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w3schools: The Ugly, the Bad, and the Good

w3schools logoFor the record, I don’t hate w3schools. Apparently, a lot of people find their website useful. And from a human perspective, I’m happy for their success. After all, it’s run by one or more people, just like you and me, who have to feed their families.

But with everything we know about SEO and web development best practices, their ability to remain at the top of search results and also be in the top 200 most-visited websites in the world even after Google has made so many updates to their ranking algorithms, baffles us all.

In this post I’ll attempt to analyze a number of things about the website, both good and bad (mostly bad) and see if we can’t learn a few things and draw some conclusions.

And keep in mind that not everything I discuss here has an impact on SEO – or ever will for that matter – but I thought this would be a nice case study for some general do’s and don’ts.

They Use Classic ASP

Update (Feb. 13, 2014) Apparently, this is not correct. As comments have pointed out, and as pointed out on Hacker News, you can use the command line or an online tool to find out what technologies the site is built on. Evidently it’s ASP.NET on IIS. I knew it was possible to use whatever file extension they want. But I just didn’t think they would do that. Why would someone use “aspx” pages and spoof the file names to look like classic ASP? SEO-friendly redirects should probably be used and they should just use extension-free URLs instead. But hey, it works for them, so whatevs.

Seriously? In 2014? Even after a redesign a few years ago, their pages still use “.asp”, which is basically an extinct platform that almost nobody uses anymore. VBScript, the language used in most classic ASP pages, is #98 in the top 100 programming languages by popularity.

Classic ASP

I was a classic ASP developer for years, and it’s been about 7 years since I touched ASP, let alone coded it regularly. At the very least, couldn’t they reference directories with the “default.asp” hidden, to cloak this fact? In addition, they still have an entire section devoted to classic ASP tutorials (although this is not currently featured prominently).

Script Tag Madness

The code from one of their pages is shown below. It loads at least 15 different script tags, only two of which load at the bottom. Don’t tell Paul.

Too many Scripts

Having this many scripts load in the head without combining them or minifying goes against the fairly commonly known advice to reduce HTTP requests and put scripts at the bottom.

Interestingly, the generated source viewed in dev tools has 25 <script> elements, so they seem to be injecting quite a few of those on the fly.

They Use Inline Styles

Their use of inline CSS is nonsensical and doesn’t seem to have method to its madness. It also looks like some of it is injected with JavaScript.

Inline Styles

There are tons of elements on w3schools that have inline styles and those same elements often have classes and IDs that apply CSS from external style sheets. I have no idea why they would mix and match their styles like this for such a large website that would be difficult to maintain even with good code.

Inline styles have generally been viewed as bad practice for years now for a number of reasons.

They Use Ancient Float-Clearing Methods

Littered in their code is stuff like this:

Ancient float clearing methods

This is done with empty divs and <br> elements. All of which could be corrected with a simple, reusable clearfix.

They Use Tables for Layout

This is not as bad as it used to be. From what I recall, before their most recent redesign, they were primarily using full table-based layouts for just about everything.

Tables for Layout

As shown above, they still use these in unnecessary places.

They Have Duplicate Content

This is something I examined in an older article, so check that out if you want more details – it’s pretty bizarre.

Classic ASP

In short, they have duplicate content under different subdomains. Although duplicate content, for SEO, should be kept to a minimum, this doesn’t seem to affect their rankings. In fact, if anything, it seems to help them.

Their Embedded Code Examples are Ugly

It’s hard to believe a tutorial website as popular as w3schools would post code that looks like this:

Embedded code

Not only is it poorly formatted, but it’s not using syntax highlighting. And that’s just the on-page code examples in their lessons. Their own CSS is just as bad:

w3schools' own CSS

Code, especially in embedded examples, should always use good formatting for readability.

They Use Reflections

For this, I would penalize them in search rankings on principle alone.


2008 web design trends FTW!

They Think “CSS3” is Part of “HTML5”

We should sic Jeremy on them for this faux pas.

CSS3 is not HTML5

And what’s with the jaggedy HTML5 logo in GIF format? Shouldn’t someone who teaches web design know that PNG, JPEG, or SVG would be more appropriate in this instance?

