I undertook the mammoth task of moving from Joomla to WordPress.  I took this opportunity to change categories, links, descriptions and a host of legacy ideas that no longer relevant.   Both the move and the rejigging of content meant I created a large number of broken links and missing images.   We’re talking over 400 articles and numerous categories so the job was a little overwhelming. That sent me scurrying to the WP plugins directory to see if there were some good tools to speed the process up.

I found the perfect tool in Broken Link Checker by By Janis Elsts, Vladimir Prelovac. It runs quietly in the background snagging all outdated links and sending email notification  when it finds one. Instead of combing through pages of content, I can pop over to the settings and see this:

Screen capture from Broken Link finder for WordPressClicking on the “Found 61 broken links”, I quickly see what’s missing.

Broken Links demonstrated

The type of broken links are identified, as well as where they are. I don’t have to go hunting around each article to find them. The plugin also identifies redirects and, alerts you to any potential problems.

Once all the links are corrected, I’m going to leave it running because it will monitor all the links, both internal and external, and email when it finds one. The bigger your site becomes, the harder it is to keep up with old links and this pretty much simplifies the task.

NOTE:  I usually test any plugin off line to make sure it won’t crash the site. Doesn’t happen often, but once is enough. Broken Link plugin hasn’t been tested on this version of WordPress so I was cautious and threw it onto my test site first.  No issues popped up, and, it installed and uninstalled smoothly so I put it up.  I strongly recommend every website user, whether Joomla or WP,  setup a system that allows you to test out plugins. Every once in awhile, I run into one that causes untold damage. If I did this live, I’d be faced either trying to removing the plugin or reinstalling the entire site. That’s both embarrassing and infuriating.

I use XAMPP and mirror my site offline for all testing. That includes everything from testing plugins and new design ideas. Installing XAMPP or WAMP is pretty straightforward, as is installing WP to play with.  You can find dozens of good sites that will walk you through setting up either packages, it doesn’t take long to do and the peace of mind is worth it.  I stress caution in installing any new plugin without testing. 

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