With the proliferation of World Wide Web’s records and URLs, the ongoing checking and validation of URLs of the websites is an essential and potentially time-consuming task. However, assistance is at hand.
There are a number of models that can be used to regularly check the validity of URLs of websites. One method would be to work from a list of websites and check each one individually. This may be suitable if you are managing a single website but what if you had 200, 500, 1000 or more websites as is the case with many large enterprise and Fortune 500 businesses? The enormity of the task begins to sink in, particularly as it should be done on a regular basis like other ‘housekeeping’ tasks such as authority control.
Over the years, software developers and programmers have developed URL checking software to automate this task as much as possible. This enables time saved to be spent investigating and repairing broken links. One such package covered in more detail below is Xenu’s Link Sleuth™ and is available free of charge from their website.
What does Xenu do?
Xenu’s Link Sleuth™ is a spidering software that checks websites for broken links including standard URLs, images, frames, plug-ins, local image maps, scripts and Java applets. The list of URLs is continually updated and a number of different criteria can be set if required. The software supports SSL websites (i.e. those commencing with https://) and reports on redirected URLs.
Xenu System requirements
In order to run Xenu’s Link Sleuth™ you will need Microsoft Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000, XP, Vista or 7. Unfortunately, it will not operate in a Windows 3.1 or Macintosh system and is not supported with a mobile app at the moment. However, I have been told that it runs flawlessly under Fedora 13, Red Hat 8, Ubuntu and OS X via wine or WineBottler, and under Crossover on a Mac
Getting into a routine
At Fuze, we check our clients links on a monthly basis as part of our ongoing technical strategy. We include everything from standard URLs to PDFs and images as it is imperative that these are all rendering correctly. By leveraging Xenu’s Link Sleuth™ we are able to identify and correct any broken links. We consistently find the software extremely functional to use.
You can download the current version of the software 1.1f from the home page of Xenu’s Link Sleuth™ at http://home.snafu.de/tilman/xenulink.html.