logo shadow

Help and FAQ

What does W3C do?

W3C's primary activity is to develop protocols and guidelines that ensure long-term growth for the Web. W3C's standards define key parts of what makes the World Wide Web work. Learn more about W3C's mission.

Where is W3C located?

W3C does not have a single physical headquarters. There are four institutions, however, that "host" W3C: MIT (in Cambridge, MA, USA), ERCIM (in Sophia-Antipolis, France), Keio University (near Tokyo, Japan), and Beihang University (in Beijing, China).

The W3C staff is distributed around the world, but there are concentrations of people in Cambridge, Massachusetts (USA), Sophia-Antipolis (France), and Tokyo (Japan). In addition, W3C is represented in 17 other regions of the world via representatives based at organizations. W3C calls these regional points of contact "W3C Offices."

How is W3C funded?

W3C receives funds from:

What is the difference between the Web and the Internet?

From the definition in the Wikipedia: "The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that interchange data by packet switching using the standardized Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP)."

Thus, the Internet is a network of networks, defined by the TPC/IP standards.

The Web, on the other hand, is defined in W3C's Architecture of the World Wide Web, Volume I as follows: "The World Wide Web (WWW, or simply Web) is an information space in which the items of interest, referred to as resources, are identified by global identifiers called Uniform Resource Identifiers (URI)."

Thus, the Web is an information space. The first three specifications for Web technologies defined URLs, HTTP, and HTML.

What does it mean that Tim Berners-Lee invented the Web?

Tim Berners-Lee wrote a proposal in 1989 for a system called the World Wide Web. He then wrote the first Web browser, server, and Web page. He wrote the first specifications for URLs, HTTP, and HTML.

W3C has a validation service. Does W3C approve all Web pages?

No. W3C does provide a free service for validating Web pages against standard formats. Although validation is not mandatory on the Web, it is useful for improving the quality of pages.

What is the difference between an open standard and open source software?

In general terms: open source refers to software, and open standards refer to documents (that may then be implemented by software). There is no single definition global for either term.

Some elements of openness that apply to W3C standards include:

  • All standards are available publicly at no cost
  • W3C adopted a Patent Policy in 2004 with the stated goal of assuring "that Recommendations produced under this policy can be implemented on a Royalty-Free (RF) basis."
  • W3C Process requires that groups address public comments
  • All technical comments are handled on their merits, whether they are made by W3C Members or public.
  • W3C's process is vendor-neutral.
  • W3C's persistence policy seeks to ensure that standards will be available at the same URI, unchanged, indefinitely.

Does W3C design Web sites? Can you recommend a designer?

W3C is not in the business of designing Web sites. Although we greatly appreciate that many designers promote standards-based Web design, at the current time for reasons of neutrality, we cannot officially recommend any particular designers.

How do I get started building (or requesting) a standards-compliant Web site?

W3C provides a list of resources that provides an introduction to standards-based design.

Do you have more FAQs?

Yes. These additional FAQs are maintained by various people in the community; some are more up-to-date than others.

About W3C

About Tools and Software