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Online management help

4. Check links

Periodically, a site can be checked for broken links resulting from target web sites withdrawing pages or even disappearing.

If the master manager, and links have not been checked within the last 24 hours, they will be rechecked, which can take a minute or so, depending upon how many links there are. External links will take longer than those to the site's pages. There is a Check button to recheck, followed by the duration from the last check, with a format as described in Durations.

The columns of the links table are:
1Link hostType of host element with its identifier as a jump to its management page. For some types, an additional jump is provided to the particular location where it can be corrected
2TargetLink|jump to the target
3StatusStatus of the link. Unknown = dead link, which should be deleted. A number for an external link generally indicates the server exists, but the page may not. For internal links, the most likely are mismatched show levels, which may reveal unlisted pages

In general, broken links to the current site's pages will not occur because an article cannot be deleted until all links to it have been deleted. However, importing elements of an article may result in its links being broken. Links to external sites can and do get broken because sites change their structure or withdraw content.

For external links, the error code gives the reason why the link failed, where:
a300+RedirectedNot really broken, but update the link with the new URL
b400+Browser-side faultUsually an invalid request, meaning that the URL may no longer be correct. If so, update the link with the new URL, else delete it
c500+Server faultMay be temporary, but if it persists, the link should be deleted

Many sites, including for news and image downloads, will return 403 (restricted access) errors when accessed by a server, but return the normal 200 when accessed by a desktop or phone browser. They do this because they think it is a prelude to mass automated extraction of their content. Try the link provided on this page, and if it doesn't go to the intended page, delete the link.

The site's unlisted pages will not be discoverable unless linked to, either from a listed page, or from another site. While nothing can be done about links from external sites, this page will show any links that go from one visibility level to another to help prevent exposing unlisted pages. While linking from an unlisted page to a listed isn't a problem like the other direction, it may be that the source page was not meant to be unlisted.

However, in operation all this is moot because if a listed page has links to an unlisted or hidden page, those links will actually show as plain text ʘ?ʘ when the page is rendered, so that no information about the link target is leaked. These types of links are not prevented at creation time because it would be difficult to set up the complex related articles cross-linking between pages for a new hidden category and existing pages otherwise.

Note that listed pages in a default category are never discoverable and must be explicitly linked to to expose them. The only pages likely to be put there are about pages and intermediate navigation pages that would be linked to from a home page to link to category pages, articles or other navigation pages.

Inline links shown are for the master locale only. In rich-text elements, links are independent for each locale, so if an external link has been changed for a non-master locale, perhaps to go to a language-specific version of the target, they will not be shown on this page if they happen to be in error while the master locale links are OK. Inline links to articles or categories without explicit text always use the correct text for the locale being viewed. If using explicit text, only the master locale text is shown on this page, as for external links.

Therefore, always check links when creating them, and if any inline external links show up on this page, open the article and check the links for each locale. This page is only meant to be a preliminary check for broken links, as a prelude to manually checking that all links for an article are still valid. It does not have full locale coverage as that would require excessive storage for multi-locale sites. Schedule a periodic thorough check of all links on the site for best practice.

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