They Use <br> Tags Badly

The <br> tag has its place, but if you’re using it to create margin/padding-like space inside elements (like w3schools often does), then you’re using it poorly.

Poor BR tag use

And often they’re doing this before <h2> elements and inside divs that have classes and IDs attached to them. Clearly they could do this in the external CSS instead or by using paragraph tags.

They Use the “keywords” Meta Tag

Update (April 8, 2014) It turns out, they’re probably using the keywords meta tag for other major search engines, like Baidu, which according to at least one source, considers meta tags as a “major” ranking factor.

Of course, this won’t harm their ranking, but it accomplishes nothing and yet all their pages use it.

Meta Keywords

From what I can see, all pages use the exact same keywords, so it seems to be part of their basic site template and they’ve never removed it. “Just in case”, I guess.

Their Website is Not Responsive or Mobile-Friendly

This would probably be a tough one for an older site that’s as big as they are, but this should definitely be on their to-do list if they want to increase revenue.

Not responsive

(Using Matt Kersley’s tool)

Of course, I don’t think this would reduce their search rankings (does anything??), but they would be much more respectable with a proper mobile-friendly site.

Is There Anything Good?

So that’s much of the bad that isn’t covered elsewhere, and that sure was fun.

But is there anything good we can say about w3schools? There absolutely is, and these factors below might be more relevant than we realize.

Their Pages Don’t Have Major Accessibility Errors

While they do have 56 “contrast errors”, when testing their pages using WebAIM’s accessibility checker, they score fairly well, with no major errors.

Good WAVE results

By way of comparison, as of this writing CSS-Tricks had 3 errors and 70 contrast errors; Smashing Magazine had 4 errors and 0 contrast errors; A List Apart had 2 errors and 12 contrast errors; SitePoint had 7 errors and 42 contrast errors; and MDN’s reference had 1 error and 57 contrast errors.

Their Page Speed Tests are Strong

Amazingly, even despite all the extra script tags in the head, every page of that I tested using YSlow registered with an “A” grade, which is amazing. This is true even on the page mentioned above that loads 25 scripts.

YSlow A Grade

In addition, they get a strong score for their home page and inner pages on Google’s PageSpeed Insights, for both mobile and desktop:

Strong PageSpeed Insights Score

And they score well using other tools too:

Fast pages

MDN’s reference also grades with an “A” in YSlow, but the page speed tests tended to be slower:

MDN's speed test


As mentioned, w3schools’ strong rankings can be infuriating. But I wonder if a lot of what I’ve discussed here has something to do with their ability to maintain their rank.

Naturally, the age of their website and the number of inbound links they have play a major factor in their ranking. But consider the following:

  • Just about all their pages seem to load fast, which we know is relevant to SEO.
  • They use a lot of inline CSS, which, according to recent research, might be a good thing for performance.
  • They don’t overuse various CSS3 and HTML5 effects, which again keeps their pages slim and fast (their home page and inner pages are about 350-550KB, which is reasonably good).
  • They use alt text for images and, generally speaking, seem to have robot-friendly pages.

Yes, even after a redesign, their website still looks like it fell out of the 1999 tree, hitting every branch on the way down. And it’s been demonstrated that they have many technical inaccuracies in their content.

But those things that you and I personally find problematic don’t matter to Google’s ranking algorithm. Nor would it make any sense for Google to penalize them for “old school” practices. That would be detrimental to the integrity of the search algorithm because not only would it contradict giving higher rankings to older more established sites, but it would also go against the web’s friendliness towards backwards compatibility.

After doing this examination, and barring a conspiracy, I’m no longer too surprised that w3schools have good search rankings. And if they’ve helped beginners get their footing in the industry, then that’s a good thing.

Oh, and if you “view source” on any of my websites, you’ll see that I’m not exactly in a position to nitpickingly criticize others. It’s just too fun not to! :)

80 Responses

  1. It doesn’t matter what it looks like or how it was built, what is important is that the content they’re being entrusted to provide by naive users is often awful.

