FAQ W3C Webmaster Frequently Asked Questions [FAQ]

W3C Webmaster

Jules Clément-Ripoche is the W3C Webmaster. He receives hundreds of email messages daily, and is often unable to handle your requests personally.

Please read the information below carefully; there's a very high chance that you'll find your answer here...

  1. I'm looking for information on ...
  2. I'd like to use the W3C search engine
  3. I can't access...
    I can't find ...
    and CERN Error Messages
  4. Change this information / fix this link
  5. Please add this link
  6. I need technical assistance
  7. Can I use the W3C icon on my site?
  8. Intellectual Property Rights
  9. HTML Validation Service
  10. I can't uncompress the HTML 4 recommendation
  11. I've found your homepage in the source code of a web page
  12. I'm receiving spam from W3C
  13. Your website is displaying instead of my homepage
  14. Remove my message from the archives
  15. My browser tries to download your homepage instead of displaying it
  16. Where do I find the DTDs for specification X?
  17. Where do I find the list of elements or attributes for specification X?
  18. How do I get my product linked from your Website?
  19. Why is W3C blocking my IP?
  20. If All Else Fails...

1. I'm looking for information on ...

On the W3C Web Site

You can go to the Site Index. You can also use the W3C search engine.

On the World Wide Web

The best way to find information on any subject on the World Wide Web is to visit any of several search services, also known as search engines. These sites allow you to look up information on just about anything, and will point you to the best places on the web to learn more about your topic. Suggested search engines to start with are:

The W3C Webmaster will not be able to help you find information on general topics, and will only point you to these sites.


Question: Where can I find information about wombats?

Answer: Visit one of the above search engines and look up "wombats".

Question: What is the capital of Morocco?

Answer: Visit one of the above search engines and look up "Morocco".

Question: I'm interested in more information on the World Wide Web.

Answer: Visit the World Wide Web FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions). You may also find information by visiting one of the above search engines.

2. Using the W3C search engine

If you are looking for information on the W3C site and only on our site, then we recommend you use our search engine. It allows you to search our Web site as well as our mailing lists archives.


Simple Tips

Fancy features

You can use keywords to adjust your search:

Advanced search


To find all the documents containing the word XHTML:


To find the tidy homepage:


3. I can't access...
I can't find...
and CERN Error Messages

The W3C works with the global community to produce specifications and reference software. However, we do not maintain or have control over all the information which exists on the World Wide Web. If you have trouble accessing information which begins with http://www.w3.org/, or with anything at the W3C Web site (such as links to other sites), then the W3C Webmaster is the right person to contact.

For any problems not connected with http://www.w3.org/, you will need to contact the webmaster or system administrator of that Web site.

If you have ended up at www.w3.org after trying to reach a document at some other site, it's probably because the site you were trying to reach is running an old version of the CERN http server, whose error messages contain a link pointing back to CERN and www.w3.org.

The error message could mean any of the following:

The document you were trying to reach does not exist as you typed it. (Error 404)
Please try looking at the top page (home page) of the Web site you were trying to reach, in order to determine how to contact them and find the document.

For example, if you were trying to reach http://www.example.com/foo/something.html, and you got an error message, try going to http://www.example.com/ for information on where the new version of the document might be, or for information on how to contact someone there to find it. When in doubt, try writing to the webmaster of that site.

Unfortunately, W3C has no connection to the place you are trying to reach, and will not be able to help you find the information you need.

You are unauthorized to access that document. (Error 401)
Proper authentication is required to access that document/Web site.

If you are trying to access information on the W3C site, you will be given instructions on how to proceed:

  1. If your organization is already a member of the W3C, please complete the Access Request Form, to receive a login and password.
  2. If you have forgotten your username or password, you may have it emailed to you.
  3. If you would like to change your email address or other contact information in our database, you may do so yourself provided you know your login (see above to have lost password mailed to you).
  4. If your organization would like to become a member of the W3C, please see how to join W3C.
  5. If you are not a member of the W3C and did not intend to view a member-only page, you may have an incorrect URL. Try locating the information you are interested in from the W3C home page.

If the information you are trying to access is NOT on the W3C site, i.e. it does not begin with http://www.w3.org, then you will have to contact the maintainer of that particular site; as described below.

