Broken Link Checker – Gone!

Yeah, I hear you, two complaint posts in a row. Well, the first one I felt was appropriate in warning you against a company that’s so deficient that you’d be throwing your money away. This one is to help you protect your blog; rather, to access your blog.

Highway Insomnia
Brett Weinstein
via Compfight

As you know, I mentioned back in December how my traffic seemed to be going down, along with my Alexa rank, but that always happened in December. Since the new year began, my traffic has been going up but my Alexa ranking continues going down. I’m not going to argue the merits of Alexa here; just going on with the post.

Anyway, I decided to check with Google Analytics to see what could possibly be going down. Indeed, not only has my traffic been going up, but it’s already higher than it was in either November or December. As a matter of fact, it’s ended on par with last August; that’s an upswing in traffic. But there were some interesting numbers, which I want to share:

October to November traffic from Google – 40%
October to November traffic from direct source – 37%

November to December traffic from Google – 37%
November to December traffic from direct source – 45%

December to January traffic from Google – 34%
December to January traffic from direct source – 43%

You notice that I’m actually driving more traffic in some fashion to this blog that Google’s doing; no idea how I’m doing it unless it’s through commenting on other blogs, since all other sources are listed as well. You’ll also notice that the gap hags been growing; Google doesn’t like me anymore. lol

Google did have another one of their famous updates, and I started to wonder if it might be related to bad links. I kind of addressed it in the past when I was talking about broken links, and last week when I talked about editing comments. When I talked about it in the past, I mentioned a plugin I used called Broken Link Checker. I’d also written about previous problems I had with the plugin, but that was awhile ago.

The fact is that when the thing works, it works great. However, when it doesn’t… man, it’s the worst in the world. This is what I went through a few nights ago when I decided to check my links to see if I was having problems with any of them from other people. After all, when I last ran the thing in May it found 750 bad links; ouch! Well, I do get my share of comments, and the blog has been around a long time, so that’s to be expected.

When I went to check on it some time later, it showed that I had close to 400 bad links. I then started the process of trying to do maintenance, and the blog shut down. I mean, it just wouldn’t do anything. I closed it by going to another page, then tried to come back to it; now I was locked out. I thought that was strange so I opened a different browser. I was able to pull up the blog, sign in, but as soon as it was in admin it locked up again.

I tried one more browser and got the same problem, so me being me I decided to try it on the laptop. Same issue; signed in and blog froze. I then went into Firefox’s private browsing mode, unsure what to expect, got into the admin panel and once again into Broken Link Checker. However, as soon as I started trying to to maintenance, the blog locked up on me, and I couldn’t even view the home page again.

Frankly, that kind of behavior is unacceptable at this juncture, and I feel like I knew better, but with all the updates they’ve made that it would work better. I have this same problem on 4 of my blogs; the only one that doesn’t shut down is my local blog, probably because I have few links and fewer articles on it than all the others.

What to do? First, the next morning I was able to log into the blog and this time I went to the plugin page and deleted the plugin. I don’t even want to be tempted to use it again. But I needed something to help me get rid of some bad links. I decided to use a plugin called Automatic Link Checker, which goes through your blog and checks links against Google to see if they exist or not, or if they’ll come up. I changed the settings to say if a link hasn’t been live in 30 days to remove it from the blog; the default is 60 days but I’m not feeling that generous these days. I’ve been periodically checking it and it seems to be working great, without any input from me. And, because I set it at 30 days, if someone’s having a temporary server issue it won’t automatically delete your links; I think that’s pretty cool.

Broken links can mess up your ranking and visibility on Google; can’t have that type of thing going on, and it’s something we can actually do something about. If you’re having trouble with the other plugin or haven’t loaded anything to help you check for broken links, try this new one. Thus far, no complaints. And if traffic goes up even more, or Google referrals start increasing again, I’ll let you know.

17 thoughts on “Broken Link Checker – Gone!”

  1. That sounds like a great plugin Mitch. I know I have some still when I switched from Blogger to WordPress. What a pain to fix them all but I’m trying little by little. I mat try out your plugin. Thanks for the tip.

  2. Mitch,

    Remember when we had that problem testing my software? Your dataset was so large, it broke my ‘puter. LOL

    WordPress plugins do seem to have limits on the amount of data they can process. the Authorize plugin that people love for blog-to ebook preparation is one example: it chokes if the database is too large!

    I tested BLC after our recent conversation and, yes, it did slow my blog down unacceptably. Perhaps I was right below whatever threshold you’d reached for a complete meltdown. Whew, right?

    The one thing I did when I finally regained control was to uncheck the option for continuous monitor while the dashboard is active. That sounds dodgy.

    For now, I will keep BLC and cross-reference its reports with the free Xenu desktop link checking software.

    I’m glad your alternative suits you!



    1. Mitch, until you mentioned it I’d forgotten about that test. This blog is big; to try to download it the sucker was way, WAAAYYY too big to backup, if you remember. Lisa Irby just wrote a post offering some kind of idea, which I might have to take her up on at some point. That’s probably my issue with BLC; just too big.

      1. You know, I’d totally forgotten about that plugin. Just went over & had more than 300 post revisions, and a few of my database tables with an “needs optimization” warning next to them. Just ran the sucker to clean things up.

      2. Cool. Probably didn’t reduce the size as much as you’d like, huh?

        I have one more idea: If you know how to use phpMyAdmin (or can get someone to do it for you), try reading just one table. Export the text that would have the links as an SQL file, which is plain text.

        Next, wrap the entire file between html and /html tags and use Xenu to check the links! Here is another fun image:

        Of course, ignore this if Automatic Link Checker is working well enough. LOL



  3. Plugins can be such a pain. I’ve been using Broken Link Checker for a long time with no trouble but I have never seen that many broken links. lol Mitchell Allen makes a good point on the amount of data a plugin has to process. I get one or two broken links a day and that’s it, not too much to process.

    I’m not sure what go into maintenance is so that leaves me wondering if we’re referring to two different plugins. I get an email, along with dashboard notification, whenever a broken link is detected. From there I can edit the link, unlink it, re-check the link or dismiss the notice.

    1. Brian, regarding the first sentence of the 2nd paragraph… what? lol

      For the rest of it, some time ago, after the first cleaning, it seemed like I was getting only a few a day as well, but one day the blog locked up and I had to go through all sorts of thinking before I realized which plugin it was. I don’t know why it does that to me, but as Mitch & I have said it’s probably because the size of the database of this blog is enormous.

  4. Hey Mitch

    I’ve not had any problems with Broken Link Checker but it sounds like a nightmare when it goes wrong!

    I only get a notification once in a while but I’m sure that’s because my database isn’t that big yet.

    Thanks for the heads up on this. I’ll keep an eye on that plugin.

  5. hey Mitch, apparently, according to James, one of my commentators, that particular plugin occasionally uses too much resources causing some sites to shut down. He ended up deleting his plugin as well. Glad you sorted it all out.

  6. Hi Mitch,

    Your link on “Automatic Link Checker” seems to be wrong, it leads to which doesn’t seem to have any link checking software, it’s rather seems like a site that provides backlinks or articles or something like that?

    1. Klaus, that’s the correct link; at least that’s the link on the plugin page to them. Hey, I don’t know; I just went to the “add plugin” link & typed in something and that’s what came up, so I’m trying it out. It’s not great though.

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