  2. Daniel Imms says:

    I made a post on Google+ recently telling people that they should block it using personal blocklist and it seemed I did something awful as the internet rose up against me in anger. Everyone defended it because they “grew up” on it.

    Their content is still awful/wrong after all this time and simply can’t be trusted. It’s an absolute tragedy that because of their rankings, this is the reference site that all new developers will use. MDN does such a great job on their content (because it’s a public wiki).

  3. Heath Howard says:

    In their defense, a good deal of those issues are that way because it is just an old design and hasn’t been brought up to modern standards and styles, and it would be a huge project to revamp all of it, BUT those are a lot of great points and you do expect better from a site that many depend upon to teach them the basics.

    Also, remind me not to do anything to tick you off ;-)

    • haha.. no, it’s all in good fun/eduction… I wouldn’t normally post something like this unless it’s a really big and well known company/website that has big influence. In that case I think we have a responsibility to make known what’s right/wrong, so others don’t copy bad practices.

  4. The ASP is unforgivable. The rest of it, well it is not easy writing HTML/CSS that displays CSS for people trying to learn HTML and CSS. Unfortunately like most organizations they aren’t loaded with cash, which is most likely what it would take (a lot of) to redesign and develop a site like that.

    • I don’t think that’s the case at all. I think they *are* loaded with cash; they are the 157th most visted website in the world. They make a lot of money from ads, guaranteed.

      The reason they don’t fix those problems? Simply put: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Anything that does as well as they do revenue-wise shouldn’t change a thing.

      I have a friend who has the absolute ugliest website in the world. The home page uses HTML frames (no joke) and the most awful graphics you’ve ever seen. But guess what? He’s on the first page of Google for his niche, and gets lots of business. And just like w3schools, his site grades as an “A” in YSlow.

      He asked me about redesigning and I said: “Why change it if it’s making money for you?”

    • Matt Lee (@mattl) says:

      They’re not using ASP.

      I think they’re actually using PHP on IIS, with possibly some ASP.NET mixed in.

      Look at the output of their site using wget –debug.

      Now browse around for a bit, and you’ll get a nice PHPSESSID in the query.

      • Interesting… but why bother with the .asp extension? That makes no sense, especially since they can easily just rewrite any of those URLs.

        • blufive says:

          Cool URLs don’t change.

          Yeah, you can fiddle around that with redirects’n’stuff. So, they originally used asp back in the early days (when, for all their faults, they were one of the best reference sites there was, because the others were *even worse*) and they’ve preserved their URL structure. OK, they could do new pages with new nice URLs, but that would probably complicate things from the site-coding perspective.

          I’m not saying I agree with their decision, but I can understand the reasoning, and it’s not completely nutzoid.

      • These tools say it’s ASP.NET:

        But I don’t know how accurate those are, or if what you said about the PHPSESSID is more valid.

    • Tiago says:

      “The ASP is unforgivable.”

      And what’s wrong with that? Do they need the coolest and latest platform to show static content? They could use pure HTML from the content I usually check there.

  5. Gorka Molero says:

    Some day in the future they will regard W3Schools as genius

  6. gotofritz says:

    You can complain about using meta keywords all you want, but they obviously know more about SEO than you, given that they are always at the top of the everybody’s search results.

  7. CiNiTriQs says:

    That said… I too started out by finding info on w3schools.
    Of course, after a while you notice things that are wrong or could be done otherwise or … and you find other/better websites/resources.

    Makes for excellent discussions though and after all these years, here, yet again, there is another post on w3schools…
    And the more posts (negative or positive) this website gets, the higher they will be ranking in the google results page ;)

    So we’re all promoting it… by using keywords such as “w3schools” …

  8. hueman says:

    People complain abou it’s design, but it’s clearer than any alternative. It’s fast and simple to search methods, joined by simple examples, makes it a great place to learn the basics.

  9. ikk says:

    I was trying very hard to take this criticism serioulsy, until I got to the reflections “problem”. WTF is that? Do people think “They use reflections, HA-HA, this is so 2008” is a valid criticism? Only those TV “fashion advisors” could be more frivolous.

  10. Alex Thomas says:

    Great read… see too many of the bad things, too often!