Your request could not be understood by the server. (Error 400)
This means that either your Web browser is malfunctioning, or your internet connection is unreliable. This problem lies outside of the W3C, and we are unable to assist you with this particular problem.
Access to that document/Web site is forbidden. (Error 403, 404, 500)
If you typed the URL by hand, please check that the punctuation and capitalization are exactly as written. Also, you should make sure that your slashes are forward-facing ( / ). If you're certain that the information is on the W3C Web site, but don't know the exact URL, try finding it with our search engine at http://search.w3.org.

If the link is old (copied from a book, article, etc.), it may no longer be available at that address. Please mail the Webmaster explaining the source of the link, and what exactly you're looking for. If the link is NOT on the W3C site, i.e. it does not begin with http://www.w3.org, then you will have to contact the maintainer of that particular site as described below.


Question: I get an error with a link to CERN httpd 3.0 when I try to get to http://www.example.com/something. Can you fix this please?

Answer: The W3C has no information on nor any connection with this Web site. You will need to contact that organization's webmaster for assistance. Try contacting the webmaster at webmaster@example.com or from the site's home page at http://www.example.com/.

4. Change this information / fix this link

If you are requesting a change or fix to some information on the W3C Web site, then the W3C Webmaster is the right person to contact. Please be very specific about what page you are referring to and what you want done. There are several thousand pages currently in the W3C Web space.


Question: This page looks broken. Could you fix it please?

Answer: I'd be glad to fix it, but you need to send the exact URL of the page you were trying to access, and what behavior you found to be a problem. You can do that by using our broken link report tool.

Question: Please fix this link -- http://www.example.com/foo/something.html

Answer: I'm sorry, but we're unable to fix any links which aren't from the W3C Web site -- i.e. originating from http://www.w3.org. Please contact the example.com webmaster either at webmaster@example.com or from a link on the example.com home page.

Where to send requests

If you have a comment about our Web site, please write to site-comments@w3.org. This is a publicly archived mailing list.

To request fixes, please write to web-human@w3.org.

5. Please add this link

A variety of sites contain links to the W3C Web site. Although we receive many requests for cross-links, unfortunately we cannot support links to all the locations pointing to our site. Home pages and sites which contain information on specific topics, however, may be added to the Virtual Library and to other Web site indexes.

Sites which are cross-linked with the W3C site contain detailed resource information which is relevant to the content of the W3C Web site. All links to external web-related sites are added at the discretion of the W3C.


Question: I have a link which points to the W3C site on my home page. Could you do the same for my site?

Answer: I'm sorry, we can't link to your home page. However, you may register to have your home page listed in the Virtual Library at http://www.vlib.org/.

Question: Can you add a link site to my site on plankton?

Answer: Although your site cannot be linked off the W3C Web site, you can have your site listed in the Virtual Library. Visit the Virtual Library Web site at http://www.vlib.org/.

Question: My site contains information on HTML. Can we cross-link to each other's sites?

Answer: Thank you for your interest in our site. The information on your site first needs to be reviewed by the appropriate member of the W3C team. If your site contains information which we deem appropriate for inclusion in the W3C Web site, we will add a link from the relevant page(s).

6. I need technical assistance

A lot of the mail we receive are questions about how the Web works, and how particular pieces of Web technology work. These technologies are generally well documented, and answering the questions is a simple matter of referring to the appropriate documentation.


Question: How do I access forms in scripts?

Answer: You may want to try the Web Developer's Virtual Library at http://www.wdvl.com/

Question: I'm trying to program [...] and it doesn't seem to work. Can you help me?

Answer: Sorry, the W3C cannot provide individual help with programming problems. We suggest you refer to the vast literature on the web and elsewhere (such as libraries, bookstores, etc.) on the subject.

7. Can I use the W3C icon on my site?

Generally, yes, without requesting permission from W3C. However, you must do so according to the terms of use for the logo; see the W3C logo and icon usage policy.

8. Intellectual Property Rights

The aim of the intellectual property policies of the W3C is twofold:

  1. To encourage the widespread dissemination of W3C work.
  2. To eliminate confusion about the source and status of W3C work and to preclude the innocent or criminal infringement of our own and others' interests.

This document is not legally binding nor does it constitute legal advice.


Question: Which statements apply to specifications, Web pages, and software?


Question: Who holds the copyright on W3C documents?

Answer: The original author of the document. Many documents are created by the W3C and we consequently hold the copyright. Owners who allow their works to be published on the W3C site retain the copyright, but agree to the W3C license for the redistribution of those materials from our site.

