Find and Fix Broken Links in WordPress: Step-by-Step Guide

Imagine a user clicks on one of your web pages and gets a dreaded “404 Not Found” error. Not exactly the smooth experience you envisioned, right?

Broken links can be a major turn-off for visitors, interrupting their browsing flow and leaving them with a negative impression of your site. And beyond the UX, broken links can also hurt your website’s search ranking. So how do you find and fix the broken links on your WordPress website?

Well, I have created this blog to tell you how the professional WordPress development services handle this issue. Let’s begin by discussing what broken links are.

Broken links, also known as dead links, lead to web pages and sites that no longer exist or are unavailable. They appear to be normal links, but in reality, clicking them leads nowhere or to a “404 Not Found”, one of the common errors in WordPress websites. There are a couple of reasons why links break:

  • The target doesn’t exist anymore: Maybe the web page the link pointed to was deleted, moved to a new location, or the entire website shut down.
  • Incorrectly formatted URL: There might be a typo in the web address the link is trying to reach, or it could be missing a key part of the URL structure.

When someone clicks a broken link, they’ll typically end up on an error page, which can be frustrating and disrupt their browsing experience. That’s why the SEO experts consider it important to regularly check the website for broken links and fix them.

Broken links in WordPress can occur for several reasons, impacting the user experience and SEO. Here are some common causes of “404 Not Found” error message:

  • Deleted or Moved Content: When pages or media files are deleted or moved without proper redirection, it can lead to broken links.
  • Changed URLs: Renaming the URL of a page can result in broken links if internal links are not updated accordingly.
  • External Websites Going Offline: If you link to external websites and those sites go offline, your links to them will break.
  • Incorrect URL Entry: Typos or errors in the URL when linking to other content can cause broken links.
  • Plugin Issues: The plugins that manage URLs, redirecting, and more can malfunction, leading to broken links. This includes SEO plugins, redirection plugins, and URL shorteners. (That’s why it’s important to check plugins for compatibility issues.)
  • Theme Changes: Sometimes, switching themes can disrupt custom post types or page structures. If the theme doesn’t support the same URL structure, it can lead to broken links.
  • Server or Hosting Issues: Server downtime or changes in server configurations can result in temporary or permanent broken links.

To mitigate this problem, get help from WordPress maintenance services to fix and ensure the high availability of your site. They can regularly check for broken and use audit tools to maintain a healthy website.

Broken links are the silent destroyer of user experience. But their impact goes far beyond a frustrated click. Let’s delve into why fixing broken links is crucial for your WordPress website’s health:

  • Enhances User Experience: A visitor clicks a link on your product page, expecting detailed specifications, only to encounter a dead end. This can lead them to abandon your site altogether. By fixing broken links, you enhance user experience, making sure they explore more content on your site.
  • Improves SEO: Search engines like Google prioritize well-maintained websites that offer a positive user experience. Broken links can hinder search engine crawlers from efficiently indexing your site and downgrading search rankings. Fixing them ensures a smooth crawling experience, contributing to better SEO.
  • Enhances Credibility: Broken links can create a perception of a neglected website. Fixing them demonstrates that you care about user experience and actively maintain your site. This fosters trust and enhances your brand’s credibility.
  • Improves Website Performance: A high number of broken links can slow down your website’s loading speed. Fixing them improves user experience and also contributes to a faster and more efficient website overall.
  • Reduces Bounce Rate: Bounce rate refers to the percentage of visitors who leave your website after viewing only one page. Broken links can significantly increase bounce rates. Fixing them encourages users to stay engaged and explore your site further, ultimately lowering your bounce rate.

So, fixing broken links is a win-win situation. By hiring WordPress developers, you can fix broken links that can ensure user experience and keep your website running smoothly. Now, let’s explore how you can identify and fix these dead ends.

One of the key reasons why experts consider WordPress as the best CMS is its flexibility and user-friendliness. And it shows in broken link checking as well. There are a few ways to find the broken links in WordPress websites.

Method 1: Using Broken Link Checker

Broken Link Checker is a free WordPress plugin. It scans your website for broken links and redirects, providing a comprehensive report with details like the location of the broken link and the error code.

Step 1: Install and Activate the Plugin

The first thing is to install the WordPress plugin and activate it on your system.

  • Go to your WordPress admin dashboard.
  • Navigate to Plugins > Add New.
  • Search for “Broken Link Checker”.
  • Click Install Now next to the plugin, and then click Activate.

Step 2: Configure the Plugin

Now, you may configure the plugin as mentioned below:

  • Once activated, go to Settings > Link Checker.
  • The plugin will automatically start scanning your site for broken links. This process might take some time, depending on the size of your site.

Step 3: View and Manage Broken Links

For viewing and managing broken links, you can navigate as follows:

  • After the scan is complete, you can view the list of broken links by going to Tools > Broken Links.
  • The list will display broken links, their status, and the page/post where they appear.
  • You can hover over each link to see options to Edit the URL, Unlink, Not Broken, or Dismiss.

Broken link checker offers continuous monitoring of your site for broken links. It has straightforward options to edit broken links directly from the interface. It’s particularly useful for its automatic scanning and detailed reporting of link status.

Method 2: Using All in One SEO (AIOSEO)

All in one SEO plugin offers a built-in broken link checker. While its free version doesn’t include this functionality, you need to pay to use this tool. AIOSEO’s broken link checker offers features that help you identify and manage broken links on your website.

