Use Dreamweaver to find and fix broken internal links on your website


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Find out why Dreamweaver is the perfect tool for locating and repairing broken internal links on your local websites.

A The ongoing maintenance puzzle for web developers and website content owners is to ensure that all links, images, embedded URLs, backgrounds, and clickable images on their sites are working as intended. You can automate this task by using specially created tools to test and verify all links on your local sites, intranet, Internet, or other URLs, including external links.

In this two-part series, I’ll go over several tools that can help you find broken links. This first part focuses on Dreamweaver, which can only be used to find local internal links. The second strand will cover open source and free tools that can find broken external links in your websites. (Note: I used Dreamweaver CS5 for this tutorial, although the steps also apply to other versions.)

Dreamweaver

First, you need to set up a site using Dreamweaver’s site setup. To create a new site from the Dreamweaver top toolbar, go to Site | New site (Figure A).

Figure A

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Then you can name the site and navigate to the local site directory by clicking on the folder icon (Number B).

Number B

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Once you are satisfied with the name of your site and your local directory, click on the Save button; your new site will appear in the local files directory (Figure C).

Figure C

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With Dreamweaver, we have three options to check: the current document (web page), the whole site, or the selected files in the site. To check only the document for the current web page, on the Dreamweaver toolbar, go to File | Check page | Links or press [Shift]F8 (Number D).

Number D

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For demonstration purposes, I have created two broken links that the link checker will be able to find. The results of the link check are displayed in the Link Checker tab group (Encrypted).

Encrypted

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To repair broken links, click each link displayed under the Broken Links column and enter the correct URL. If no known URL exists, the web page has probably been removed from the site and you can remove the associated anchor reference. After entering the correct link, Dreamweaver will ask you if you also want to update the link in the file (Figure F). Click the Yes button to correct broken references in the file.

Figure F

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The links are updated, as the example of
Number G.

Number G

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To find broken links throughout the current local site, click the drop-down arrow on the left side of the link checker tab group, then select and click the drop-down option to Check Links For Entire from the current local site (Number H).

Number H

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In this example, for the entire local site, it returns 139 broken links with 199 orphan pages (that is, web pages without links to them) (Number I).

Number I

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To view orphaned files, select the option from the Show drop-down menu for orphaned files (Figure J).

Figure J

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In this case, most of the orphaned files are in a beta directory, so we’ll probably ignore those files. We are looking for all current site files that are also in a production environment.


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Rosemary S. Bishop