Link Errors
Troubleshooting Guide
Error Description Action Needed
(301) (302) (307)
Redirects “redir”

(301) – Moved permanently

(302) (307) - Temporary redirect
This error occurs when websites move to a new address and set up automatic "redirects" for a time, as a courtesy for visitors. Coordinators and Peer Reviewers will treat these errors differently.

Coordinators
•    While redirects rarely negatively impact the users experience, it’s a good idea for CCs to use the results to perform housekeeping. Redirects, in particular, will not redirect forever.
•    Find and correct the link(s).

Peer Reviewers
•    Ignore temporary redirects.
•    Ignore the permanent redirects except when troubleshooting broken link locations. If any of the redirects are truly broken, they will show up in the Broken Links section. For example, it might be recorded there as a 404 Not Found error.
(401) “Server error” or “unauthorized” or “Authorization Required”These usually mean that robots like Xenu are not allowed. The link is probably fine. Manually check the link.
(403) “Forbidden request”This code is returned when trying to access a site that it doesn’t have permission to view. The link is probably fine.Manually check the link.
(404) Not foundThe web page is not found. It could be the URL has been mis-typed, or the page has been removed by the owner. These are normally found to be true broken links which are counted as a defect for review purposes.

Manually check the link.  If the link is truly broken, it needs to be fixed or removed.

Note:  There are “404 Not Found” errors that, because of the file extension, should be ignored. Those exceptions are listed further below in this document.

(408) Time outs or Restricted AccessThis occurs when one server does not receive a timely response from another server.
This is not an indication of a broken link, 99% of the time. 
Select “Retry broken links” or press CTRL+R. This may have to be repeated.
If the retry is not successful, check the link manually.
(503) Temporarily OverloadedThis occurs when one server does not receive a timely response from another server.
This is not an indication of a broken link, 99% of the time. 
Select “Retry broken links” or press CTRL & “R” keys.
This may have to be repeated.
(12007) No such HostThere is an issue with an off-site link. The link is a true broken link and Users will receive an error message e.g. “Hmmm…Can’t reach this page”.

If the link is a “mail to:” link, these are often associated with e-mail addresses on pages such as the SURNAME pages. Most commonly, it means the e-mail address no longer exists.
Need to find an alternative link or remove all together so visitors don’t receive an error message.
Use your search engine to find an alternative working link. If unsuccessful, delete the link.

“Mail to:” links: Unfortunately, if you do not know the new email address, the bad email address needs to be deleted and possibly, the information it was associated with.
(12029) No connectionA connection to server could not be established. Usually a firewall or routing issue, but could be that the web application is down. Manually check the link.
Links ending in:
.mso
.xml
.thmx
.iso
.sc
.wmf
These errors will show up as (404) Not Found. These were created by an old editing software and do not negatively impact the user experience.Coordinators:  An attempt should be made to clean up these errors.

Peer Reviewers:  Ignore broken links with these extensions.
Links ending in:
.gif
.jpg
.css
Broken links with extensions .gif and .jpg are image errors that normally show up as a 404 Not Found error.

Broken links with a .css extension have to do with a Central Style Sheet disconnect on the web page.
Manually check the page where the URL is located.
If there is not a visible problem with the page, then we know it is not negatively impacting the user experience.

Coordinators: An attempt should be made to clean up these errors.

Peer Reviewers: If there is not a visible problem with the page where the link is located, do not count the error as a defect.
Empty URLThis error reveals an empty string (“) indicating the user did not enter a value OR the value was removed.
  1.     Identify the page where the error is located.
  2.     Look at the source page for that page.
  3.     Use Find feature (Ctrl+F) to search for “”
  4.     Examples of returned results:
    • href=””
    • src=””
    • background=””
    • style=””
  1.     Repair or remove the empty URL.
Rootsweb URL http://rootsweb.com/~Manually check the link. If it doesn’t take you to a working page or it requires numerous steps to get to a working page, the link needs to be replaced or deleted.
/admin/ appears in linkLink is incorrectly pointing to a Board admin site.  Replace with the correct URL.
Invalid URL
(URL with % sign followed by numbers or letters)
The URL is badly formed or contains invalid characters.
 
Invalid URL Reasons:
  • The URL contains a space.  This is identified with %20 in the URL.
  • The URL contains a backslash (\). URLs must have only forward slashes (/).
Correct the URL.
IGPP and WPA redirects
These are likely due to the http at the beginning of the URL having been changed to https. Today, these redirects do not negatively impact the user experience. However, they should be cleaned up.  Why?
  • They may stop redirecting someday.
  • To get the clutter off your link checker report.
If the links are associated with website pages, such as pages with cemetery tables where the data is linked to IGPP or WPA, then each individual link needs to be changed from http to https.

If the links are associated with either the IGPP or WPA Graves directory, this is an easy fix that does not require touching each redirect.

Update the WPA Graves directory.
  1. Open IA WPA Graves directory site:
                            https://iowawpagraves.org/directory.php
  1. Select the correct county
  2. Download the file using “down load html” link (upper right hand corner of page) & Upload to site “as is”. (This is preferred method – simply save over the existing & old html file in your web editor program)
  3. Tweak as needed
OR
  1. Click on “view html”
  2. Copy & paste the entire html code into your own html doc to upload
Update the IGPP directory.
  1. Open the IGPP directory site:
                          https://iowagravestones.org/directory.php
  1. Select the correct county
  2. Download the file using “down load html” link (upper right hand corner of page) & Upload to site “as is”. (This is preferred method – simply save over the existing & old html file in your web editor program)
  3. Tweak as needed
EXAMPLE - Forbidden Request
This is an example of an error displayed in the Broken Links, ordered by link section of the html report.

https://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/islandora/object/ui%3Atestweber_1672
error code: 403 (forbidden request), linked from page(s):
    http://iagenweb.org/johnson/history/IrvingWeber.html

A manual check of the link proved the link actually worked.
EXAMPLE - Permanent Redirect
This example shows http has permanently been changed to https.

http://www.wwiimemorial.com/
redirected to: https://www.wwiimemorial.com/
status code: 301 (object permanently moved)
linked from page(s):
    http://iagenweb.org/johnson/MainGroup/Schools.html

A manual check of the link proved the link actually works.  This type of error is not considered a defect for review purposes.  Regardless, coordinators should update the link because it may stop redirecting someday.
Sources:
Cheryl Siebrass
Steve Williams
Ralph Leonard’s Xenu presentation:  http://iagenweb.org/state/ig3c_2010/pres_tut.html
HTTP status code overview - Internet Information Services | Microsoft Docs
Find broken links on your site with Xenu's Link Sleuth (TM) (snafu.de)
Xenu (testingfreak.com)
HOW TO: Use Xenu to check and generate a report for broken links (state.wi.us)
Xenu Help (documentation.help)
Invalid URL - Google Merchant Center Help
Checking links with Xenu (integralworld.net)
Created by:Cindy Booth Maher
Created on:10/28/2021
Revised on: 12/12/2021