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HtmlSanitizeEx Build Status Inline docs

html_sanitize_ex provides a fast and straightforward HTML Sanitizer written in Elixir which lets you include HTML authored by third-parties in your web application while protecting against XSS.

It is the first Hex package to come out of the project, where it will be used to sanitize user announcements from the Elixir community.

What can it do?

html_sanitize_ex parses a given HTML string and, based on the used Scrubber, either completely strips it from HTML tags or sanitizes it by only allowing certain HTML elements and attributes to be present.

NOTE: The one thing missing at this moment is support for styles. To add this, we have to implement a Scrubber for CSS, to prevent nasty CSS hacks using <style> tags and attributes.

Otherwise html_sanitize_ex is a full-featured HTML sanitizer.


Add html_sanitize_ex as a dependency in your mix.exs file.

defp deps do
  [{:html_sanitize_ex, "~> 1.4"}]

After adding you are done, run mix deps.get in your shell to fetch the new dependency.

The only dependency of html_sanitize_ex is mochiweb which is used to parse HTML.


Depending on the scrubber you select, it can strip all tags from the given string:

text = "<a href=\"javascript:alert('XSS');\">text here</a>"
# => "text here"

Or allow certain basic HTML elements to remain:

text = "<h1>Hello <script>World!</script></h1>"
# => "<h1>Hello World!</h1>"

There are built-in scrubbers that cover common use cases, but you can also easily define custom scrubbers (see the next section).

The following default scrubbing options exist:


There is also one scrubber primarily used for testing:


Before using a built-in scrubber, you should verify that it functions in the way you expect. The built-in scrubbers are located in /lib/html_sanitize_ex/scrubber

Custom Scrubbers

A custom scrubber has the advantage of allowing you to support only the minimum functionality needed for your use case.

With a custom scrubber, you define which tags, attributes, and uri schemes (e.g. https, mailto, javascript, etc.) are allowed. Anything not allowed can then be stripped out.

There are also utility functions to remove CDATA sections and comments which you will generally include.

Here is an example of a custom scrubber which allows only p, h1, and a tags, and restricts the href attribute to only the https and mailto URI schemes. It also removes CDATA sections and comments.

Note that the scrubber should include Meta.strip_everything_not_covered() at the end.

defmodule MyProject.MyScrubber do
  require HtmlSanitizeEx.Scrubber.Meta
  alias HtmlSanitizeEx.Scrubber.Meta


  Meta.allow_tag_with_these_attributes("p", [])
  Meta.allow_tag_with_these_attributes("h1", [])
  Meta.allow_tag_with_uri_attributes("a", ["href"], ["https", "mailto"])


Then, you can use the scrubber in your project by giving it as the second argument to Scrubber.scrub/2:

defmodule MyProject.MyModule do
  alias HtmlSanitizeEx.Scrubber
  alias MyProject.MyScrubber

  def sanitize_html(html) do
    Scrubber.scrub(html, MyScrubber)

A great way to make a custom scrubber is to use one the of built-in scrubbers closest to your use case as a template. The built in scrubbers are located in /lib/html_sanitize_ex/scrubber


  1. Fork it!
  2. Create your feature branch (git checkout -b my-new-feature)
  3. Commit your changes (git commit -am 'Add some feature')
  4. Push to the branch (git push origin my-new-feature)
  5. Create new Pull Request


René Föhring (@rrrene)


html_sanitize_ex is released under the MIT License. See the LICENSE file for further details.