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No More Dead Ends: How to Fix Broken Links in WordPress 

Written By: author image Joella Dunn
author image Joella Dunn
Joella is a writer with years of experience in WordPress. At Duplicator, she specializes in site maintenance — from basic backups to large-scale migrations. Her ultimate goal is to make sure your WordPress website is safe and ready for growth.
     Reviewed By: John Turner
reviewer image John Turner
John Turner is the President of Duplicator. He has over 20+ years of business and development experience and his plugins have been downloaded over 25 million times.

When a user clicks on a link on your website, they expect to see relevant content. But sometimes, they could see a 404 error instead.

This is called a broken link. It can easily be caused by a mistyped URL or a migration to a new domain name.

Broken links are more than just an annoyance. They can hurt your search engine rankings and drive visitors away.

The good news is that broken links are easy to fix. In this tutorial, I’ll show you a few different ways to find and replace broken links on your website!

Table of Contents

If you click on a link and it doesn’t redirect to the correct page, it’s probably broken. But, there are a few different types of broken links to look out for.

  • Broken internal links: a page on your website was lost or had its URL changed during a migration
  • Broken external links: a third-party web page no longer exists or moved locations
  • Broken backlinks: a link to your content from another website no longer works because of deleted pages or updated URLs

Additionally, these links could have different HTTP status codes. These tell you why the link isn’t working.

  • 404 Page Not Found: the linked page couldn’t be found on the site’s server
  • 400 Bad Request: the server can’t load the page, usually because of incorrect URL syntax
  • 410 Gone: the page is no longer available on the server with the requested address

Even if you try to avoid them, broken links might appear on your website. To minimize any harmful effects, it’s important to fix them as quickly as possible. Let’s walk you through how to do this!

It can be difficult to find broken links on your site. Especially if your site has been around for a while, there are thousands of internal and external links for you to check.

What if we told you that you could find and fix broken links in minutes? With the Broken Link Checker plugin, this is possible! Broken Link Checker is a powerful SEO tool that automatically crawls your content for broken links and provides easy ways to edit them:

AIOSEO Broken Link Checker plugin

Here are some helpful features that come with Broken Link Checker:

  • Periodical site scans every 3 days
  • Detects valid links, redirects, and broken links (200, 301/302, and 404 HTTP response codes)
  • Select which post types or custom post types to monitor
  • Exclude specific URLs from the broken link scans

To take advantage of these benefits, download Broken Link Checker and install it on your WordPress site. For more information, check out this beginner’s guide on installing WordPress plugins.

Then, you’ll need to register for an account. You can sign up for free to start scanning up to 200 internal links. For as little as $4.99 per month, you can upgrade to 1,000+ link scans. Plus, it will check for broken external links:

Create Broken Link Checker account

Now you’re ready to find broken links on your WordPress website!

To figure out where to place your content in search results, search engines will crawl pages on your site. If they find broken links, you may end up losing your hard-earned ranking. It’s best to always have healthy links so that Google knows your website is a reputable source for visitors.

Right now, you might have live broken links on your site. Fortunately, you can hide these from search engines while you’re fixing them. 

With Broken Link Checker, visit the Settings page. Under Link Tweaks, enable the setting that stops search engines from following broken links:

Stop search engines from crawling broken links

Be sure to save this change. After this, you don’t have to worry about search engines finding your broken links before you can update them. 

Once you click on the Broken Links tab, you’ll find that the plugin already scanned all the links on your site. Any broken links will be listed under Broken, along with the post title and anchor text:

Website broken links

Luckily, it’s easy to update these broken links. To do this, simply find the Edit URL button:

Edit broken link

Enter the correct URL to replace the broken link. Then, update it:

Update broken link

After this, you’ll want to double-check that the link is no longer broken. Click on Recheck and the Broken Link Checker will revisit the link with the new URL. If it redirects to a new page, the link won’t have a 404 status code anymore.

If you want to remove the link altogether, select Unlink. This will completely remove the link from the page:

Unlink broken link

Another option is to dismiss the alert if the link is working. You can continue to repeat this process until all the links on your website are healthy!

Although a broken link checker is the easiest method to find broken links, it’s not the only way.

To find broken links with Google Analytics, go to Reports » Engagement » Pages and screens.

Google Analytics pages and screens

In the search box, enter 404 or page not found. Alternatively, search for the title of your custom 404 page.

Underneath the search box, choose Page title and screen class. Add Page path and screen class as a secondary dimension.

