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HTML <meta> Tag


Example

Describe metadata within an HTML document:

<head>
  <meta charset="UTF-8">
  <meta name="description" content="Free Web tutorials">
  <meta name="keywords" content="HTML, CSS, JavaScript">
  <meta name="author" content="John Doe">
  <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">
</head>
Try it Yourself »

More "Try it Yourself" examples below.


Definition and Usage

The <meta> tag defines metadata about an HTML document. Metadata is data (information) about data.

<meta> tags always go inside the <head> element, and are typically used to specify character set, page description, keywords, author of the document, and viewport settings.

Metadata will not be displayed on the page, but is machine parsable.

Metadata is used by browsers (how to display content or reload page), search engines (keywords), and other web services.

There is a method to let web designers take control over the viewport (the user's visible area of a web page), through the <meta> tag (See "Setting The Viewport" example below).


Browser Support

Element
<meta> Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Attributes

Attribute Value Description
charset character_set Specifies the character encoding for the HTML document
content text Specifies the value associated with the http-equiv or name attribute
http-equiv content-security-policy
content-type
default-style
refresh
Provides an HTTP header for the information/value of the content attribute
name application-name
author
description
generator
keywords
viewport
Specifies a name for the metadata

Global Attributes

The <meta> tag also supports the Global Attributes in HTML.



More Examples

Define keywords for search engines:

<meta name="keywords" content="HTML, CSS, JavaScript">

Define a description of your web page:

<meta name="description" content="Free Web tutorials for HTML and CSS">

Define the author of a page:

<meta name="author" content="John Doe">

Refresh document every 30 seconds:

<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="30">

Setting the viewport to make your website look good on all devices:

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">

Setting the Viewport

The viewport is the user's visible area of a web page. It varies with the device - it will be smaller on a mobile phone than on a computer screen.

You should include the following <meta> element in all your web pages:

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">

This gives the browser instructions on how to control the page's dimensions and scaling.

The width=device-width part sets the width of the page to follow the screen-width of the device (which will vary depending on the device).

The initial-scale=1.0 part sets the initial zoom level when the page is first loaded by the browser.

Here is an example of a web page without the viewport meta tag, and the same web page with the viewport meta tag:

Tip: If you are browsing this page with a phone or a tablet, you can click on the two links below to see the difference.


You can read more about the viewport in our Responsive Web Design - The Viewport Tutorial.


Related Pages

HTML tutorial: HTML Head

HTML DOM reference: Meta Object


Default CSS Settings

None.