Proactive link maintenance is an important part of stewardship and helps ensure that visitors will not encounter broken links when they go to your site.
Last Reviewed: November 13, 2020
We all know the Web is extremely dynamic, with content constantly being created, relocated and removed. As old pages go away, links to them will break, and when someone clicks that link, they will often see the following message: "Error: 404 - page not found." This process, known as "link rot," has been studied—as many as one in every 200 links will go 'bad' every week.
The UBCMS actively manages its internal links, and whenever possible keeps them current. So when an author moves or deletes a page, the UBCMS will attempt to update the links on all linked pages. But there are several common situations where this auto-correction will be unsuccessful:
Here's a link to a page that no longer exists on another Web server (link).
Here's a link to a page that has been deleted from the UBCMS (link).
Because the UBCMS knows the link is invalid:
This means that your site visitors will be protected from clicking on a bad link, but a link check will NOT reveal any problems. You will need to also look at your page in author mode to catch any link rot.
We encourage you to assign someone to check the links in your pages on a regular basis. For example, University Communications monitors the links on its main pages on a regular basis and makes proactive system-wide updates whenever we learn important pages have been moved.
Every site in the UBCMS has access to SiteImprove, a site management platform that checks for broken links, usability, and other useful tests including spelling. SiteImprove is managed by the office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.
For quick, immediate link checks, most browsers provide free plugins or extensions.