Wikipedia:Link rot

Like most large websites, Wikipedia suffers from the phenomenon known as link rot, where external links go dead (also called a dead link), as the linked websites disappear, change their content, or move. This presents a significant threat to Wikipedia's reliability policy and its source citation guideline.

In general, do not delete cited information solely because the URL to the source does not work any longer. Tools, procedures and processes are available as outlined in this document.

Preventing link rot

Automatic archiving

All new links added to Wikipedia are automatically saved to "NoMore404" which Internet Archive runs and maintains. It scans the IRC feed channels, extracts new external URLs and adds a snapshot to the Wayback. This system became active sometime after 2015, though previous efforts were also made. Also, sometime around 2010-2012, Archive.is attempted to archive all external links then existing on Wikipedia. This was incomplete but a significant number of links were added to archive.is during this period making it a major archival source filing in gaps of coverage. Archive.is is still making automated archives as of 2019 though extent of coverage and frequency is unknown.

As of 2015, there is a Wikipedia bot and tool called WP:IABOT that automates fixing link rot. It runs continuously checking all articles on Wikipedia if a link is dead, adding archives to Wayback Machine (if none yet there), and replacing dead links in the wikitext with an archived version. This bot runs automatically but it can also be directed by end users through its web interface. It is available in the page history tab under "Fix dead links".

As of 2015, the periodic bot WP:WAYBACKMEDIC checks for link rot in the archive links themselves. Archive databases are dynamic and changing, archives go missing, move, new ones added etc.. this bot maintains archive links.

Manual archiving

Suggestions for ways to manually improve archiving:

  • Avoid bare URLs. Use citation templates such as for external links sections.
  • If the link is still live but not yet archived, somewhere, login to the archive service of your choice and request the page be archived.
  • Run WP:IABOT on pages via its user interface. Note that Featured content is automatically checked once a week via User:FA RotBot and IABot.

Alternative methods

Most citation templates have a |quote= parameter that can be used to store text quotes of the source material. This can be used to store a limited amount of text from the source within the citation template. This is especially useful for sources that cannot be archived with web archiving services. It can also provide insurance against failure of the chosen web archiving service. Storing the entire text of the source is not appropriate under fair use policies, so choose only the most important portions of the text that most support the assertions in the Wikipedia article. Where applicable, public domain materials can be copied to Wikisource.

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Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Wikipedia:失效鏈接
Simple English: Wikipedia:Link rot