Eliminating Bad/Dead Forum Links

Pigoo

Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 20, 2018
Messages
246
Let's say you have a large or older forum with 1000's & 1000's & 1000's of links in all your threads. Links in threads from discussions over the years...many of the discussions were timeframe dependent (not really relevant 5 or 10 years later)...and thus many of the links have been lost to the ever changing internet.

Let's also say you ran some "bad link" checking tools...and found you have 1000's of bad links on your forum (dead links, 404 error's, time-out's, etc.). These could be dead links from a thread started yesterday...2 years ago...or links in threads from 5-10 years ago.

Given that there could be 1000's & 1000's of bad links...is this pretty much a manual process where you need to deal with each bad link one by one...or is there a faster method?

How would you go about dealing with this?:

* "Fuhgeddaboudit" (not worth the effort)?
* Somewhat important...fix as many as possible.
* Very important...fix everything ASAP!

Thanks
 

Zelda

Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 25, 2021
Messages
123
I would strongly suggest that you keep after such things as they happen instead of going back as you are now. But since the damage is already done, I would back up the database and do some search replaces directly through MySQL. If you're dealing with only internal links, this can be done fairly easily using search and replace. But if you're talking about your external links, I hope that tool you used informed you exactly what those links are. You can do the same search and replace, but it will be a lot more time-consuming. But I digress. This is something you should have kept up with long ago.
 

truthingtotruth

Aspirant
Joined
Jan 26, 2015
Messages
151
I'd be interested to know if you, Zelda, have some sort of system for that idea of keeping up with it?

I mean, when should we view a link as no longer useful? Only when it leads to a 404 page?

Now that may seem an odd question - - - that 404 page part - - - but I have actually found a link to no longer be valid as useful information during a research process.

But I am very interested in whether you have some sort of really cool system you've come up with and tweaked until it works; if you can share it with us.
 

zappaDPJ

Administrator
Joined
Aug 26, 2010
Messages
7,741
I afraid I don't have a solution but I do have a question assuming the links are external. If you do find a method to find and replace what would you replace them with?
 

Pigoo

Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 20, 2018
Messages
246
Maybe I should clarify the original situation in post #1...so that everyone can identify a bit better. The hypothetical/real situation is...what if you're an experienced owner/administrator of internet forums...and you just purchased or were just put in charge of a forum that was recently acquired....and it's a forum that's been around for years & years. You're doing a review of the forum (structure, forum staff, plugin's installed, forum culture, etc.)...also as part of the review you're looking "under the hood".

Part of this looking under the hood is using tools that access how "healthy" the forum is (Google Analytics, Google Search Console, SEO tools like SemRush, etc.). It's a big forum with a lot of threads & posts...you run a tool that looks for bad/dead links (404 error's mostly)...and after scanning the whole site for 404 error's...you find out there's something like 2,000 bad/dead links (big number)!

You want to preserve the integrity/quality of the information on the site (since something that was discussed 5-10 years ago could still be very relevant today...and topics searched often via search engines bringing visitors to the site). These forum discussions simply may contain bad/dead external links (due to the ever changing nature of the internet). Sure each dead link could be removed getting rid of the 404 error...but maybe (if possible)...a better solution would be to replace the dead links with new active links to maintain the quality & richness of threads.

Back the the main questions:

* If you had like 2,000, 4,000, or more of these bad links to deal with...how would you handle the work load (is there an easy way...or need to deal with each of them one by one)...and just set a goal of correcting x-number of them each day until all 404's are eliminated/bad links replaced with good links?

* Does it even make sense to deal with it (with such a mountain of work)...or just leave it as is (would correcting all of them make the Google Crawler "happy/happier"...and lead to better rankings)?

Thanks for any tips, insights, thoughts, or opinions.
 

Cyburbia

šŸŗ
Joined
Jan 14, 2004
Messages
743
Can I piggyback on this thread with a dumb question?

A lot of old posts on my XenForo-based site have [IMG] links to images that were once hosted on TinyPic and Imageshack. Those posts are now filled with broken image icons and TinyPic error blurbs. (Unfortunately, I couldn't cache or download the TinyPic images before that hosting site went dark.) Does anyone have any idea for a MySQL query that can search through posts, find these dead [IMG] links, and delete them, or at least replace them with a simple "[missing image]" note?

Manually checking posts for broken links and editing them out could take years, especially if there's hundreds of thousands of individual posts. It would be great if there was an extension that would automate the task, similar to the bookmark checking extensions for Web browsers. Somewhat related: I added thread subject prefixes to my board several months ago. I feel overwhelmed when I add prefixes to a bunch of old threads. I think "42,000 threads, add prefixes to 20 each day, finish in ... six years.
 

afaast

Aspirant
Joined
Jul 15, 2012
Messages
33
Can I piggyback on this thread with a dumb question?

A lot of old posts on my XenForo-based site have [IMG] links to images that were once hosted on TinyPic and Imageshack. Those posts are now filled with broken image icons and TinyPic error blurbs. (Unfortunately, I couldn't cache or download the TinyPic images before that hosting site went dark.) Does anyone have any idea for a MySQL query that can search through posts, find these dead [IMG] links, and delete them, or at least replace them with a simple "[missing image]" note?

Manually checking posts for broken links and editing them out could take years, especially if there's hundreds of thousands of individual posts. It would be great if there was an extension that would automate the task, similar to the bookmark checking extensions for Web browsers. Somewhat related: I added thread subject prefixes to my board several months ago. I feel overwhelmed when I add prefixes to a bunch of old threads. I think "42,000 threads, add prefixes to 20 each day, finish in ... six years.
Have you seen the Post Content Find / Replace tool created by Xenforo? https://xenforo.com/community/resources/post-content-find-replace.5748/

You can use regex to find basically anything and replace it with something else or nothing. Make sure to backup before your database until you are confident using it.
 
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