Why validate your website?
Validation basically helps you to ensure that everyone gets the same experience when viewing your website. Having a standards compliant site usually means it will work on most browsers (there are always some holdouts… yes IE 6 we are talking about you).
What do you use to check your site?
The best way is to use a variety of online services, some will check the HTML, others the CSS and some services can check both. It’s worth noting that sometimes sites just will not pass all validation – see the last section before you panic!
W3C Validator – https://validator.w3.org/– W3C is the standards authority, so nothing is better than to test your site on this. Just visit the link and submit a URL, if you want you can paste your HTML directly. With a variety of options, you can get more or less feedback as much as you require.
SilkTide Validator – http://www.silktide.com/ – Silktide is well respected online. Their validator not only checks your HTML against the standards but also gives you feedback on accessibility along with hints and tips to make your site more usable by everyone.
How about your CSS?
CSS controls the look and style of your site – there are not as many places to check this – so one choice is below:
W3 – http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/– W3.org’s validator allows your to check your CSS – this will pick out common issues (for example having the same background colour as other elements such as borders – or more obvious flaws within your CSS.
Hang on.. my site doesn’t validate??
Don’t Panic… If many people are honest a lot of sites don’t validate, and they do not have to validate! Validation lets you fix more obvious errors in your structure if your site passes great – but some sites will struggle just because of the layouts required. What’s your alternative?
Simply test it in many browsers – if it looks and works as you want it to – go with it, do fix any major errors – but otherwise don’t panic too much!