  11. Alex says:

    Just as a quick “what if” .

    What if they’re not using .asp at all and are doing a re-write to preserve links in the Google index?

    Surely they have millions of links in Google and they might not wanted to have risked them being removed if they changed their structure.

    I am sure people will mock me by saying they can just easily 302/303 things to the new URL structure but this is a website that is fundamentally flawed in numerous ways and perhaps it was to daunting of a task to do that and they simply change .asp for .aspx or whatever on the actual webserver?

  12. Jasper says:

    so you’re basically jealous at them :) ;)

  13. Bryan Rasmussen says:

    ASP can be written in any Active Scripting compatible language, so unless you can show some actual vbscript it could be written in Python, Perl, or Microsoft’s JScript – their JavaScript implementation. Also other things most likely, but those are the three competitors to VbScript that you can write in .asp in.

    Also it should be pointed out that the extension .asp doesn’t actually matter either in proving what they are actually writing website in.

    The arch cleverness of the article got on my nerves.

  14. Ralph says:

    ASP = A Speedy Page

    I guess…

  15. Ian says:

    Who cares about any of that? It has nothing to do with whether a newb can throw together a web page in under 5 seconds with google and w3schools (which they can). Maybe that’s why they rank so high.

  16. TL;DR: w3schools are clever despite their content, and Google has rewarded them for remaining consistent.

    Despite agreeing with some other commenters about the rather petty criticisms (reflections, using ASP etc), this is a very interesting article, because they have consistently remained top of Google’s rankings.

    I think it was poor researching on the writer’s part to just look at the extension of the pages and assume that ASP was being used, actually they’ve clearly thought a lot about SEO and general good web practice. Defending against link rot has always been a big thing, and it’s no less of an issue now. w3schools haven’t redesigned their site and changed their URLs to wildly different alternatives, they’ve probably (definitely if you look at the site on WBTM) kept the same URLs that were live 14 years ago – that’s impressive, and Google has rewarded them for remaining consistent. They could be using Node.js or PHP if they wanted (though they are just using ASP.NET), and they could still keep the old .asp extensions.

    The content may be poor, but in terms of SEO, there are a few things we could learn from w3schools! So maybe rather than boycotting them, or telling people to blacklist them, we should join Google and try and push them to improve their content, it’s not going away any time soon!

  17. IamACoward says:

    Ultimately w3schools has helped a lot of people get into the industry. This is called ACCESS folks. Paul Irish etc may moan and complain how ever much he likes but he is inaccessible to many newbies. Also point in the direction of your friends and promote your cabals as much as you wish. You can nitpick in many way like w3fools does, but it is to no avail. Your wisdom is fleeting and advice changes with the wind. One day you want something in headers next day you want it inline. But you forget that many of us are small, poor people who want to get things done and w3school helps us do that.

  18. Dreizle says:

    Maybe it’s a 1 man show. They probably practice if its not broken don’t fix it.

  19. John Hannah says:

    This post is such a petty waste of time. As another person noted, it’s an old site that hasn’t been updated to latest standards. Who cares? Very few people are picking through the source code as a learning exercise.

    Best use of time is to discuss great resources instead of spending a thousand words pointing out how one particular site sucks. Despite what you seem to think, it isn’t actually considered fun by most folks to publicly trash other people’s work. It certainly isn’t fun to read and sets a terrible tone for the community of web professionals.

    For shame!

    • John, I understand what you’re saying, but it seems you didn’t really read the post.

      In the end I admitted two things:

      1) My criticism is “nitpicking” and it was only done to have a little fun. Believe me, the folks at w3schools are well aware that they do these things badly. But more importantly…

      2) They are doing the most important things right. The same cannot be said about my own websites and many other popular sites. And that seems to be why they rank so high and users continue to find them useful.

      Ultimately, that’s the biggest compliment I can give them. The truth is, as others have pointed out, who cares about the “reflections”? That was mostly pointed out as a joke. They seem to know exactly what they’re doing and if I was them I’d keep doing it.

      • John Hannah says:

        Yes, I read the post. You have an unfortunate idea of ‘fun’.

