Getting started
with Xenu

404 The page cannot be found

Looks familiar? As websites grow larger the chance increases visitors will encounter this famous “404” message (see Appendix 3: Server Error Messages for a full list of server error messages). Checking your website for broken links should be standard practice. Find them before your visitors find them for you!

Many linkvalidation programs are on the market. Have a look at Appendix 4: The Competition.

Many linkcheck programs set limits to the number of links that can be checked in the trial version. The commercial versions are often rather expensive. What is more, these large programs invest much in layout and interface, which does not always increase their usability.

The freeware linkchecker Xenu has none of that. It easily spiders to over 50.000 links, and has a simple, one-screen interface that shows you all the options at one glance.

In these pages I will introduce you to the most effective linkcheck tool there is: Xenu. It is under 500K – compared to the 20Mb of commercial packages!

You can download the program here.

Download Xenu the linkchecker from the programmer's web page and extract it to your desktop.

Xenu uses a specific file format: .xen. These reports can only be read by Xenu, but their content can be exported as a tab separated file (see Chapter 3: Analysing the results)

Xenu is created by Tilman Hausherr, a German programmer who has named his linkchecker after Xenu, a Devil-like figure (“an alien galactic ruler”) in the mythological world of Scientology (a movement Tilmann is actively opposed to). See Tilman's website for more information about Xenu.

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