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In the many years that I have been doing this, I have heard multiple arguments for and against W3C validation.  Some developers believe that having a site validate completely is the only way to build sites but some, like myself, believe validation is highly overrated.  Below, I will lay out some of the common arguments both for and against validation.




  1. It is believed to help with SEO and search engine rankings.
  2. It is believed to ensure cross-browser compatibility.
  3. It is believed to speed up site loading.



  1. Fully valid code is highly restricted code.  You lose the ability to utilize many modern coding practices and scripts as they are inherently impossible to validate.
  2. The cost of micro-analyzing each line of code, on each page of a site versus the perceived benefit of W3C validation simply doesn’t add up.  If I were to nit pick at such an excruciatingly small level, the sites I create and manage for clients would cost ten to twenty times what they currently do.  If the only major benefit is a marginal increase in search engine rankings (and that is highly debatable) then that is money utterly wasted.
  3. In my experience, fully valid sites are anything but cross browser compatible.  In fact,  in order to get most sites as cross-compatible as possible, one must usually employ tricks, hacks or work-arounds in your code that are definitely not going to be “valid” but nonetheless work well.


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