March 7, 2017

Working with broken links in WordPress

Ever clicked on a link on a website and got the dreaded “Page not found” or “Object not found” error message? Those are called 404 error messages, and they can be frustrating! Not only do they cause frustration, but if there are too many of them on a particular website, Google will start to penalize it.

So what can you do about that? WordPress plugins to the rescue! There are a few different types of plugins that can help you. While I haven’t tried all of these, they all seem to be rated well and have been kept somewhat up-to-date as of writing this article.

Scan for broken links

First, you can actively scan for broken links. A good plugin for this is Broken Link Checker. It monitors links in your posts, pages, and other areas of your site to detect broken links and missing images, and it will send you an email letting you know what it finds.

Check out the Broken Link Checker plugin

Redirect the 404 error page

If you simply want all 404 errors on your website to redirect to your homepage, you can do that with the plugin All 404 Redirects to Homepage. While this isn’t necessarily the best solution in many cases, it can be a quick, temporary fix.

Check out the All 404 Redirect to Homepage plugin

Custom error page

Maybe your theme doesn’t include a custom 404 page, or maybe you just want to create your own—maybe including links to follow you on social media or subscribe to your newsletter. You can do that with 404page.

Check out the 404page plugin

Complete 404 error page management

Finally, you may want an all-in-one type of solution instead. Enter the WordPress plugin Forty Four. It creates a lightweight 404 page for faster loading time but still lets you customize it. It logs all your links that give 404 errors, and it lets you add custom redirects on a case-by-case basis.

This solution is definitely more powerful than the others. It can be handy if your site is large or has been around for a while and has changed over time.

Check out the Forty Four plugin

Just as a warning, you don’t want to install all the plugins I’ve mentioned on one website. In fact, some of them have conflicting solutions, so they won’t play nice together.

Obviously, different plugins are useful in different cases. So look through all of these and decide what best fits your situation. Of course, you can always consult with a professional if you have questions about the best solution for your needs!

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