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(HyperText Markup Language)
HTML5 logo and wordmark.svg
The official logo of the latest version, HTML5
Filename extension
  • .html
  • .htm
Internet media type
Type code TEXT
Uniform Type Identifier (UTI) public.html
Developed by
Initial release 1993; 31 years ago (1993)
Latest release
Living Standard
Type of format Document file format
Container for HTML elements
Contained by Web browser
Extended from SGML
Extended to XHTML
Open format? Yes

HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is a markup language for creating webpages. Webpages are usually viewed in a web browser. They can include writing, links, pictures, and even sound and video. HTML is used to mark and describe each of these kinds of content so the web browser can show them correctly.

HTML can also be used to add meta information to a webpage. Meta information is information about the web page. For example, the name of the person who made it. Meta information is not usually shown by web browsers.

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and JavaScript can be included in HTML code. CSS is used to change how a webpage looks. JavaScript is used to add features to webpages and make them more interactive.

HTML was made by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). There are many versions of HTML. The current standard is HTML 5.2. So, it is the version the W3C recommends. The W3C also develops XHTML. This is another markup language which is very similar to HTML, but more strict.

HTML version timeline


November 24, 1995
HTML 2.0 was published as RFC 1866. Supplemental RFCs added capabilities:
  • November 25, 1995: RFC 1867 (form-based file upload)
  • May 1996: RFC 1942 (tables)
  • August 1996: RFC 1980 (client-side image maps)
  • January 1997: RFC 2070 (internationalization)


January 14, 1997
HTML 3.2 was published as a W3C Recommendation. It was the first version developed and standardized exclusively by the W3C, as the IETF had closed its HTML Working Group on September 12, 1996.
Initially code-named "Wilbur", HTML 3.2 dropped math formulas entirely, reconciled overlap among various proprietary extensions and adopted most of Netscape's visual markup tags. Netscape's blink element and Microsoft's marquee element were omitted due to a mutual agreement between the two companies. A markup for mathematical formulas similar to that of HTML was standardized 14 months later in MathML.


December 18, 1997
HTML 4.0 was published as a W3C Recommendation. It offers three variations:
  • Strict, in which deprecated elements are forbidden
  • Transitional, in which deprecated elements are allowed
  • Frameset, in which mostly only frame related elements are allowed.
Initially code-named "Cougar", HTML 4.0 adopted many browser-specific element types and attributes, but also sought to phase out Netscape's visual markup features by marking them as deprecated in favor of style sheets. HTML 4 is an SGML application conforming to ISO 8879 – SGML.
April 24, 1998
HTML 4.0 was reissued with minor edits without incrementing the version number.
December 24, 1999
HTML 4.01 was published as a W3C Recommendation. It offers the same three variations as HTML 4.0 and its last errata were published on May 12, 2001.
May 2000
ISO/IEC 15445:2000 ("ISO HTML", based on HTML 4.01 Strict) was published as an ISO/IEC international standard. In the ISO, this standard is in the domain of the ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 34 (ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 1, Subcommittee 34 – Document description and processing languages).
After HTML 4.01, there were no new versions of HTML for many years, as the development of the parallel, XML-based language XHTML occupied the W3C's HTML Working Group.


October 28, 2014
HTML5 was published as a W3C Recommendation.
November 1, 2016
HTML 5.1 was published as a W3C Recommendation.
December 14, 2017
HTML 5.2 was published as a W3C Recommendation.


HTML uses special bits of programming language called "tags" to let the browser know how a webpage should look. The tags usually come in pairs: an opening tag to tell the browser when to start doing something, and an ending tag to tell the browser when to stop doing something. There are many different kinds of tags, and each one has a different purpose.

Opening tags have a keyword, such as "p," surrounded by angle brackets (< and >). For example, the tag <p> tells the browser the start a new paragraph. Ending tags look almost exactly the same, only they have a forward slash (/) added just before the keyword. For example, the tag </p> tells the browser to end a paragraph. A small number of tags, like <br> and <hr>, can be used without an ending tag.

Some tags only work in certain browsers. For example, the <marquee> tag, which is used to make a bit of writing slide across the page, only works in the Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox browsers. Other browsers simply ignore this tag and display the writing normally. Many web page creators avoid using these "non-standard" tags because they want their pages to look the same with all browsers.


Here is an example page in HTML:

<!DOCTYPE html>
    <title>This is the title of the page.</title>
    <p>This is a paragraph.</p>

Incomplete list of HTML tags

Tag name What it does How it works
creates a hidden comment
<!DOCTYPE> tells the type of document <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "">
<a> Creates active links to other web pages <a href="" title="title of page" class="CSS class" id="CSS identifier" style="CSS expression">text to display</a>
<abbr> Creates an abbreviation <abbr title="this is an example abbreviation">example of</abbr>
<b> Creates bold text   <b>bold text</b>

  Also accepts class, style, and id parameters.

<i> Creates slanted italicized text   <i>italicized text</i>
text here<br /> Breaks (wraps) a line of text   <br />wrapped text here.
<s> Creates a line through text   <s>line through text</s>
<u> Underlines words and sentences.   <u>Underlined text</u>
<H1> Changes the font of a word to 24   <H1> FONT 24</H1>
<H2> Changes the font of a word to 18   <H2> FONT 18</H2>
<H3> Changes the font of a word to 14   <H3> FONT 14</H3>
<H4> Changes the font of a word to 12   <H4> FONT 12</H4>
<H5> Changes the font of a word to 10   <H5> FONT 10</H5>
<H6> Changes the font of a word to 7   <H6> FONT 7</H6>
<script> Creates a script in the webpage   <script>document.write("Hello World!")</script>
<table> Creates a table   <table><tr> <td>10</td> <td>20</td> </tr><tr> <td>30</td> <td>40</td> </tr></table>
<tr> Creates a table row   <table><tr> <td>10</td> <td>20</td> </tr><tr> <td>30</td> <td>40</td> </tr></table>
<td> Creates a table cell   <table><tr> <td>10</td> <td>20</td> </tr><tr> <td>30</td> <td>40</td> </tr></table>
<span> Used to add attributes to a part of text or to allow CSS and Javascript to specify that part of the document.   <span>Lorem ipsum <span class='highlight'>dolor sit amet</span>, consectetur adipiscing elit.</span>
<p> Creates a paragraph <p>This is a paragraph.</p>

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See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: HTML para niños

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