Step 1: Install and Activate the Plugin

For using AIOSEO, first install and activate the plugin, for that:

  • Go to your WordPress dashboard.
  • Navigate to Plugins > Add New.
  • Search for “All in One SEO.”
  • Click Install Now next to the plugin, and then click Activate.

Step 2: Set Up AIOSEO

Once you activate the plugin, now you need to configure it. To do so:

  • Go to All in One SEO > General Settings to configure the plugin.
  • Follow the setup wizard to complete the basic configuration.

Step 3: Use the Link Assistant

AIOSEO includes a feature called Link Assistant, which can help you manage internal and external links. For that:

  • Navigate to All in One SEO > Link Assistant.
  • The Link Assistant provides insights on links across your site. It includes suggestions for internal linking and identifying any issues.

Step 4: Identify Broken Links

AIOSEO can show you broken links as part of its audit and link analysis features.

  • In the Link Assistant, review the list of links and look for any marked as broken or leading to 404 pages.
  • You can edit or remove broken links directly from the Link Assistant interface.

While AIOSEO manages various aspects of SEO, its feature also helps you manage both internal and external links. It provides a versatile choice for site owners looking to maintain link integrity while also enhancing overall SEO performance.

Using these plugins and hiring WordPress developers can ensure you an effective solution to identify broken links. With this finding, now let’s see how to fix them.

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Once you have identified the broken links and their error code, you can fix them based on the various scenarios. Here’s a detailed guide on how to fix various types of broken links:

#1 Deleted or Moved Content

When content is deleted or moved, it can lead to broken links. Setting up WordPress 301 redirects helps maintain link equity and directs users to the correct content.

Step 1: Install and Activate the Redirection Plugin

  • Go to Plugins > Add New.
  • Search for “Redirection“.
  • Click Install Now and then Activate.

Step 2: Set Up Redirects

  • Go to Tools > Redirection.
  • Click on Add New.
  • In the Source URL field, enter the old URL.
  • In the Target URL field, enter the new URL where the content has been moved or a relevant page.
  • Click Add Redirect.

Use the Redirection plugin to set up 301 redirects for any deleted or moved content, ensuring users are directed to the appropriate pages.

#2 Changed URLs

Changing URLs without updating internal links can result in broken links. It’s essential to update these links to point to the new URLs.

Using Broken Link Checker

  • Go to Tools > Broken Links.
  • Find the broken link that needs updating.
  • Hover over the broken link and click Edit URL.
  • Enter the correct URL and click Update.

Update internal links using the broken link checker to ensure they point to the correct URLs after any changes.

#3 External Websites Going Offline

Links to external websites that go offline or change can result in broken links. Updating or removing these links helps maintain a smooth user experience. 

Using Broken Link Checker

  • Go to Tools > Broken Links.
  • Identify broken external links.
  • Hover over the broken link and choose one of the following actions:
    • Edit URL: Update the URL to a valid resource.
    • Unlink: Remove the link while keeping the anchor text.

Ensure external links point to valid resources by updating or removing any that have gone offline.

#4 Incorrect URL Entries

Typos or errors in URLs can lead to broken links. Correcting these errors ensures links work as intended.

Using Broken Link Checker

  • Go to Tools > Broken Links.
  • Find the broken link caused by an incorrect URL.
  • Hover over the broken link and click Edit URL.
  • Correct the URL and click Update.

Fix any typos or errors in URLs using the broken link checker to ensure all links are functional.

#5 Plugin or Theme Issues

Sometimes, broken links are caused by plugin or theme issues. Deactivating/reactivating the problematic plugin or theme can resolve these issues.


  • Go to Plugins > Installed Plugins or Appearance > Themes.
  • Deactivate the problematic plugin/theme.
  • Reactivate it to see if the issue is resolved.
  • If the issue persists, consider using an alternative plugin/theme.

Fix plugin or theme issues by deactivating/reactivating the problematic component or using an alternative.

By following these detailed steps for each scenario, you can effectively fix broken links on your WordPress site. If you need help, you can also hire WordPress developers, who can help you fix broken links and ensure maintenance for WordPress sites.

How can I find broken links on specific pages or posts in WordPress?
If you want to check for broken links on specific pages or posts, you can use the built-in WordPress editor.
  • Click on the page or post you want to check.
  • Then, click on the "Text" tab to view the HTML code.
  • Look for any URLs that are displayed in red.
If you find the URLs highlighted in red, they are the broken links.
What should I do if I can't find the broken links on my WordPress site?
If you've used a broken link checker and can't seem to find the broken links, it's possible that they are external links that you don't have control over. In this case, you can use a redirect plugin to redirect the broken links to a working URL.
Is there a way to prevent broken links from occurring on my WordPress site?
While it's impossible to eliminate broken links on your site, there are steps you can take to prevent them from occurring. Regularly check for broken links, use a reliable link management plugin, and avoid using temporary or outdated URLs in your content.


Broken links can be a nuisance for both website visitors and search engines. So take time to find and fix broken links on your WordPress website. It helps ensure a smooth UX, improve your SERP rankings, and ultimately project a professional image.

To find and fix the broken links, you can use plugins like AIOSEO and Broken Link Checker and consult with the WordPress development experts as well.

Need help with your WordPress website?

Mehul Patel is a seasoned IT Engineer with expertise as a WordPress Developer. With a strong background in Core PHP and WordPress, he has excelled in website development, theme customization, and plugin development.

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