Spring Cleaning – Broken Links


As this blog slowly approaches the thousand post landmark and more than seven years of existence, I felt some spring cleaning was needed: the blog itself has migrated between three providers, many versions of Word­press and a myriad of plugins. While things are pretty stable those days, I added a plugin to track broken links, and the results are not pretty. Originally I had more than 400 broken link, I now brought that number down to a bit over 100. Exactly like my first home-page, this site is still under construction. I apologise for the inconvenience.

A large number of the broken links where internal to this blog: Word­press, by default uses absolute url for images, so when each time the hostname changed, the link would break. I still found some refe­rences to free.fr, the hosting provider I had when I lived in France. There are also still references to pages generated by a gallery plugin a stop used ages ago.

Still many external links have broken, even links to the wikipedia can get stale as the relevant page gets removed and its content reorganised. Links to commercial websites break fast, academic pages even more. Strangely enough, personal home-page often last longer, they sometime moves, but the content can be found with a simple internet search and the links repaired.

The sad thing is that in many instances, I linked to content instead of copying it, assuming it would always be there. Increasingly for illustrating this blog, I prefer to find some creative common image and have a copy on my blog and reference the original with a link, this way if the source goes away, the blog does not look ugly.

Even links to online galleries like picasa break as the site updates its structure, policies, and protocols. This for me puts a serious limitation to the whole concept of cloud computing, I have files that I have moved from hard-drive to hard-drive for close do twenty years, how long will files in an online storage system last?

2 thoughts on “Spring Cleaning – Broken Links

  1. Yep, I pretty much discovered the same thing when it comes to images. I copy them all locally, it’s easier to manage.

    Broken Link Checker is one of the truly indispensable WordPress plugins, especially when you have a lot of articles (in my case, close to 1500).

  2. Pareil chez moi. Les sites déménagent, les gens déménagent voire changent de pays, c’est la vie.

    Et je ne crois pas au cloud non plus comme quelque chose de fiable.

    On pourrait imaginer une sorte de système de redirection universel mais il deviendrait lui-même un point faible majeur, cela rajouterait de la complexité, et vue la nullité de la population et même des chefs en terme de protection de données même sur le court terme, ça ne serait pas vraiment utilisé hors de la population geek.

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