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Validate WCAG, Section 508, HTML, CSS, Links, and Spelling

Introduction

All of the options that appear on the Links tab of Total Validator Pro are described below.

Links tab

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Report redirects

When checking for broken links you can use this option to additionally report warnings for any links that are 'redirects' to another place.

These are reported as warnings as they are not strictly errors. But because a redirected link can often become obsolete and so broken it may be wise to replace any such links with the ones being redirected to.

Three types of redirects are reported: Permanently Moved (301), Temporarily Moved (302), and See Other (303).

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Link test method

The 'Default' option sends a HEAD request to the web server to test links. This is a fast test that asks the server if the resource exists. If this fails then Total Validator sends a GET request, which is the same as a browser uses, but can be much slower because the web server sends the resource back.

Most servers will respond to HEAD requests, and if this fails then the link is broken. So sending a subsequent GET request is pointless and just slows down the link checking. So you can speed up the test by selecting the 'HEAD' option, which only sends a HEAD request.

Some servers may not respond at all to HEAD requests, so sending a HEAD request first is pointless and may slow things down. So for these servers you can speed up the test by selecting the 'GET' option, which only sends a GET request.

Some poorly configured servers may not even work properly if they receive HEAD requests. So if you are having issues then using the 'GET' option may work for you.

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Timeout

When checking for broken links or validating more than one page, then if a page doesn't respond within 20 seconds it is recorded as broken. If you link to pages on particularly slow Web Servers, then you can use this option to increase the time Total Validator waits before recording it as a broken link.

You can also reduce the time down to 5 seconds if you wish. The advantage of doing this is that the whole process may finish a lot quicker if you do have broken links, but there is a danger that some slow links will be reported as broken.

The value that you enter here must be an integer (whole number) from 5 to 120 representing the number of seconds to wait for a response for a link before reporting it as broken. If you leave it blank it will default to 20 seconds.

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Concurrency

When checking for broken links or validating more than one page some routers cannot handle high numbers of concurrent requests. Also some web servers cannot cope with a lot of concurrent page requests. This option allows you to set how many simultaneous links checks will be performed.

If you have a modern router and are checking a fast site then increasing this value will generally make the validation run faster. Leave blank or set to 0 to remove all limits for the fastest results.

The value that you enter here must be an integer of 0 or greater.

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Link pause

If you really wish to minimise the impact on your server you can set the concurrency to 1 and then set this option to the time in milliseconds to pause between testing each link. By pausing in this way the rate of requests hitting the server will be reduced. If you are testing more than one page you can also use the Page pause option to set a delay between retrieving pages for validation.

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Strip query

Some websites are constructed such that query parameters are dynamically added to links on their pages such that the links are different each time the page is served. This is a problem for Total Validator which treats these links as being to different pages because the URLs are different. This means that it will test the same page(s) again and again.

If this happens to you then use this option to prevent it. The links will then be stripped of all query parameters before being used. Note that this may mean that not all pages are checked, depending on how the query parameters are used.

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Strip session

Some websites are constructed such that session ids may be dynamically added to links on their pages. These links typically add these session ids to the end of the link using a semicolon ';' to separate them like so:

http://thewebsite.com/path/page.html;jsession=123456

This can sometime be a problem for Total Validator which may view two links to the same page as referring to different pages because the URLs are different. This means that it may test the same page(s) again and again.

If this happens to you than use this option to prevent it. The links will then be stripped of the semicolon and everything following this up to the start of any query parameters or to the end of the URL if there are none.

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