Using Firefox? A nice lightweight link-checking add-on is Kevin
A. Freitas' LinkChecker
which works by checking links on the currently-displayed page.
Xenu's Link Sleuth is a free (as in "free beer")
tool for checking a web document for broken links. It runs on Windows
machines. This document describes very briefly how to install and use it.
What It Can and Cannot Do for You
LinkSleuth works by acting like a web browser, loading documents
using the web protocols HTTP and/or HTTPS. You specify a start
document, and LinkSleuth loads the document, checking that each link
in the document resolves to another web document that it can load. It
then goes on to check the links in every other "internal" document,
meaning documents that are at or below the level of the start
document. For example, checking
would also cause, say,
be checked if it was linked to that index.html, but not, say,
it's at a higher level.
When LinkSleuth is done checking, it will display or email you a report
of its results.
Because it uses HTTP[S], LinkSleuth can be used to check any site you'd
like, whether it's a .cs.washington.edu site or not. What it
can't do is
- access protected documents
- LinkSleuth doesn't know your password or any special passwords needed
to access specific web resources. Furthermore, if you run it from home
against www.cs.washington.edu content, it won't be able to access
documents that are restricted to access from .cs.washington.edu
hosts. You may be able to use imaginative .htaccess files to
work around this in specific cases.
- find "orphans"
- LinkSleuth can't tell you anything about documents in your tree that
aren't linked to any other documents in your tree-- what are known
as "orphans." To find such documents, a tool needs to access the file
system directly. The Lab offers the
Find the Orphans tool to help with that task.
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When you start up LinkSleuth, you will find yourself looking at a
blank page. To start a scan, click on File:Check URL; that brings up a
form for you to fill out with your start URL (see screenshot).
You have a number of options:
- Check external links
- Select this option to validate all links to external documents.
- Consider these URLs as "internal"
- Here you can provide a list of URLs that are considered to be internal--
that is, LinkSleuth will check those documents as if they were inside the
same document tree as the start document. That could be handy to check all
- Do not check anything with these URLs
- Provide a list of URLs to be considered external. For example, you might
have a directory full of big hypermail archives, and you don't wish to waste
resources checking them because they are generated by a program and known to
- You can ask LinkSleuth to email a copy of the report when the scan
is complete. You must specify an email address and a mail server. For
mailing to @cs.washington.edu addresses, cs.washington.edu
is a good choice. See the
There are a few more options, but these are the key ones.
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LinkSleuth doesn't come with an installer, which isn't as bad as it
sounds-- it consists of a single .exe file and a
.html file for documentaiton. To install it, you might follow
this set of steps on a Windows 2000 machine:
- Create a new \Program Files\Xenu folder. A good way to do this
is with Windows Explorer, using File:New:Folder
- Download XENU.ZIP from the
LinkSleuth home page and unzip to \Program Files\Xenu
- Create a new >Xenu folder under Start:Programs. A fast way to do
- Right-click on the Start button and select "Explore."
- Click on "Programs," then on File:New:Folder.
- Name the folder Xenu.
- Create shortcuts to XENU.exe and XENULINK.htm in
the Xenu folder you created in the previous step. A good way to
do that is by right-clicking on the files in explorer and dragging them
to the Xenu folder, then selecting "Create shortcut(s) here."
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For More Information
See Xenu's LinkSleuth home page.
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