Friday, July 18, 2008

Dead.licious: Checking for bad links

Websites come and go... and when websites go away, they leave bad links behind! The accumulation of dead links is sometimes called "link rot" - and it is a major annoyance indeed. Luckily, there are some great tools that will alert you when any of your links has gone bad so that you can either delete the link, or update the address if the site has simply moved. Finally: a way to help put a stop to link rot!

In this post, I'll describe how I use dead.licious to keep my tags clean and up to date. This is a Macintosh tool - but you can find a similar tool for Windows listed at the website, along with some other great tools for Windows and for Macintosh.

To download and install dead.licious, just go to the dead.licious page at Malarkey Software. Whatever you do, don't click on the "Cats" link, because you will end up spending a lot of time looking at the adorable pictures of the programmer's two cats, Darwin and Pascal! :-)

You will be prompted to download a zip file to your computer. Just unzip the file, and drag the dead.licious icon from the unzipped dead.licious folder into your Applications folder, and you are ready to go!
When you run the program, you will be prompted to log in to your account. The program then goes and fetches all your links and checks them one by one to make sure the link still works. It cannot check to see if the content is still the same, of course - but if there is a link which is broken, it will alert you so that you can either delete the link, or correct the bad address. This process can take a while depending on the number of links, but there's a handy status bar that lets you know how the process is going:

This link checker is yet another fantastic reason to use to maintain your link lists. If you try to maintain a links list as a static webpage, it is a lot of trouble to add new links... and you are going to have a terrible time chasing down bad links. With, you can add new links to your list in a single click from your browser, with utilities like dead.licious you can keep your link list free from link rot! Yeah!!!

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