|Xenu User Guide
|About Xenu’s Link Sleuth
This free program checks web sites for broken links. It runs on Microsoft Windows.
Xenu was rated as one of the top 10 link checkers in 2021 by the
Software Testing Help (STH) Blog. STH summarized their findings with
the following: “In Summary: From our research, Xenu’s Link Sleuth is the best value
for Windows users, while Screaming Frog SEO Spider comes after that.
For Mac Users, Integrity Tool is the best choice for all type of
|Set up search settings
||Step 1. Open
the “Check URL” page – There are 2 ways to do this:
- Click on the paper icon under the word “File” at the
top of the page.
Exclude URL’s - There is a field near the bottom
of the page titled “Do not check any URL’s beginning with this:”
- Click on the word “File”
at the top of the page and then click on “Check URL".
Set Preferences – Xenu will hold these
preferences for you until you choose to change them.
- Enter the following URL: http://iagenweb.org/cgi-bin/
- Click on the “More Options” tab, located at the
bottom of the page.
- Under Options – Preferences – Basic:
- Parallel Threads should be set at 30; Maximum depth
should be set to 999
- Check the box beside “Ask for password or
certificate when needed.
- Under the Report heading, check at least, the first
- Under Options – Preferences – Advanced check the
The experienced Xenu user might choose to select additional preference
||If this is the first time you
have used Xenu to conduct a search –
The “Show broken links only” box is visible only when the first link
check is performed. After that, Xenu remembers the setting
for future searches and you will not see the option again..
- Click on the “View” menu item and check the “Show
broken links only” box.
Step 1. Enter URL
of the site you would like to check, using the following format:
Be sure to place / at end of the URL you want to check or Xenu will be
trying to check all of IAGenWeb
Choose a URL you have checked before from the drop- down box.
- Monitor progress of the search on the right side of
your status bar on the bottom of the page.
- When the search is finished, the search results are available in two different formats.
- Xenu main window.
- Web-based report that opens in the browser.
|Click No:||The results are available only in the Xenu main menu.|
|Click Yes:||A new browser window will open with the
html version of the Broken Link report. The non-html report is also available in the Xenu main window.|
Although instructions are provided for both tools, it
is recommended to use the browser report for conducting the most
|View the results
Xenu Main Window Report View
Looking at the Xenu main window where the results are displayed you
will notice the results are color coded:
Sort the list view by clicking at the top of the STATUS
- Red = broken links
- Green = good
- Dark Blue =
Retry time outs and broken links by selecting “Retry broken
links” or by pressing CTRL+R.
Viewing Broken Link
Highlight and right click on the broken link.
Select URL Properties.
In the URL Property window, you will see the following:
- The broken link address is shown in the “Page URL”
- The “title or link text” field shows the text
associated with the link.
- “1 page linking to this one” is an important field
that tells you what page the broken link is on.
Browser Broken Link Report View:
If you selected the first four options during your Preference set up,
the web-based report is returned with those four sections:
These sections are explained below:
- Broken links, ordered by link
- Broken links, ordered by page
- List of redirected URLs
- Broken page-local links
of the instructions may apply to Peer Reviewers only and will be noted
ordered by link
This is where your primary focus should be.
This section "should"
show only real broken links. But it doesn’t...because not
all broken links are created equal. There may be exceptions where the
link is truly not broken. The exceptions are outlined in the Link
ordered by page
This section contains the same information as Broken links, ordered by
link but is organized by page instead.
List of redirected
This section contains links that have been temporarily and permanently
redirected. .As you view this section, keep the following in
“Today’s permanent redirect
becomes tomorrow’s broken link.”
When troubleshooting broken links reported in the “Broken links”
section, it may be necessary to refer to this “Redirected” section in
order to find a page where a broken link is
located. See example A.
Coordinators and Peer Reviewers will use this section differently.|
Broken page-local links (also named ‘anchors’, ‘fragment identifiers’)
While redirects rarely negatively impact the users experience, it’s a
good idea for CCs to use the results to perform housekeeping. Permanent redirects, in particular, will not redirect forever.
Ignore temporary redirects.
Ignore the permanent redirects except:
- when troubleshooting link errors found in the Broken Link section. If any of the permanent 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. Sometimes link errors found in
the Broken Links Section do not specify what website page the link is
on. Therefore, use your Find feature (CTRL+F) to find the
page in this section.
This section is often overlooked and should not be. The
errors in this section are broken links within your website pages. They
may negatively impact user experience. For example, some website pages are set up so a user can click on a
hyperlink on a page and it jumps to another place on the same
page. If that relationship becomes disconnected than the
hyperlink will not work.
A manual check is required to determine if the internal links are
working or not. Broken links need to be fixed
|Peer Reviewers: If the local link is not working and it negatively
impacts the user experience, then the broken local link counts as a defect
for review purposes.|
|Validate reported broken links
||Step 1. Use
the browser report to view one or both of the following report sections:
- Broken Links, ordered by link
- Broken Links, ordered by page
Use the Link Troubleshooting Guide to identify which broken
links can be ignored. The remaining errors need to be manually checked
to determine if they are truly broken.
Click on the page link where the bad link is reported to be.
The website page where the broken link is located, will appear.
Find the link that is supposedly broken and click on it.
If it brings you to the correct page, the link is not broken.
If it brings you to an error page, e.g. “404 Not Found”, the link is
indeed broken and is considered a defect.
Note: if the report does not show the page where the broken link
resides, follow instructions in the “Finding an Unknown Page” section
an Unknown Page
the broken link section of the report does not specify the page the
error is located on.
Step 1. Follow the steps below to locate it.
Copy (CTRL +C) the broken link address.
Open your Find feature (CTRL+F).
Paste (CTRL+V) the file address you are looking for in the search field.
Note: You may find more than one, because sometimes one page gets
redirected to another page which is redirected to yet another,
etc. Continue the Find process throughout the chain because
there will eventually be one that names the county website page where
the error is located. |
Step 2. Once you find the page location:
- Open the page in your web editor.
If the link in question is not obvious, then open the source page (html
version) for that page in your web editor.
Use your Find feature (CTRL+F) to look for all or part of the bad link.
Find and fix the link.
Note: This is an example of an
error that does not provide
the page location. This
404 Not Found
status code was reported in the broken link section of the error
will notice that while the message says “linked from page(s):”, it does
show a page location.
error code: 404 (not found), linked from page(s):
Using the Find feature, a search was
the word “waypoints”. The
for the bad link was found in the Redirects section of the report. The
on the following page:
redirected to: https://www.familysearch.org/search/waypoints/index
status code: 301 (object permanently moved)
linked from page(s):
A manual check of the link on
the Census page revealed one
true broken link: “Page Not Found”