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Perfect HTML—Painlessly

Use a Validator to Create Flawless HTML


Have you ever spent three hours writing “perfect” HTML only to have it display incorrectly on your screen? How long does it take to find the missing </td> in a large table? And I haven’t met a web developer yet who didn’t make spelling errors. Even if you are different from me and never make mistakes in HTML, wouldn’t it be nice to know if your pages display differently between Firefox and Internet Explorer? Plus, search engines prefer sites with correct HTML and rank them higher than sites with HTML errors.

With HTML validators, you don’t have to look any further than the web to get clean, clear HTML in minutes. There are many validators out there, here are my three favorites:

Doctor Watson

Doctor Watson from Addy.com is a somewhat simpler than Doctor HTML, but it also does link checking, word counts, spell checking, and even link popularity for the site. I love using this when I am adding a page to our website created by an outside vendor.


The NetMechanic robots from NetMechanic.com add another power tool to your web pages — link checking. This is especially useful if you have a web page of links that you haven’t updated in a while. NetMechanic will walk through your site and find all the non-responsive links. It will then email you a report with the results for your page. I especially like that I can set NetMechanic up to check my site and it will email me the results (whether validating the HTML or checking links). This means I don’t have to wait for the results but can continue to write HTML.

Fixing Your Website

Fixing Your Website bought my personal favorite, Doctor HTML. This is a validator that is easy to use and gives a lot of information about your page:

  • checks for spelling errors from a standard US dictionary
  • analyzes image syntax and gives pointers to make your pages load faster
  • verifies the HTML structure
  • checks table and form structure
  • verifies hyperlinks
  • provides an HTML command hierarchy

There are many web validators available, I evaluated a lot of them to compile a list of the Best HTML Validators.

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