FamilySearch Wiki:WikiProject Finding broken links using Pinger

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Finding broken links on wiki pages


Purpose[edit | edit source]

The purpose of this project is to use the Pinger program to identify broken links and fix the broken links on wiki pages.

Project Contact[edit | edit source]

Danielle Batson

Task Page[edit | edit source]

Instructions[edit | edit source]

Link to FamilySearch Template instructions

This project is in two parts:
PART A: Using Pinger
PART B: How to find the correct links using the Wayback machine on

Part A - Finding Broken Links with Pinger[edit | edit source]

Step 1 - Obtain the Pinger Add-on[edit | edit source]

1. Open your Firefox browser and copy and go to this website: Pinger Add-on
2. Click on green button: Add to Firefox. Once it's loaded, restart Firefox. (remember that you only need to add Pinger to Firefox once)
3. Once you are back in Firefox, navigate to the wiki and to the page you want to check links on.
4. Once on the wiki page, right click anywhere on the page and when the menu opens, click on, Ping All Links
5. The page will fill with different colors over the links:

  • Green: good links (link is good)
  • Gray: skipped links (you need to check the link yourself)
  • Red: broken links (you need to fix the link)
  • Orange: Timed out (you need to double check the link)
  • Yellow: (we think it also is a time out or did not respond, double check the link)

6. A report shows up on the screen giving you the results of the test. To get the report to disappear, click on the dark gray around the report. If you are farther down the page, you must go back up to the gray area and click on it.

  • Some red links may not be truly broken. We’ve found some pages that have search fields may be a false positive for being broken, such as for the main page of Ancestry. Just skip them.
  • If you find a broken link that is on more than one page, send Danielle a message on Yammer the old link and the new link, and we will do a Replace Text to fix them all.
  • If the wiki page does not respond when you click on Ping All Links or fails to open the menu, trying closing Firefox and opening it up again.
  • Note that the report may give more broken links than appear red on the page.

Part B - Finding New Link[edit | edit source]

Step 1[edit | edit source]

Go to: This website has what is called a Wayback Machine. The Wayback Machine has a history of what a URL used to contain.

Step 2[edit | edit source]

In the Wayback machine URL field, paste in your link and press enter.


Step 3[edit | edit source]

You will now see a calendar that lists when the webpage was archived. Choose a date that has a blue circle around it to see what the page looked like. It is suggested to try a day in the previous year. If the page shows up as a broken link, then try a date 6 months earlier until you see a web page.


Step 4[edit | edit source]

If the Wayback machine does NOT have an original version of the page, try to see if it contains a copy.   Go to: 

Delete the http:// in the Enter URL field and paste the broken URL.


Step 5[edit | edit source]

  • Once you find the old webpage, go to Google and searching for the new URL. Try taking the beginning portion of the URL to locate a possible page. Also try googling some key words on the old page along with the first part of the URL.  '
  • For the broken link: from the Wayback Machine you see the words: the name of the website: Illinois State Archives and the database it’s linking to: Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, 1763-1900
  • Type in google: Illinois state archives statewide marriage index 1763-1900
  • Try out each of the URLS until you find a good match. For this example, the correct match is:

Step 6[edit | edit source]

With the correct new URL, go to the wiki county page and replace the broken link with the new one you have found.  Be sure to check the page once you have updated it to be sure the new link you added works.

***NOTE: If you are unable to locate a new link for the broken URL, put the link and identifying information on this spreadsheet. Leave the reference on the wiki page and we will double check it.