FindBroken Beta

Here’s something I’ve been working on for the last month or so: It’s an automated link checker that periodically scans your site for broken links and alerts you by email if any are found. Basically, it’s like a hosted version of the Broken Link Checker plugin, only simpler and not WordPress-specific.

The site is still in early beta, so some features may a little rough around the edges or just plain missing. Nevertheless, I encourage you to go check it out and let me know what you think. All feedback is welcome.

What already works

  • Add/remove sites.
  • Monitor multiple sites with one account.
  • Automatic daily scans.
  • Email notifications.

What doesn’t quite work

  • The crawler that I use is slow to get going. Sometimes it can take ~30 minutes before any progress is visible.
  • Redirects are currently not followed.
  • There’s a fair amount of false positives. Luckily, most of them are temporary and don’t show up when using the “persistent” filter.
  • The site could use some UX love.


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41 Responses to “FindBroken Beta”

  1. I’d like to try this but is there any chance you might offer Paypal as a payment method? I don’t like using my credit card online.

  2. White Shadow says:

    Sorry, no – the payment processor that I use for subscription processing doesn’t support PayPal.

  3. M.K. Safi says:

    Even though I read your comment earlier about the bot obeying robots.txt, I forgot that I block bots from following my affiliate links. I just added the following to the bottom of my robots.txt:

    User-agent: 80legs
    Allow: /*

    I’m thinking this will override the other instructions.

  4. White Shadow says:

    Good idea, but you need to use “User-Agent: FindBroken” for this bot. I moved away from 80legs some time ago as they didn’t meet my needs.

  5. M.K. Safi says:

    Is there anyway to exclude the FindBroken bot from Google Analytics? It’s skewing my averages…

  6. White Shadow says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t GA only track user agents that can run JavaScript? Since my bot doesn’t (can’t) run JS, I had assumed it wouldn’t affect anyone’s GA stats.

  7. M.K. Safi says:

    Nevermind, you’re right. It was actually me that was being tracked after following links back to my site from DO’H!!

    I thought I, as an admin, was excluded from my GA stats! Anyway, thanks!

  8. MR.Convert says:

    I’d like to try this but is there any chance you might offer Paypal as a payment method? I don’t like using my credit card online.

  9. White Shadow says:

    I’ve considered it, but the numerous horror-stories about PayPal freezing accounts randomly always put me off.

  10. M.K. Safi says:

    Recently, PayPal started offering automatic settlement withdrawals–from “Settlement Withdrawal enables you to automatically transfer money from your PayPal account to your bank account at the end of each day.” It’s free for U.S. accounts. So, if you use this feature, you significantly reduce the risk of PayPal freezing big chunks of your money.

  11. M.K. Safi says:

    I just installed and enabled Bad Behavior on my site, will FindBroken continue to work without problems? Thanks!

  12. White Shadow says:

    Sorry, I haven’t tested it with BB. Lets wait and see how it goes, I guess.

  13. M.K. Safi says:

    It’s been awhile since I last received any reports from FindBroken. Could that be because of BB?

  14. White Shadow says:

    Everything looks good from what I can see. In any case, I would expect BB to lead to some working links being reported as broken, not the other way around.

  15. M.K. Safi says:

    My understanding is that BB blocks requests that might not be legitimate. It examines headers and whatnot, so I was worried that the FindBroken wasn’t looking legitimate enough to BB and thus was blocked.

  16. White Shadow says:

    Yep, but if it does get blocked, it should start showing all of those (blocked) links as broken, which would make it send more reports, not less.

  17. M.K. Safi says:

    Hey, Would be nice if FindBroken had a way to ignore/hide broken URLs in comment author names—those are difficult to keep clean. I don’t think broken links in them impact user experience or a web page ranking negatively…

  18. White Shadow says:

    If your comment author links are tagged with rel=”nofollow” (like e.g. WordPress does), you can make FB skip them by enabling the “Ignore nofollow links” option when adding a site.

  19. M.K. Safi says:

    FindBroken is shutting down.

    This sucks. Why? What’s a good alternative?

  20. Jānis Elsts says:

    Plans didn’t pan out, financial-wise. Also personal reasons (which I’d rather not go into details of).

    As for alternatives, there’s the very popular Xenu’s Link Sleuth (a free Windows app) and a bunch of commercial tools like and

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