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Handling Broken Links
The internet is a fast-paced environment in which information is created, moved, archived, and deleted rapidly. As such, a site you link to this year may no longer exist next year, or the organization that maintains the information may have moved it. For this reason, it is essential that you regularly check the links you would like to maintain. Links will not automatically update on their own. For more information regarding this characteristic of the internet, read about link rot on Wikipedia.
Finding broken links
Because broken links are a common occurrence on the internet, a huge range of very easy-to-use tools are available to find them. If you'd like to find broken links across your entire site, services like Broken Link Checker can generate a report in seconds. Alternately, if you'd like to be able to click a button and see all links highlighted in red or green by whether or not they're working, you can get a link checker extension like Check My Links (Chrome) or Pinger (Firefox). Keep in mind that broken link checkers may occasionally return some unexpected information, such as saying Blackboard or a mail service is a broken link. This is usually because these pages require logins to work or have special configurations that the link checker does not understand. You are only responsible for the links within the content areas you can edit.
Fixing a broken link
- Open the page with the broken link in TERMINALFOUR
- Click "Modify" on the piece of content with the broken link
- Place your cursor in the link you'd like to update
- Clear the link by clicking the broken chain icon in the upper right of your editor.
- Highlight the content to be re-linked
- If this will be a link to a page in your own site (internal link), click the site structure icon and then choose the page to link to.
-- or --
If this will be a link to a page that's not on your site (external link), click the chain icon and paste your updated link in the popup.
- Update and approve the content
- Carefully select and implement links, and verify them regularly after publication.
- Avoid linking to pages deep in a website (deep linking) as these links are likely to break over time due to restructures.
- The only links that you can be sure will not break are those pointing to pages you maintain.
- Even if a link isn't broken, you should still check the page it points to carefully. The content may have changed and may no longer be relevant.
- When an important link breaks, contact the department that owns it. They will be able to point you to the resource's new location.