Question: What is the STATUS of a W3C document?

Answer: The STATUS of a W3C document is very important. It details its purpose, how the document was created or received, whether we are allocating resources to an activity related to the document, whether we have editorial control over the document, and how it may be referenced by other activities or documents. We disapprove and will act upon the misrepresentation of our work with respect to authorship, endorsement, or status.

Question: May I link to the W3C site?

Answer: Of course. Links are merely references to other sites. You don't have to ask permission to link to this site -- or any other Web site. See ("link myths" for more on this). However, you should not make a link which misrepresents what is being linked to, or implies a relationship with the W3C that does not exist. For instance, you may not use W3C pages as part of a frame or in any other way which changes the URL, or represents them as being published by anyone other than W3C.

Question: Can I use the W3C icon on my site?

Answer: See section 6.

W3C Documents

As documented, W3C documents can be redistributed or republished on the condition that you provide information so that others can easily find the original document, that you provide notice of the W3C's copyright, and that if the document has a "STATUS" section, you reproduce it.

Question: I am a teacher, can I print out specifications and other documents for my class to read?

Answer: Yes. Fortunately most programs include the source URL when printing a document. You should also inform the class of the document's copyright notice.

Question: I have a Web site that mirrors useful Web documents, can I make copies of your documents and serve them from my site?

Answer: Yes, provided that you clearly represent the status of the document and that the canonical version of the document can only be found on the W3C site. You should feel free to reference this FAQ or our other legal notices to make this representation clear.

Question: I am a writer and would like to make a "fair use" excerpt from a specification for my analysis, what do I have to do?

Answer: In the reference (footnote or bibliographic entry) to the document you should include a URL to the original document, and be very clear about the intellectual property rights and STATUS of the document.

Question: I am a publisher and would like to publish a book that includes some of your specifications, what should I do?

Answer: You must include a link or URL to the original W3C document, its status and its copyright notice. Also, you should provide at least one instance of the full text of our document copyright notice.

Question: I really like the HTML 3.2 specification, but would like to make some changes, may I modify the 3.2 specification in a few places and redistribute it? May I call it HTML 3.2.1?

Answer: No and no.

Question: Can I translate one of your specifications into another language?

Answer: Yes, provided that you comply with the all of the following requirements:

W3C Software

As documented, W3C software can be modified and redistributed provided that you provide a link to the original source, and that you respect the intellectual property, and trademarks of its originator. In a few instances, software distributed by the W3C is provided by another entity under specific terms and conditions which must be followed. Please review any notices or disclosures that accompany the software itself.

Question: I am a software publisher and would like to release some of your software on a CD-ROM I am creating, may I? May I charge for it?

Answer: Yes, and you can charge for it, given the above requirements.

Question: I really like Amaya, but would like to modify it, can I make the changes and re-release it?

Answer: Yes, we want people to experiment with and improve our software. It can even be used in commercial software. If you make changes for the better, we encourage you to contact its authors. You may not make changes and continue to call it by a trademarked term or misrepresent the origin, capabilities, or liabilities associated with its use. You may say it is based on Amaya code, or that it is compliant with a Recommended Specification of the W3C.

Other questions about W3C policies should be directed to site-policy@w3.org.

9. HTML Validation Service

To further promote the reliability and fidelity of communications on the Web, W3C introduced the W3C HTML Validation Service.

Content providers can use this service to validate their Web pages against the HTML 4.0 and XHTML Recommendations, thereby ensuring the maximum possible audience for their Web pages. In addition, it can be used to check conformance against previous versions of HTML, including the W3C Recommendation for HTML 3.2 and the IETF HTML 2.0 standard. To allow authors to broaden their audience even further to those with disabilities, the service will be updated according to the guidelines produced by W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI).

Software developers who write HTML editing tools can ensure interoperability with other Web software by verifying that the output of their tool complies with the W3C Recommendations for HTML.


Question: How much does it cost?

Answer: The HTML validation service is a free service. Enjoy!

Question: If I put my Web Page URL in, will that change the look, or accessibility of my page in any way?

Answer: No, it's just checking your document against various (2.0, 3.2, 4.0...) HTML specifications. It's up to you to fix your page according to the produced report.

Question: Does the validation service change my existing HTML on my page to HTML 4.0 automatically?