        • John,

          I would never criticize in this way anyone in the community who had mediocre influence or who clearly was just starting out or something like that.

          The problem is, they have huge influence, and they are horrible at a lot of things in web development. They’re great at SEO and apparently are really good at optimizing for speed, both of which are important. But those things don’t give them the authority to be at the top, teaching others. So if Google, based on a potentially flawed algorithm, is going to hand them a bag of cash every month, then I’m going to do my best to point out what parts of their website are in need of improvement. Consider this an ‘unsolicited redesign’ if you will. :)

          Also, w3schools is not a member of the “community of web professionals” as you implied in your original comment. They have no interest whatsoever in working alongside other websites, promoting other people’s work, or anything similar that would qualify them as a “community” member.

          But I have a feeling none of this matters to you because apparently constructive criticism of very large institutions who have large influence is not permitted in your rule book. :)

          • Ksenia says:

            Some people just can’t take a joke. I thought the article was witty, entertaining and educating in the same time. Great work.

  20. Francesco says:

    I think the most keypoint of w3schools is that their website looks well organized, containing all the things that one may be interested in.

    Yea, the real content is awful, but the organization allows to easily reach that content, which I suppose helps the user

  21. Ahmad Alfy says:

    I lost it at “Such reflect, So trend”


  22. anonymous says:

    I can’t get it when people say “content is awful” on w3schools.
    Wikipedia is not for scientists and w3scholls is not for professional programmers. That’s it.
    Sorry, not everyone on this Planet is scientist or professional programmer yet.

  23. Scott says:

    This topic really interests me for some perverse reason, so I thought I’d chip in with some responses.

    Firstly, they are NOT great at SEO. They have basically done zero for SEO, and have a few practices regarded as mediocre SEO: using underscores in URLs, file extensions, identical meta description on every page, no XML sitemap. The site speed thing is a red herring, as speed is only a small factor in ranking.

    Their high ranking is almost entirely due to the millions of incoming links to the various pages, which have been built up over 15+ years online. First they got to the top of Google early on. Then, newbies find a page that’s easy to understand and don’t know that they’re missing key information or copy-pasting downright dangerous insecure code. So they suggest it to others and w3scools get linked to from the millions of forums and websites out there. And the cycle continues.

    Despite being a huge site, I get the feeling there are only a couple of people working on the site. Wikipedia says it’s “owned by Refsnes Data, a Norwegian family-owned software development and consulting company”.

    Having said that, the comments like “it would take a long time to redo all the pages” are basically nonsense. Two or three people, working a standard week, could be constantly improving and refining the content. The problem is, you can tell they don’t really know that much about web development, just by the way a lot of the content is written.

  24. Great!! i had fun reading this article

  25. vlad says:

    I’ve always wondered how this website is poping in on first positions on all search results related with html, css, javascript and even php.

  26. Sander says:

    “Shouldn’t someone who teaches web design know that PNG, JPEG, or SVG would be more appropriate in this instance?”
    JPEG? No! JPEG is for photo’s, NOT for logo’s, icons etc. Using JPEG in this case would increase file size at the cost of a lower image quality. GIF is a better choice for this logo than JPEG!

    • A compressed JPEG would be fine there, but there might be some instances where a PNG would be better than GIF or JPEG, to ensure the quality is good. Yes, a logo or icon should be GIF (or icon font) if it’s fairly simple, but if it has some gradients in it or other complex color patterns, then a JPEG or PNG would be better, and probably better to be a PNG.

  27. Syed Qasim says:

    W3Schools is not a bad website. I’m talking about the teaching prospective. Point you mentioned they are good. But for the beginners W3Schools is a good website.

  28. silicon hacker says:

    Louis Lazaris,
    Where is the great code demo web site you built? I would like to see you make something better.
    It is so easy to just march in from behind and pointing fingers like your dealing with something that needs fixing.

    W3schools SEO baffles us all? Do you have any clue how many companies use asp? Because you have choose to develop with a different language the whole world using asp or something different is bad? Then your going to seriously dog on their logo because you do not like the reflection? I am not saying using tables, clear tags, and multiple script tags is a wonderful practice, yet it is valid syntax. Obliviously your browser runs it and that backs up the site by itself.

