Home Uncategorized Checking If Page Contains a Link In PHP

Sometimes it is necessary to verify that a given page really contains a specific link. This is usually done when checking for a reciprocal link in link exchange scripts and so on.

Several things need to be considered in this situation :

  • Only actual links count. A plain-text URL should not be accepted.
  • Links inside HTML comments () are are no good.
  • Nofollow’ed links are out as well.
Here’s a PHP function that satisfies these requirements
function contains_link($page_url, $link_url) {
    /* Get the page at page_url */
    $ch = curl_init();
    curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_URL, $page_url);
    curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER,1);
    curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_FOLLOWLOCATION, 1);
    curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_USERAGENT,
      'Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.01; Windows NT 5.0)');
    curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_CONNECTTIMEOUT, 30);
    curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_TIMEOUT, 60);
    curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_FAILONERROR, true);
    $html = curl_exec($ch);
    if(!$html) return false;
    /* Remove HTML comments and their contents */
    $html = preg_replace('//i', '', $html);
    /* Extract all links */
    $regexp='/(]*href\s*=\s*[\"\']?)([^\'\" >]+)([\'\"]+[^<>]*>)/i';
    if (!preg_match_all($regexp, $html, $matches, PREG_SET_ORDER)) {
        return false; /* No links on page */
    /* Check each link */
    foreach($matches as $match){
        /* Skip links that contain rel=nofollow */
        if(preg_match('/rel\s*=\s*[\'\"]?nofollow[\'\"]?/i', $match[0])) continue;
        /* If URL = backlink_url, we've found the backlink */
        if ($match[2]==$link_url) return true;
    return false;
/* Usage example */
    echo 'Reciprocal link found.';
} else {
    echo 'Reciprocal link not found.';

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