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Broken Link Vs. Dead Link: Is There a Difference?

Nov 13, 2023 |  

We use the terms “broken links” and “dead links” interchangeably, right? 

But there’s a difference there.

Understanding these differences is crucial to ensure a smooth user experience and maintain a high website health standard. They can seriously damage a website if you refer to them as broken or dead links. 

This article explains the difference between a broken link and a dead link and lists some of the best broken link checkers available.

What Is A Broken Link?

Broken links are URLs that lead to pages that are no longer available or have been moved. When you click these links, you get a 404 error, meaning the page can’t be found.

What is a Broken link

Causes of Broken Links

Page Deletion

It’s easy to break links when you delete or move web pages without redirects.

URL Structure Changes

A URL change can make previously functional links go to nonexistent pages.

External Websites

The links will break if you delete or modify content on an external website.

Typographical Errors

Missing characters and extra symbols can break links.

Content Updates

 You’ll break links to old content if you don’t set up proper redirects.

What Is A Dead Link?

A dead link is also called an ‘orphan link’ that permanently points to a page that has been deleted or moved. Essentially, it’s a link to a webpage that no longer exists, leading to a permanent error message.

While a broken link might be occasionally functional, a dead link is a permanent issue unless rectified.

Broken link page

Causes of Dead Links

Content Removal

When a webpage is deleted, or its content is removed, the previously active link becomes a dead link.

Significant Structural Changes

Extensive website changes, such as URL format updates or content reorganization, can render previously existing links dead.

Complete Discontinuation

 Sometimes, the linked webpage may be discontinued or taken offline.

Broken Link Vs. Dead Link

A dead link is a functional hyperlink when it was initially created but now leads to a nonexistent web page. This is common on e-commerce sites when a product is unavailable for sale, and the website owner removes the corresponding page.

When a webpage contains a broken link, users are redirected to an error page with information on why the content is unavailable.

Both types of links can significantly impact a website’s performance. They may negatively affect user experience, hurt search engine rankings, or even slow down a website.

Using this table, we explain what a broken link and a dead link are, their causes, and their implications:

Broken LinkDead Link
DefinitionA hyperlink that temporarily leads to a non-existent or inaccessible page.A hyperlink that permanently points to a page that is deleted or permanently inaccessible
Causesi. URL changes 
ii. Content removal 
iii. External factors (linked websites changing or removing content) 
iv. Typographical errors
i. Content deletion 
ii. Major structural changes 
iii. Permanent page unavailability
Consequencesi. Poor user experience
ii. Potential SEO impact 
iii. Missed engagement opportunities
i. Significant user frustration 
ii. SEO impact 
iii. Missed engagement and conversion opportunities
Managementi. Regular link checks 
ii. Timely repairs 
iii. Redirects for moved or deleted pages 
iv. Staying informed about URL and content changes
i. Promptly remove or update dead links. 
ii. Consistent URL and content monitoring

Tools for Fixing Broken and Dead Links

Numerous tools help website owners identify and fix broken or dead links. Each tool can crawl your website, identify any problematic links, and provide you with the necessary information to fix them.

Here are some tools to find broken links on your website:


SuiteJar is an all-in-one SEO tool that’s easy to use and has detailed analytical capabilities. A key component of its feature set is the broken link checker, aimed at enhancing your website’s overall health.

Suitejar broken link checker

You’ll get a complete analysis report, giving you a detailed look at your website’s health. The report includes details like anchor text linked to broken URLs, source URLs, and 4xx errors.


Along with the broken link checker, SuiteJar brings many other features to elevate your website’s performance.  You can also benefit from these features if you need fixing links on your site. These include web analytics, a first-page ranker tool, an outdated page detector, and easy web analytics.


SuiteJar provides a detailed analysis of your broken links for just $9 monthly.


Google Search Console

Google Search Console enables you to track and manage search engine rankings. Also, it provides insights into your website’s performance on search engines. It promotes user satisfaction and improves the website’s overall health and visibility of search engines.

Maintain a seamless user experience and ensure search engine optimization by identifying and reporting broken links on your site.

Dead Link Checker

Dead Link Checker is a straightforward online tool for identifying inactive and broken links. It efficiently scans your website and reports non-functional links, making it a quick and easy choice for primary link checking. 

Whether you have a small or large website, this tool efficiently reports non-functional links, allowing you to address them promptly. It helps maintain a user-friendly online environment and a smooth website experience for your visitors.


SiteChecker is another SEO tool that analyzes your website’s health and performance, including broken link checking. It provides a detailed overview of various SEO-related issues and helps you optimize your website for better search engine rankings.

SiteChecker is a versatile solution that helps website owners optimize their online presence and maintain a seamless user experience. It also improves search engine rankings. 

Screaming Frog SEO Spider

Screaming Frog SEO Spider is a versatile tool for thorough website analysis. It can crawl your website to identify many issues, including broken links, duplicate content, and more. The tool is available in free and paid versions, making it suitable for users with different needs.

Whether your website is small or large, this software can crawl through your site to uncover various issues, including broken links and duplicate content. 

Learn More: Tips and techniques for fixing broken links

Wrapping Up

To conclude, both broken and dead links are important to the health of a website. 

Broken links caused by temporary issues, such as URL changes or content updates, result in 404 errors. Dead links may result from content deletion or significant structural changes. Both impact user experience and SEO.

Using an effective broken link checker tool will assist in resolving these issues. Find broken links, resolve immediate issues, and contribute to digital excellence.

Set up a healthy website without broken links issues.