’ responses:

  • Page not found (ungraceful) – when asked for the page, the webserver simply replied saying ‘that page was not found’ (a HTTP 404 response). No HTML was sent by the server, so the error will be displayed by the user’s web browser, usually a relatively poor user-experience.
  • Page not found (graceful) – when asked for the page, the webserver replied with a full HTML page, but marked it as ‘not found’ (a HTTP 404 response). This is the best way to handle broken links, as the user will  ideally see a professionally made and useful error message.
  • Host not found – the website itself was not found to exist (the hostname was not found). Such errors are always handled by the user’s web browser, which cannot be avoided.
  • Broken 404 header – when asked for the page, the webserver simply replied saying ‘that page was not found’ (a HTTP 404 response), however when the page was downloaded it did exist. Technically it replied with a 404 to a HEAD request, but with a valid response to a GET request. This usually means the code behind the website doesn’t handle HEAD requests properly: poor practice but not disastrous.

The score is based on a weighted balance of possible and definite broken links, plus links with header issues.