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How do I search Confluence for an external URL?

I need to find all the instances of an external URL in our wiki. Is there any way to do this through an advanced search?

6 answers

1 accepted

1 vote
Answer accepted

Hi Mandy,

There are some limitations with the Confluence search.  We had an existing feature request to extend the search capabilities, but this has since been closed.  Your best bet will be to use the workaround described here:  This involves using the Confluence database instead.

Kind regards,

Miranda Rawson


The link above is not working.

AnnWorley Atlassian Team Jul 12, 2018

Here is an updated link: How to perform a Confluence site search for keywords and links through the database

In case there is an issue accessing it, here is an excerpt:

For an example, an external URL was inserted to numerous pages but as time goes by, those URL might point to a dead link as there might be some changes in the subdomain/URL path.

To search for these contents, run the SQL query below on your Confluence database. Replace the <INSERT_KEYWORD_HERE> with your keyword. The % symbol represents a wildcard search.
The SQL results will return the content type, title along with the space details including the spacestatus (either CURRENT or ARCHIVED). If a space is Archived, it won't be searchable in Confluence's User Interface.

from content c join spaces s on c.SPACEID=s.SPACEID
where CONTENTID in
(select CONTENTID from bodycontent where BODY like '%<INSERT_KEYWORD_HERE>%')
Like Michael Kortrey likes this

There is a little known feature of Confluence search in that is can also do regular expression searches. Try doing this for your search ...

/.*{your url here}.*/

Now, you will have to format the url to escape out any regular expression reserved characters. The biggest one would be periods. but if you have any of these characters in the url you would need to change them. See below for replacements

\    ->    \\
. -> \.
( -> \(
) -> \)
[ -> \[
^    ->    \^
$    ->    \$
|    ->    \|
*    ->    \*
+    ->    \+
?    ->    \?
{    ->    \{

So if you url was you would search using this syntax ...


@Davin Studer

This is really interesting (and I didn't know about regex in Confluence at all). But would this show me the instances of URL if the full URL appeared on the page OR would this show me if the URL occurred in the source?

I tried that and I got a system error and a HUGE stack trace; am self-hosted running Confluence 6.9.3 on CentOS6.


logo System Error


java.lang.IllegalArgumentException: integer expected at position 3
    at org.apache.lucene.util.automaton.RegExp.parseRepeatExp(

Stack Trace:[hide]

java.lang.IllegalArgumentException: integer expected at position 3
 at org.apache.lucene.util.automaton.RegExp.parseRepeatExp(
 at org.apache.lucene.util.automaton.RegExp.parseConcatExp(

... etc ....

    at org.apache.coyote.AbstractProtocol$AbstractConnectionHandler.process(
    at java.util.concurrent.ThreadPoolExecutor.runWorker(
    at java.util.concurrent.ThreadPoolExecutor$
    at org.apache.tomcat.util.threads.TaskThread$


For example if external site url to search is . This worked in confluence for me : 





This solution works and is simple in application.

Like olisteadman likes this

You guys understand that not being able to find a basic text string in your pages is a pretty major failing of a data repository in this day and age, right?  Sure, there are workarounds.  Sure, you can use a regex.  But critically, when I type a string I know is in there and can't find it, I start asking some very fundamental questions about this product.  Strongly recommend you get the search tools up to a point that they meet basic expectations of a search tool.  This has been one of my biggest issues with Confluence, and the kind of thing that would lead us to consider alternatives.

Even Sharepoint has a way to dredge the entire contents and Find and Replace.  This is 1980's technology, and it is shocking that it is not possible in this tool.

0 votes

Its just a show stopper : to have a wiki where You can not find all occurrences of links You want to update. How are You supposed to keep links updated in Your system?

Again this is just a result of the childish "ephemeral chat" perspective and not a serious, professional system to produce and maintain knowledge.


The response "We had an existing feature request to extend the search capabilities, but this has since been closed." is just unacceptable and rude. I know You don't care, don't need to say it in my face...

If you have access to the Reporting add-on, you can create a report to find all these links. I wrote about doing that here: 

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