CSS vs XPath

CSS vs XPath, Which one is Better?

CSS is a style sheet and XPath is a kind of query language. Well, both are not the same thing at all. There are some major distinctions available between these two things. In this article, I am going to discuss CSS vs XPath, which one is better. But before that, here I mention some of the essential introductions about these two things. So read this entire article for detailed information.

Introduction about CSS

It is known as the cascading style sheet. And it is essentially used for the designing purpose of any website.  

If HTML is considered as the skeleton of the human body then CSS will be recognized as the skin of the human body.  

Without the help of CSS, the designing of websites is not possible at all.  

CSS is generally used in combination with HTML and JavaScript. 

And generally, there are three ways in which you can apply CSS such as inline CSS, internal CSS, and external CSS.

Introduction about Xpath

It is considered a kind of query language. And it is used in combination with XML and it first appeared in the year 1998.

Well, it can be used for several reasons it can be used for selecting nodes from an XML document, or besides that, it also can be used for finding several elements within an HTML web page. Furthermore, it can also be used in other document objects model. 

It was defined by the world wide web consortium (w3c) which is an international organization that is managing web standards.

Normally there are two kinds of XPath one is absolute XPath and another is relative XPath. Absolute XPath starts from the root element of the document while on the other hand relative XPath starts from any point in the document based on the search criteria.

CSS vs Xpath


Well if you are an Xpath user then you know very well that it is very easy to write and very smooth to remember. 

While on the other hand, CSS is not much complicated to write and remember but still, it bit challenging or harder than the XPath.

Various ways to find Complex:

Within XPath, there are various ways to find the complexity. 

And on the other hand within CSS there are also many ways but the ways are a little bit lesser than Xpath.


This is a major advantage of using CSS over XPath. The Xpath engines are always different within each Browser.

While CSS is the same within all the browser. And because of that CSS is preferred over XPath because of the browser advantage.

Internet Explorer:

Although there are several web browsers are available but amongst them, very few web browsers are popular. Some of the popular ones are Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer.

So if you are using XPath then I recommend you not use Internet Explorer because it is not inevitable at all that Xpaths will Always work within the Internet Explorer web browser, And it is mainly happening because Internet Explorer does not have any native Xpath engine.

But you can use the Google Chrome web browser and Mozilla Firefox with XPath because these two web browsers exist in the XPath engine. 

Here the main point is if you are using an internet explorer web browser then you should always prefer CSS over XPath.


This is another good advantage of using the XPath instead of CSS.  

Within XPath, we can transfer into both the direction in the backward direction as well as in the forwarding direction.

It is mean that if you got any unique element then based on those unique elements you can find XPath within the forward direction as well as within the backward directions.

Whereas within the CSS we can only find the CSS path of the element which is in the forward direction by using a greater than a symbol or by using the space.


In terms of fastness, I should say that the CSS path is a little bit faster than the XPath. 

Well this will not happens all the time but in most cases, I observed that the Xpath is a little bit slower than the CSS path. 


Xpath is used to find the element in the HTML DOM while on the other hand CSS selector is used to finding the element in the HTML DOM using style sheet language.

Success Rate:

The success rate of finding an element using XPath is too high and the success rate of finding an element using CSS selector is less in comparison with XPath.

Element Location:

Xpath can locate the element by text present within the text, in CSS this capability is not available and CSS cannot locate the element by the text.


Well in the case of flexibility I should say that XPath is more flexible in comparison with CSS.

Easy to Start:

In comparison with CSS, XPath is very easy to start. and it always starts with a backslash(/) or double backslash(//).


If an element is one of its child then it is defined in Xpath by using the double backslash(//). And in CSS it is defined by white space.

Here i provide an example of both the things-

  • Xpath://div//a
  • cssSelector:div a


An element ID in Xpath is defined using “[@id=’Email’]”. And within CSS it is defined using “#”.


  • Xpath://input[@id=’Email’]
  • cssSelector:#Email 


An element class in Xpath is defined using “[@Class=’form-control’]”. And in CSS it is defined using “.”.


  • Xpath://input[@class=’form-control’]
  • CSSselector: .Email


In XPath attribute is defined using “[@name=’Email’]”. And in CSS it is defined using “[name=Email]”.


  • Xpath://input[@name=’Email’]
  • cssSelector:input[name=’Email’]

Why CSS is Better than Xpath?

In the above section, I have discussed some of the essential features that CSS and Xpath have.

In this segment, I will mention some of the causes about Why CSS is better than Xpath?.

  • CSS is supported in various browsers, it supports in old browsers as well as in the new browser.
  • It also works with Internet Explorer, but Xpath does not work well within the Internet Explorer browser. 
  • CSS is much faster than in comparison to Xpath.

At last, it can be said that Xpath and CSS both are very useful and both have their significance. 

You can use both things but according to my recommendation, I should say that CSS is more useful to use. Because there are lots of documentation and tutorials are available on the web of CSS in comparison to Xpath.


This article is all about CSS path or Xpath, which one is better, or CSS vs Xpath

I hope you have liked this article and if you have any kind of inquiry then you can ask me in the comment section.

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