    Furthermore, one of my buddies recently used their sql tutorials to get up to speed on the basics of sql syntax. And it worked out great for his purpose.

    Look at your own weak website ‘it is sooo’ impressive:
    [1] I tested this page using YSlow and it registered with an “D” grade, which is ridiculous.
    [2] i tested and it registered with an “D” grade, which is more ridiculous.
    [3] Wut? They Use the “keywords” Meta Tag; Funny home page has (meta name=”keywords” )
    look at your listing below: (edited to make the post)
    [!– All in One SEO Pack 2.1.3 by Michael Torbert of Semper Fi Web Design[492,561] –]
    [meta name=”description” content=”Web Design Articles & Tutorials” /]

    [meta name=”keywords” content=”web design, articles, tutorials, html5, css3″ /]
    [link rel=’next’ href=’’ /]

    [link rel=”canonical” href=”” /]
    [!– /all in one seo pack –]

    [4] I have worked with some many people like you who think they are made of golden code. Apparently your too big headed to differentiate brains with hot air. w3schools site has given new developers much love. Personally, I think you can use their help.

    humm look what I found on your site —

    You Use Reflections

    For this, I would penalize you in search rankings on principle alone.


    2008 web design trends FTW!

    i went to some of the pages you list as clients and found all the same mistakes your pointing at w3schools about. When you point with one finger three fingers point back.

    Your still using WordPress, really? I thought people abandoned WordPress sites back in the 50’s.
    _im just saying

    Moreover, I am not saying this is the best site on earth but you make a weak insulting write up and you should apologize to w3schools.

    • Ha, that’s pretty funny because I had no idea that the SEO plugin was adding keywords to my pages…

      Now, you didn’t quite figure out that I have nothing to do with “All in one SEO Pack”… That’s a third-party plugin. “” is not my website; it belongs to the people who built the SEO plugin. I don’t have a clue why a plugin as big as theirs would bother with meta keywords.

      As for the YSlow score, that’s not correct. This page tests as a “B”, and as far as I know, this website generally tests with the same score on all pages (maybe a C at worst).

      As for your 4th point, and why you think that I think of myself as “made of golden code”… Please read the entire article, including the last section, where I had tons of good things to say about w3schools, and also this statement at the end of the article:

      Oh, and if you “view source” on any of my websites, you’ll see that I’m not exactly in a position to nitpickingly criticize others.

      And regarding your other two comments (which I combined into your first one), you’re again thinking that I am responsible for that website. That’s not my website. I have nothing to do with it.

      And as far as “client website”, there is no place online where I currently list client sites, so I have no idea what you’re talking about.

      • silicon hacker says:

        This page tests as a “C” and “D” using firefox firebug.

        Let me lead by example, I apologize for throwing you under the semperfiwebdesign bus if that is not your stuff.

        • Well, if w3schools is reading this: I apologize if I insulted you or anyone else.

          But the truth is, I don’t think they care. They would probably just laugh at this post. They have a very successful business that makes tons of money.

          But if they are going to position themselves at the top of the industry, then it is our responsibility to show people that they are making some mistakes. Of course, as mentioned in the post, most of the stuff I discussed is pointless and means very little in terms of “success”.

          As I said, w3schools does a very good job at many things that matter much more than reflections and clearfixes.

          • silicon hacker says:

            thank you Louis Lazaris,

            i have heard some much negativity about code in general over the 15+ years I have been involved with professional programming. it just makes me crazy to hear people ragging on functioning code.

            if nobody else, I appreciate that.
            Apology Accepted

            silicon hacker

          • No problem. In fact, I’m glad you commented because you opened my eyes to the problem with the SEO plugin (which I’ve now fixed so I’m not a hypocrite! lol) and the problem with YSlow. Thanks.

        • > This page tests as a “C” and “D” using firefox firebug.

          So does w3schools, so I don’t know what to think.

          I get different results on this page with Chrome vs. Firefox. But I also can’t seem to run YSlow as an add-on in Firefox anymore… I can run it as a bookmarklet and it gives different results compared to Chrome. Something’s buggy about that, and I’m not sure why that’s happening.

