Lighten your website's load with HTML Cleaner

When creating a website you’ll almost certainly want to keep file sizes to a minimum, reducing load times and bandwidth usage. So it’s a shame that some WYWIWYG editors don’t understand this at all, routinely producing bloated code that will inevitably slow you down. Still, don’t worry -- help is at hand from the free HTML Cleaner.

Initially, at least, the program works more or less as you might expect. You can open a single HTML file, or an entire folder; click a button and everything you’ve chosen will be optimised (we typically saved 9-10% immediately); and you can then view the results to confirm that the code works exactly as it did.

What surprised us, though, was just how many optimisations were on offer here.


HTML Cleaner doesn’t just do the obvious, removing surplus spaces, unnecessary quotation marks, HTML comments, excess carriage return/ line feed sequences, and so on – the program also works at the tag level.

Is the target page using unnecessary closing tags, for instance? HTML Cleaner will search for and delete any that you don’t need (THEAD and TBODY, say).

Every aspect of HTML Cleaner can be tweaked from its settings dialogs

Has your WYSIWYG editor generated an empty tag for some reason? They’ll go, too.

Maybe your page is using long tags where there are shorter sort-of equivalents? HTML Cleaner will search out <strong> tags and replace them with <b>, for instance – and the list goes on.

We’re not entirely happy with all of this. Some will want to keep closing tags for structure reasons, say, and others won’t approve of all the tag substitutions HTML Cleaner makes (<UL> for <BLOCKQUOTE>, for instance). But that doesn’t matter, as the program is very configurable.

If you’re not happy with a global function, for instance, such as “Remove HTML comments”, then you can generally turn it off with a click.

And other options can be tweaked at the tag level. The “Replace tags” feature uses a default set of rules which looks like ADDRESS=I;BLOCKQUOTE=UL;CITE=I;CODE=TT;EM=I;KBD=TT;SAMP=TT;STRIKE=S;STRONG=B;VAR=I, for example. If you’re not happy with one or more of those then you can delete it, and of course you’re free to add other rules of your own.

Of course this may not be an entirely straightforward process, and so HTML Cleaner probably isn’t the best choice for HTML beginners. If you understand what the program is doing and have the time to configure it properly, though, it does provide a fairly quick and easy way to trim your HTML documents down to a more manageable size.

Photo Credit: Dmitriy Shironosov/Shutterstock

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