LinkChecker - A Comparison

Firefox has a popular plugin called LinkChecker. Like our products DeepTrawl & CloudTrawl LinkChecker tests web pages for broken links. We tried it out and really liked it. To help people decide between these approaches to link checking we thought we'd write a comparison of their advantages.

LinkChecker in the Firefox toolbar

How does LinkChecker work?

LinkChecker is a plugin for Firefox, you can download it here. After a quick automatic installation LinkChecker places a 'Check Page Links' item on the Tools menu.

Once started LinkChecker checks all the links on the page Firefox is currently displaying. This process seems quite quick so we assume it's checking multiple links simultaneously, not one at a time.

The really cool bit is how LinkChecker shows what it's doing & which links have errors...

We tried it out on one of the pages of our test site (an old broken version of DeepTrawl.com). LinkChecker highlights the links it's checked as it progresses. You can see in the screen shot to the right that it has checked multiple links which turned out to be ok (highlighted in green) and one which failed (highlighted in red).

The style of LinkChecker's user interface is minimal and intuitive; just watch what color the link is highlighted with!

From what we could see LinkChecker will only check the links on one page at a time but if you have a small site this shouldn't be too much of a problem.

Advantages of LinkChecker

  • If you're a Firefox user it's always with you, two clicks away.
  • Very easy to pick up and use, nothing to learn.
  • It's free!

Results shown in the page being checked

How does DeepTrawl work?

DeepTrawl is a desktop application for Windows / Mac. It can be downloaded installed from here.

DeepTrawl is a general website quality checker which has integrated link checking capabilities. It spiders entire websites so every link on every page is checked. While it's working it can perform many other checks, for example checking image links, validating the pages html and doing a thorough spell check.

As shown in the screenshot above DeepTrawl error reports look like the results from a search engine. Every page which contains any kind of error is in the list with it's errors below. DeepTrawl can also show all the errors highlighted in it's integrated html editor.

Advantages of DeepTrawl

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How does CloudTrawl work?

CloudTrawl is a web hosted service. There's nothing to download and installed. It crawls your pages from our servers and finds all your broken links like DeepTrawl. While if you choose to buy DeepTrawl it costs a one-off amount, CloudTrawl is a subscription service. CloudTrawl has other features such as some of the best uptime monitoring available (it'll alert you when your site goes down).

CloudTrawl automatically scans your websites for broken links either daily or weekly or you can manually start a scan whenever you like. The broken link reports work a lot like DeepTrawl's:

Advantages of CloudTrawl

  • Nothing to install.
  • Includes uptime monitoring.
  • Checks for broken links and other errors on every page of your site.
  • Browser independent.
  • Sites are automatically checked for broken links daily or weekly.
  • Create free logins for colleagues and customers so they can see reports.
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