  29. niko says:

    I think their success come partly from Google and search engines.
    Personally I found their site for the first time from search engine Google. If google didn’t show them up to me,
    I never ever could find them on the web.

    The second part in their success I think is that they allow user to practice on their site. Really great user interactivity.

  30. noname says:

    they consider done a good job for w3school. school is the place we learn the basic. The simple thing they do help a lot for the beginner. Besides, if too complicated that is too hard for the beginner to understand.

  31. It was a great analysis and Thanks for Sharing.

  32. Gary says:

    Hate to say it but 9 months ago as a new developer having to learn on the fly W3Schools was a fast well written (from a learners perspective) resource that enabled me to pick up something new every weekend. I brushed up my HTML one weekend, CSS the next, took on javascript over a few weekends then SQL. In short it took me about 3 months to get up to full speed with what I needed to be successful in my paid job as a web developer. It had been 10 years since I got my IT based degree and so much had changed and I had never used my education professionally. W3Schools was exactly what I needed. I admit through practical application and hours of development learned that W3Schools failed to teach me things that might have made my life easier and less issues to go back and correct after the fact but it was a great stepping stone to get me going the right direction. There are no other resources out there where you can leap through an introductory primer on so many development topics. And I thought it was interesting that w3fools didn’t leave any way to provide them feedback either. Just another perspective

  33. jake says:

    in 5 seconds their site trumps yours, hell i had to scroll to hell just to comment.

    you judge their site way to technically and forget the key to intelligence- simplicity.

    as some one trying to learn this site gave me a head ache inside 4 minutes and i visit their site daily which is super easy to navigate and simple in 5 seconds

  34. Brian says:

    I think you gotta remember a time when you sucked. Let’s face it, that happened. People with no experience, and that suck so bad that they need w3schools are probably thinking it’s pretty awesome. They could probably care less that it was written in ASP or ASS or whatever. They’re probably not viewing the source either.

    My son is 10 and he’s learning HTML for free from some guy that sucks (but who made a convenient series of videos). Do I bash it and correct it and give myself a wedgie? No, because I know my son will eventually learn the right way, which will probably change every couple of years anyways. The key is experience, and w3schools is just a common stepping stone on the climb up from the bottom, which is a dark and lonely place.

    • Jose says:

      You hit it right on the nail Brian. We should just be thankful that these people are at least trying to contribute in some way to the development of possible future developers. I like what W3schools is doing and at least it brings some light to peoples total ignorance.

  35. Jose says:

    So in your opinion, what is the address of a better, more reputable reference website where we can safely learn the proper way?

    • Ty says:

      Hello?!? Second this. Hapless n00b looking to expand into web design but not looking to waste tons of time learning from the “wrong” place. So tell us… where is the RIGHT place?

      • I don’t know what you guys are talking about. The article points out problems in W3Schools own website code. The article does not say that they shouldn’t be used as a source for learning web development. Here are two quotes from the article:

        Apparently, a lot of people find their website useful.

        I’m no longer too surprised that w3schools have good search rankings. And if they’ve helped beginners get their footing in the industry, then that’s a good thing.

        The criticisms were about the fact that they use really bad code for their own website, which doesn’t really matter all that much, but I think it’s kind of funny.

        But while we’re on the subject, there are tons of good free resources to learn web development, including MDN, CSS-Tricks Alamanac, Shay Howe’s tutorials, and lots more.

  36. Elina Jones says:

    W3 schools is the best place to learn web developing, even though it doesn’t covered enough things to do in developing. But it gives an excellent overview about developing.

  37. Come on man! It doesn’t matter how their website looks, What matters is that what useful content they’re providing to the people. Even you may not have the knowledge they’re providing there. And one more thing, Do you suppose you can use CSS3 with html3 flexibly? can you? Come on man, such a crap article you’ve written. You really disappointed me toady Louis.

  38. Elaine Bigler says:

    w3schools is the best resource for the beginners and for all those who really want to learn. I personally complete diffferent courses from this site like javascript, PHP, ASP.NET. Refusing all the bad facts I must say this website is a great source for learning.

