About The W3C Markup Validation Service

Table of contents

About this service

The Markup Validator is a free service by W3C that helps check the validity of Web documents.

Most Web documents are written using markup languages, such as HTML or XHTML. These languages are defined by technical specifications, which usually include a machine-readable formal grammar (and vocabulary). The act of checking a document against these constraints is called validation, and this is what the Markup Validator does.

Validating Web documents is an important step which can dramatically help improving and ensuring their quality, and it can save a lot of time and money (read more on why validating matters). Validation is, however, neither a full quality check, nor is it strictly equivalent to checking for conformance to the specification.

This validator can process documents written in most markup languages. Supported document types include the HTML (through HTML 4.01) and XHTML (1.0 and 1.1) family, MathML, SMIL and SVG (1.0 and 1.1, including the mobile profiles). The Markup Validator can also validate Web documents written with an SGML or XML DTD, provided they use a proper document type declaration.

This validator is also An HTML validating system conforming to International Standard ISO/IEC 15445—HyperText Markup Language, and International Standard ISO 8879—Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) – which basically means that in addition to W3C recommendations, it can validate according to these ISO standards.

Related resources include:

Other resources

Documentation & Specifications

Online Tools & Other Validators

In addition to this validator, the W3C is offering a number of other tools to help you check other types of documents (CSS, RDF, P3P, ...), find broken links in your Web pages, and so on. All these tools are listed on the W3C's QA Toolbox.

There are also many excellent tools developed outside W3C to help improve the quality of Web pages:

The W3C also hosts a number of other Open Source software projects.


The first online HTML validation service was created by Dan Connolly and Mark Gaither.

The W3C Markup Validation Service was created and maintained by Gerald Oskoboiny. In a previous incarnation it was known as "The Kinder, Gentler, HTML Validator" ("Kinder, Gentler" than Dan and Mark's original), but has since found a new home at W3C, and is now maintained under the auspices of the Quality Assurance Activity.

This service uses: