How to: Check your Jekyll-based blog for dead links

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I thought someone might find this quick tip useful, so I’m writing it up.

The Challenge

I have a blog that has a fair amount of posts now, with some of them being as old as 2012.

I worry that there are some dead links about.

Solution: Using the html-proofer gem and a RakeFile

  • Open your blog’s Gemfile
  • Add gem 'html-proofer' to the file
  • Create a RakeFile

Now you’ll pull down html-proofer in your bundle install. So how do we get it to actually do the installation?

Modify your Rakefile to add something along these lines (my current one can be found here):

require 'html-proofer' # Ensures we have the html-proofer library available to use

def run_htmlproofer() # The function that will run the proofer, so that we can re-use it between our two rake tasks
  options = {
    assume_extension: true, # Assumes html file extensions
    :typhoeus => { # The options for the curl library that's used.
      :ssl_verifypeer => false # This will stop you from getting errors when certs can't be parsed, which doesn't matter in this case.
    allow_hash_href: true, # Won't fail for local links
    url_ignore: [/edit\/gh-pages/] # This is because all my pages have a link to edit them, which will fail when generated locally.
  HTMLProofer.check_directory("./_site", options).run # Calls html-proofer and uses the Jekyll _site folder

task :test do
  sh "bundle exec jekyll build"

task :testwithoutbuild do # For when I just built the site and I'm doing this a bunch of times

How to Use it

Once you have the Rakefile in place, you should be able to head to that directory and run rake test or rake testwithoutbuild which will parse your links and help you out.

I just ran it and ended up updating 20+ links so it’s definitely a great check!

That’s it!

Questions? Issues? Let me know in the comments.

Happy coding!

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