Free HTML / CSS / Link Validators

Checks for HTML / CSS errors, browser compatibility, broken links, standards compliance

Free HTML / CSS / Link Validation - Check for Errors, Standards Compliance, Broken Links

In a nutshell: this page lists HTML validators (which check HTML code for standards compliance and errors), CSS validators (which check Cascading Style Sheets for errors and standards compliance), browser compatibility checkers (checks your page to see if it is compatible with various browsers), broken link (or dead links) checkers, accessibility checking (check if your web page is accessible to people with disabilities), etc. Note that this page lists both free online services as well as free offline tools (programs).

If you have arrived here looking for a way to create your own website, you may find it more helpful to start with How to Create / Make a Website instead. The tutorial takes you through all the steps needed to start your own site in an easy-to-understand manner.

Those puzzled by the terms "HTML" and "CSS" may want to read the article What is HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP and Perl? Do I Need to Learn Them to Create a Website?. For more information about validation itself, see What is HTML and CSS Validation? Should You Validate Your Web Page?.

Finally, besides using the validators, if you want to check your web page for accessibility, you might also be interested in the Free Screen Readers: Text to Speech Conversion page. There's nothing like using the very tools that are used by the blind to experience what they face when they arrive at your website. My primer on accessibility, How to Improve the Accessibility of Your Website may be useful too.

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Free HTML Validators, XHTML Validators, Browser Compatibility Checkers

W3C HTML Validation Service

You can use the W3 Consortium's HTML validator to check your web documents either by giving it your web page's URL or uploading your document directly to the validator. Many people consider it the authoritative source for checking your web pages for standards compliance (since the W3 Consortium is responsible for the various HTML/CSS standards). Source code for the validator is also available.

HTML Tidy (HTML Validator)

HTML Tidy is an HTML validator that is able to check your web pages and correct (ie, repair / fix) bad HTML code, or point out areas that you need to change in order to make your site accessible to people with disabilities. The program is free, runs on a variety of systems including Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, etc. This is an open source program. Note: the newest version, located at the above address, did not have any executables/binaries (programs that are ready-to-run) available at the time I wrote this entry, since the programmers were still testing it. The executables may already be downloadable by the time you read this, but if they are not, you can still find older versions at the original HTML Tidy Library Project page with binaries for Windows, Mac OS, Atari, Amiga, BeOS, AIX, Linux, UnixWare, HP-UX, MSDOS, Solaris, OS/2, FreeBSD, RISC OS, MiNT (Atari) OS, etc. The old version does not have support for HTML5.

Web Page Purifier

The Web Page Purifier allows you to check your HTML pages for compliance ("purity") with the older HTML standards (HTML 4.0 and earlier). There's a form where you can enter the URL of the page to check, or you can also download the Perl CGI source code.

Free Web Page Accessibility Checkers

WAVE Accessibility Tool

WAVE checks your web page for compliance with various accessibility standards. It loads the page or URL you supply, and re-displays it with icons placed at various parts of your page indicating whether that particular portion creates accessibility problems or not. You can use it for a page on the web, upload a page from your hard disk, install a toolbar in your browser or add a bookmarklet (a bookmark that executes a JavaScript) that when clicked will send the current page for evaluation.

Cynthia Says Portal

Cynthia checks your site against the US Section 508 standards and the Web Content Acessibility Guidelines (WCAG). It only allows you to test one page at a time.

ATRC Web Accessibility Checker

[Update: this service is no longer available.] The ATRC Web Accessibility Checker is a free online service that checks your website for accessibility issues. You can use it by either supplying it with your website's address or by uploading the page you want to test from your browser.

Free Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) Validators

W3C CSS Validation Service

This is the W3 Consortium's CSS validator for validating Cascading Style Sheets. You can either download it and use it on your own machine, upload your cascading style sheet (CSS) to their online service, or supply your URL for their spider to visit your site. The W3 Consortium is responsible for the various CSS and HTML standards.

CSSCheck: Cascading Style Sheets Lint

This is a validator for Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) that also looks into a few browser compatibility issues with your style sheet.

Free Broken Links Validators

W3C Link Checker

Worried about broken links in your web documents? This online validator from the W3 Consortium is able to recursively check your document for dead links. You simply enter a URL in the form provided, and it will visit your site and check the links.

AnalogX LinkExaminer

LinkExaminer checks the links found on a web page and gives a report on whether those links are broken, blocked by a robots.txt instruction, relative links, dynamically generated, etc. It even gives reports on things like how many links have to be clicked before a page can be reached on your site, its title, and the number of inbound links you have on your site pointing to that page.

Xenu Link Sleuth: Find Broken Links

Xenu is a utility for Windows that checks your web site for broken links. It can work both with a "live" website as well as on a copy of your web site residing on your own hard disk. It's a favourite of many webmasters for checking broken links on their site.

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