Broken pages test

This test was replaced with the Faults test in October 2018.

What is it?

A broken page is a page which appears to not work as expected – for example, displaying an error message or being empty.

Why it matters

Broken pages compromise user experience, and are commonly associated with:

  • Technical problems
  • Security vulnerabilities
  • Out of date content

How to use it

Insites displays the list of broken pages as a table:

For each page, you can see:

  • Magnifying glass – this opens the Inspector, which shows you how Insites saw that page.
  • Live page – click on the web address to view the page as it appears now.
  • Status – this is the type of broken page (see below)
  • HTTP code – technical information that can help understand the problem – see HTTP status code

Some broken pages may have been caused by the website being unavailable at the time it was tested.

Types of broken page

  • Missing pages. These are pages which used to exist (i.e. Insites tested them in the past) but which do not exist anymore. As a general rule, you should redirect old pages to newer alternatives to avoid link rot.
  • Empty pages. Pages which contain no visible content, i.e. no text, images, or video. These are usually the result of an error by the website.
  • Error messages. Pages which display a recognized error message, such as a database failure or code error. These should never be visible, and can indicate a security risk with the website – hackers may be able to identify information about the website’s servers where error messages are displayed, and it is likely that the page is not working as expected.
  • Malformed pages. Pages which claim to be HTML, but are not. For example, a page without any HTML tags.
  • Other pages. Any other error, such as a fault with the server returning the web page (specifically, any HTTP status code beginning with 4 or 5, excluding 404).