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Durham University

Computing and Information Services

Detecting 'dead links' on your web pages


One of the attractions of creating WWW pages is the ease in which pages can be linked together. However, after a period of time, it is easy to forget which pages are pointing to a WWW page. Removal of this WWW page may mean that other pages are pointing to a WWW page which no longer exists.

Why a link is a bad link 

There are a number of reasons for a bad link. Some examples are:

  • the link refers to a file that does not exist;
  • the file has permissions which are such that it cannot be read by the WWW server;
  • the file is password-protected by the WWW server.

Using Xenu to find broken URLs

Xenu's link sleuth is a spidering software utility that checks web pages for any broken links to other pages and sites. The utility will scan the HTML in pages you have created.

To access Xenu on the Networked PC Service go to Start Menu | Programs | Web Tools | Xenu | to start the application with an empty working environment.

An Info Sheet is also available. Info Sheet 161 Using Xenu to find broken URLs