Almost all websites suffer from something called Link Rot where hyperlinks are left to decay resulting in many links that no longer go anywhere, or they point to out of date and unsupported pages.
The page they linked to may have been removed or they are simply no longer referencing a correct location.
There are also errors in linking which could mean some links on the pages simply don’t work.
It would make sense to keep on top of the links in the first place avoiding time spent maintaining them, but this is easier said than done when faced with developing commercial sites and applications.
Dead-links can hint at other issues and areas of concern for the keen web Tester.
There are many tools out there that will scan your site, provide you with a list of dead-links and then suggest ways to fix the problem.
Mostly it is a case of just removing the offending link from the page but this can also come with it’s own problems.
Download a link-checking tool, like Xenu, add in your URL and then go through the report.
How about running a dead-link checking tool as part of your Continuous Integration or Overnight Build Process?
That way you can see dead-links after an automated test run.
Xenu Link Checker – http://home.snafu.de/tilman/xenulink.html
W3C Checker – http://validator.w3.org/checklink
Broken Link Checker Tool – http://www.brokenlinkcheck.com/
If you want to talk Testing – catch me later this year at EuroSTAR conference.