I'm a marketing professional with 13+ years experience. Also, I write about stuff and help people fix problems.
Preface: I discovered this issue while working with a client and wanted to share some solutions and explanations. I'm a marketing consultant and have expertise in this area. Thanks for reading!
Difficulty Level: Easy
Experience Needed: a basic understanding of WordPress
Materials Needed: Admin access to your WordPress site
Time to fix: < 30 minutes
Let's get started!
Why do my links to LinkedIn show up with a strikethrough in them?
You just posted a new page or blog, go to view it, and for some reason, the link to your LinkedIn profile is showing up with a strikethrough in it.
"Well that's weird," you think to yourself. Thinking perhaps you coded it wrong you click on it, and the link works just fine. So what is going on?
Chances are you're probably using a WordPress plugin called "Broken Link Checker". A seemingly-handy plugin designed to help you manage broken links on your WordPress site. Cool! Unfortunately it appears that LinkedIn has blocked all traffic to its servers from this plugin. So what does that mean? It means the plugin checks your link, gets an error from LinkedIn and flags the link as broken. Every time the page loads a class is added to the link (by the plugin) called "broken_link" and is given the text-decoration "line-through" (which looks like a strikethrough). The link still works for your visitors, but since you're reading this article, I'm guessing this is not the user experience you want.
There are two ways to fix this issue. Here is the first fix:
- Login to your WordPress site
- Hover over "Plugins" on the left-side menu > select "Installed Plugins"
- Locate the "Broken Link Checker" plugin and deactivate it
This will deactivate the plugin and your problem will go away. However, there is a chance you want to fix this problem without deactivating the plugin. If that's the case, I recommend the second fix (described below).
Here is the second fix:
- Login to your WordPress site
- Open the CSS file that contains the class titled "broken_link"
- Change the text-decoration value from "line-through" to "none"
A bit of a disclaimer for this one
I've added a bit of code example below so you can see what the second fix ought to look like. Now keep in mind, the exact class or appearance might look different in your editor. And I can't tell you exactly what file the CSS is in, because each theme is a bit different. But if you're going this route, I'm hoping your knowledge of your WordPress site is above the basic level. Otherwise, I might not go poking around in the CSS file ... just sayin'.
Okay ... There May Be a Third Fix As Well.
I'm hesitant to suggest this one, but if you really want to keep the Broken Link Checker plugin active on your site, then perhaps adding LinkedIn to the "exclusions" list is an acceptable solution. I don't prefer this solution, and I will explain why below the how-to.
The third fix:
- Login to WordPress admin
- Hover over "Plugins" on the left-side menu > Select "Installed Plugins"
- Locate the "Broken Link Checker" plugin and select "Settings"
- Click the tab that says "Which Links To Check"
- Add the text "linkedin.com" to the "Exclusions List" text field. Don't include the quote marks.
- Click "Save Changes"
I don't love this fix for a few reasons.
- It doesn't automatically fix the LinkedIn links it already thinks are broken (because they were blocked), so you still have to go through each one and mark them as "not broken". Pain in the ass!
- You could force a re-check of your whole site, but the plugin labels that move as the "nuclear option" and that sounds scary. No thanks!
- Right now it appears that LinkedIn is the biggest site disavowing this plugin, but I've read in a number of places other companies also considering this plugin to be a little too troublesome and won't use it in their development.
- What if other sites implement the ban and you don't notice?
For these reasons I feel the prudent move is to either deactivate or to change the CSS class as described in Fix One and Fix Two (above).
Is LinkedIn blocking the Broken Link Checker WordPress plugin?
Other people have had this problem, where a correctly-coded link to LinkedIn is showing up with a line through it on a WordPress blog, and others have suggested ways to address it without deactivating the plugin or modifying the CSS. I thought she wrote a great article about how to use the plugin itself to fix the strikethrough issue. Others have suggested adding LinkedIn to the exclusion list in the Broken Link Checker plugin.
However, since LinkedIn is blocking HTTP requests (i.e., traffic) from the Broken Link Checker plugin (specifically returning a 999 server error) I believe the best course of action is to deactivate the plugin until the developers are able to fix it and get LinkedIn to lift the ban. LinkedIn is not the only organization disavowing this plugin either. I have seen other companies disavowing this plugin as well.
LinkedIn 999 server error blocking traffic from Broken Link Checker WordPress plugin
Done! Was this helpful?
I hope this article helped you solve your problem. If it did, please consider posting a link to this article wherever you think it might help other people as well. Also, it would be great if you commented on this article.
Have a wonderful day, especially since now you can mark one problem off your list.
Thanks for reading!
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