Google Analytics find broken links

This will give you a list of any broken links on your site!

Semrush is a comprehensive SEO tool. With its Site Audit feature, you can identify broken links on your WordPress site.

To do this, be sure to sign up for a Semrush account. Then, click on Site Audit and create a new project.

Create Semrush project

Enter the domain name for your website. Add a project name if you want to.

Semrush project domain

Once you hit Create Project, Semrush will crawl your website. In the Site Audit section, you’ll see a blue number next to Broken. This shows you how many broken links you have.

Semrush site audit

Click on this to view specific broken links.

Semrush broken links

Another SEO tool you can use to find broken links is Ahrefs. Similar to Semrush, Ahrefs has a Site Audit tool to discover on-page SEO problems on your site.

Ahrefs is a premium service, so you’ll need to purchase a plan first. Next, add your site’s URL in the Site Explorer tool.

Ahrefs site explorer

To find broken links, find Pages » Best by links. Choose the 404 not found filter.

Ahrefs broken links

Feel free to export this list of broken links as a CSV file.

MonsterInsights is a WordPress plugin that integrates with Google Analytics. Through its dashboard in WordPress, you can easily monitor and find broken links, leveraging the analytics data.

To get started, sign up for a Google Analytics account. Install MonsterInsights in your WordPress site and connect to Google Analytics.

After this, create an Exploration report in Google Analytics. Find the Explore tab and choose the blank option.

Google Analytics new exploration

Name the exploration “Broken Links”. Click on the Dimensions plus sign.

Broken link exploration

Search for the Page title dimension and check it. Do the same with the Page path + query string dimension. Then, hit Import.

Exploration dimensions

Next, click on Metrics. Import the Sessions metric.

Exploration sessions

At this point, drag the dimensions into the Rows box. Drag the metrics into the Values box.

Broken Links exploration values

Now find the Filters box. Click on Drop or select dimension or metric and then hit Page title.

Broken links exploration filter

In the dropdown, choose contains and Page Not Found. Click Apply.

Broken links exploration conditions

Now you’ll see a list of your site’s 404 errors for a given time frame.

Google Analytics broken links exploration

To see the full URLs, download the exploration.

You can also discover broken links with Google Search Console. Once you set up a free account, open Pages and select Not indexed.

Google Search Console not indexed pages

You’ll see a list of reasons why your pages aren’t being indexed. Click on Not found (404).

Google Search Console not found links

This will show you a list of links currently broken on your website.

Google Search Console broken links report

Broken links most often happen after migrating your website to a new domain name. If done incorrectly, your original visitors might not be able to find your new content.

To make sure you don’t lose any organic traffic, it’s important to have a well-thought-out plan before you move.

First, it can be helpful to install a WordPress migration plugin. These tools will help you package your entire site and seamlessly move it to a different location. Duplicator Pro is the best option because it supports easy drag-and-drop migrations.

Duplicator Pro plugin

With Duplicator, you can create a package of your site. This will bundle all of your WordPress files, themes, plugins, and database information into a zip file.

Duplicator package

Once you build a package, download its archive file.

Download site archive package

Then, simply install Duplicator Pro on your second WordPress installation. Go to the Import page and upload your site package.

Import website archive

The Duplicator migration wizard will walk you through the rest of the installation! 

After you move all of your content, you can redirect your entire site using All-in-One SEO. Using this plugin’s Redirection Manager, you’ll relocate your site and avoid any broken links.

AIOSEO WordPress SEO plugin

Head over to AIOSEO » Redirects » Full Site Redirect. Enable the Relocate site option.

AIOSEO site redirect

Enter your new domain in the text box and save your changes.

For more details about preventing broken URLs during a migration, check out our guide on how to migrate a site to a new domain name!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Alternatives: Google Search Console, Ahrefs, Google Analytics, Semrush, and Screaming Frog are webmaster tools that can give you a full site audit. These provide metrics about links, including crawl errors, broken backlinks, and internal dead links. However, many of these options can be expensive and not specifically designed for WordPress websites. 


Now your site is full of healthy links instead of broken ones!

While you’re here, you may also like these WordPress tutorials:

Do you want to migrate your website without worrying about broken links appearing? Download Duplicator Pro for a seamless migration!

author avatar
Joella Dunn Content Writer
Joella is a writer with years of experience in WordPress. At Duplicator, she specializes in site maintenance — from basic backups to large-scale migrations. Her ultimate goal is to make sure your WordPress website is safe and ready for growth.

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