  39. John says:

    “Why would someone use “aspx” pages and spoof the file names to look like classic ASP? SEO-friendly redirects should probably be used and they should just use extension-free URLs instead.”

    Perhaps they’re being nice to people who may have chosen to bookmark their pages in the past. People do often bookmark tutorials. Anyway, if the website contains useful information who cares about their own server side architecture?

    • I agree, it doesn’t matter all that much.

      It just seems strange because even if people bookmark the page, it doesn’t matter, as long as they do proper redirects. It’s very common to do 301 redirects and Google does not penalize you for that.

  40. dalva says:

    As someone new to web development, I’ve used them a little and its been pretty helpful. What alternatives do you recommend? I’ve been looking for lots of resources and have found many too but if you have any better alternative for w3schools then hook me uppp!

  41. srentiln says:

    While I personally feel that criticizing others as a form of amusment is a huge contributer to a lot of problems, I think the idea of pushing a top resource of refernce material to improve is a good goal.

    My background with webcoding is as a hobby. I used WebMonkey to teach myself HTML in middleschool (-16 years ago now) and then tizag and w3schools to learn PHP and javascript in highschool. Since HTML5 removed a lot of formatting tags, I’ve been struggling through CSS for my “experiments” in web coding.

    On top of that, I majored in chemical engineering, so that should tell you something about how poorly written (but effective…most of the time) my projects are. I know very little about standard coding practices and even less about writing secure code (other than using PHP for handling sensitive data since it is server side), and I started seeing the problems with W3 after a few projects. That being said, it is still a great reference source for learning the fundamentals well enough to ask for help from the more experienced in a way that doesn’t just sound like, “How I make work?” and then understand the answers they give you.

    So I applaud the blog post in that it informs those who have not recognized it yet and gives credit where it is due. Even more so that, for whatevere convoluted reason google has, it was on of the top results while searching for a reference page for using C and Lua together XD

  42. alex says:

    I think the most keypoint of w3schools is that their website looks well organized, containing all the things that one may be interested in of course this doesn’t mean it is going to look pretty.

  43. 21coders says:

    w3schools is in the controversies for long time now, and I agree with some points but people are ignoring the fact that it is very helpful for beginners.

  44. I totally disagree with Ugly facts of w3schools, however its the best resource for the beginners and for all those who really want to learn. In fact w3schools is helpful for experts as well, because the solution and example given on w3schools is really efficient.

  45. sany says:

    It is really interesting.. but SEO is very important for a new domain. can you please tell me something new about how can i ranked my site?

  46. Zengo says:

    Interesting take. However only Google knows about the rankings. W3schools is a a resource site. Sure it might have errors and that is due to the fact that the code and content is written awhile back when the website layouts were simple. I personally like simple and to the point. Too many sites are full of images and flashy videos and many look great. But if you test them (even small sites) they are slow, not SEO optimized, not designed with customer / visitor in mind, miss the sales pitch or the goal and so on. Google likes them and that is what matters. Really how many ordinary people you/we know that are tech. gurus besides our own circles. Another point is that Universities use w3schools for their students.

  47. Ryan says:

    Guys, sure its easy to criticize others. I can tell from the tone here that none of you have ever left a project behind, unmaintained, with any of these problems in them. I think the term here is “tech debt”. Why would they go back and fix so much stuff when what serves its purpose (to help beginners) just fine. I think you have to remember that these guys have been doing that site since we were all in kindergarten learning about floppy disks.

    Anyway, now that HTML9 is out, they can just auto-tweet-strap it into this century.

    “As you judge others, so you will be judged. And with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

  48. Luis says:

    Any mark on their haircuts?

  49. Armin says:

    probably the have thousand of errors, you can identify them because you already have a strong background
    but what about who doesn’t? sometimes we need a quick solution and we find it right there so I think their intention is to promote the technology to junior developers so I don’t see something bad about it. In fact there are thousand of books with worse errors in code in amazon…so? at the end of the day you take what is useful for you and dismiss the rest…like these negative comments

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