HTML Introduction

HTML is the standard markup language for creating Web pages.

What is HTML?

  • HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language
  • HTML is the standard markup language for creating Web pages
  • HTML describes the structure of a Web page
  • HTML consists of a series of elements
  • HTML elements tell the browser how to display the content
  • HTML elements label pieces of content such as "this is a heading", "this is a paragraph", "this is a link", etc.

A Simple HTML Document


<!DOCTYPE html>
<title>Page Title</title>

<h1>My First Heading</h1>
<p>My first paragraph.</p>

Try it Yourself »

Example Explained

  • The <!DOCTYPE html> declaration defines that this document is an HTML5 document
  • The <html> element is the root element of an HTML page
  • The <head> element contains meta information about the HTML page
  • The <title> element specifies a title for the HTML page (which is shown in the browser's title bar or in the page's tab)
  • The <body> element defines the document's body, and is a container for all the visible contents, such as headings, paragraphs, images, hyperlinks, tables, lists, etc.
  • The <h1> element defines a large heading
  • The <p> element defines a paragraph

What is an HTML Element?

An HTML element is defined by a start tag, some content, and an end tag:

<tagname>Content goes here...</tagname>

The HTML element is everything from the start tag to the end tag:

<h1>My First Heading</h1>
<p>My first paragraph.</p>
Start tag Element content End tag
<h1> My First Heading </h1>
<p> My first paragraph. </p>
<br> none none

Note: Some HTML elements have no content (like the <br> element). These elements are called empty elements. Empty elements do not have an end tag!

Web Browsers

The purpose of a web browser (Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Safari) is to read HTML documents and display them correctly.

A browser does not display the HTML tags, but uses them to determine how to display the document:

View in Browser

HTML Page Structure

Below is a visualization of an HTML page structure:

<title>Page title</title>
<h1>This is a heading</h1>
<p>This is a paragraph.</p>
<p>This is another paragraph.</p>

Note: Only the content inside the <body> section (the white area above) will be displayed in a browser.

HTML History

Since the early days of the World Wide Web, there have been many versions of HTML:

Year Version
1989 Tim Berners-Lee invented www
1991 Tim Berners-Lee invented HTML
1993 Dave Raggett drafted HTML+
1995 HTML Working Group defined HTML 2.0
1997 W3C Recommendation: HTML 3.2
1999 W3C Recommendation: HTML 4.01
2000 W3C Recommendation: XHTML 1.0
2008 WHATWG HTML5 First Public Draft
2012 WHATWG HTML5 Living Standard
2014 W3C Recommendation: HTML5
2016 W3C Candidate Recommendation: HTML 5.1
2017 W3C Recommendation: HTML5.1 2nd Edition
2017 W3C Recommendation: HTML5.2

This tutorial follows the latest HTML 5 standard.