Answer: No. As explained on the validation page, you can validate your document against a list of DTD (Document Type Definition).

Your document must start with for example
to be validated for HTML 4.0.

Question: Is the source code for the validation service available?

Answer: Yes, you can download the Validator Source Code.

Question: I get an internal server error when trying to validate a page on my computer. How come?

Answer: There might be various explanations: your browser doesn't support the file transmission through HTML forms; your network configuration forbids it; the validator might have a temporary failure. You should check your configuration and try again.

10. I can't uncompress the HTML 4 Recommendation

This is known issue: see the HTML 4 Errata.

11. I've found your homepage in the source code of a web page

Web pages are often written in HTML or XHTML, which are standards developed by the W3C. The reference to an (X)HTML document type definition (DTD) hosted at W3C means that the author of the page used one of these standards.

This does not imply any involvement from W3C in the content of this page.

12. I'm receiving spam from W3C

W3C does not allow its servers to be used to send spam, and unsolicited bulk e-mail is strictly prohibited from our mailing lists.

Spam may be sent using different formats - one of which is HTML, the format commonly used to write Web pages. If you look at the source of many HTML documents, you are likely to find some text that explains which version of HTML was used by the author. Versions of HTML are defined by the W3C, and therefore HTML documents contain a reference to the W3C, for example:

    <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN"

Many people see this text and conclude that W3C had something to do with the creation of the document. All that this text means is that the text was written in HTML, a language maintained by W3C. The text does not imply that W3C had anything to do with the creation of the document itself.

If you believe you have proof that you have received a spam coming from or relayed by W3C, please send it with full headers to web-human@w3.org, so that we can analyze it and consider action.

13. Your website is displaying instead of my homepage

This is known to be a netscape bug, and is unrelated to our site. This is not a security issue and does not mean you browser has been compromised. Are you by any chance using Netscape 6.x? If you type http://http:// (in other words, two http://'s) and then any address, it sends you to w3.org. No idea why. The remedy is to get rid of the initial http://.

14. Remove my message from the archives

Archive edit requests must be submitted in accord with the W3C Archive Editing Policy. Archive edits are very rare.

Typically, if you want your message removed because it is no longer accurate, or because your address has changed, we will not do it: the archives reflect the discussion as it was when it occurred.

Please see the W3C Archive Editing Policy for the specifics on this matter.

15. My browser tries to download your homepage instead of displaying it

Our server configuration is valid and user-side setup is usually involved in this malfunction. Most of the times, this happens when you have installed software such as XML editors, that modify the Windows registry to have Internet Explorer send different headers that are not appropriate to what IE supports.

You may want to look for the value "application/xhtml+xml" in your registry, or use a different browser.

16. Where do I find the DTDs for specification X?

Each specification defines its own DTDs, often in an appendix of the specification. There is a list of links to various W3C-defined DTDs in the site index.

17. Where do I find the list of elements or attributes for specification X?

Specifications index elements differently. Most specifications include one or more DTDs, or document type definitions. A DTD defines the syntax of a language in technical terms. Some XML specifications include XML Schema definitions; a schema is another way to define the syntax of a language. Some specifications also include a simple list of element and attribute names for convenience.

W3C does not have a page where all of the elements and attributes of all W3C specifications are listed.

18. How do I get my product linked from your Website?

Contact the "owner" of the page. Page owner email information is generally listed at the bottom of a page.

Please note that W3C does not promote the products or services of any particular vendor. In some cases, W3C does link to products or services from the W3C Web site, as a service to people visiting our site. When we do link to products or services, we try to link to more than one and to indicate that such links are not endorsements by W3C of these products or services.

19. Why is W3C blocking my IP?

W3C is most likely blocking your IP because of excessive traffic, often this is dereferencing the same XML Schemata (DTD, Schema, Entity, Namespace, etc) incessantly from us. We give extensive caching directives and there really is no reason to request over the network the same resource over and over that is not going to change. Your XML library or utility probably has a means to use a XML catalog and/or have a caching mechanism, please consult that documentation on how to utilize such features. If there are no such options you should contact the party responsible for the library or utility used, you may also put a caching proxy between your application server and the internet.

If All Else Fails...

After you have read the W3C Webmaster Frequently Asked Questions and determined that contacting the Webmaster is the only way to answer your question, send email to web-human@w3.org.

$Date: 2008/02/13 19:44:25 $