Validate an entire site with the Free Site Validator

Validating the markup of a single page is quick and easy – either install the HTML Validator Extension and get instant feedback in the status bar or use the Tools - Validate HTML option in the Web Developer Extension. But what about validating an entire site to find errors that could cause problems for your visitors (or your clients’ visitors)?

When I recently upgraded this site to the latest version of Movable Type I also wanted to find and fix any errors that had snuck in, either through mistakes of my own or via comments (posted before I implemented HTML validation of comments). Instead of spending hours and hours manually checking each of the approximately 1 800 pages I wanted to find a tool that will index and validate an entire site.

It’s possible to use the instructions provided in Validating an entire site to set up the W3C validator locally and make it check an entire site, but I had problems making it work. Not being in the mood for that kind of problem solving I wanted to find something that just worked.

Luckily I didn’t have to spend a lot of time looking since one of my colleagues told me about the Free Site Validator, a free service that does two things:

  • it crawls the site and validates all pages with the W3C validator
  • it checks all links and reports any that are broken

I’ve used it to check this site and found a bunch of pages that contained validation errors (some of which badly messed up the rendering in some browsers) and many that contain broken links to other sites. Any validation errors that aren’t intentional or impossible for me to do anything about should now be fixed. I haven’t had time to fix the 924 broken links yet though, and I’m not sure when – or even if – I will get around to doing that. Thank you, Link rot.

Posted on October 30, 2008 in (X)HTML, Web Standards

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