Web browsers receive HTML documents from a web server or from local storage and render the documents into multimedia web pages. HTML describes the structure of a web page semantically and originally included cues for the appearance of the document.
HTML elements are the building blocks of HTML pages. With HTML constructs, images and other objects such as interactive forms may be embedded into the rendered page. HTML provides a means to create structured documents by denoting structural semantics for text such as headings, paragraphs, lists, links, quotes and other items. HTML elements are delineated by tags, written using angle brackets. Tags such as
<img /> and
<input /> directly introduce content into the page. Other tags such as
<p> surround and provide information about document text and may include other tags as sub-elements. Browsers do not display the HTML tags, but use them to interpret the content of the page.
|Internet media type|
|Initial release||1993; 27 years ago|
|Type of format||Document file format|
|Standards||HTML Living Standard|
What is HTML?
Okay, so this is the only bit of mandatory theory. In order to begin to write HTML, it helps if you know what you are writing.
HTML is the language in which most websites are written. HTML is used to create pages and make them functional.The code used to make them visually appealing is known as CSS and we shall focus on this in a later tutorial. For now, we will focus on teaching you how to build rather than design.
The History of HTML
HTML was first created by Tim Berners-Lee, Robert Cailliau, and others starting in 1989. It stands for Hyper Text Markup Language.
Hypertext means that the document contains links that allow the reader to jump to other places in the document or to another document altogether. The latest version is known as HTML5.
A Markup Language is a way that computers speak to each other to control how text is processed and presented. To do this HTML uses two things: tags and attributes.
What are Tags and Attributes?
Tags and attributes are the basis of HTML.
They work together but perform different functions – it is worth investing 2 minutes in differentiating the two.
What Are HTML Tags?
Tags are used to mark up the start of an HTML element and they are usually enclosed in angle brackets. An example of a tag is:
Most tags must be opened
<h1> and closed
</h1> in order to function.
What are HTML Attributes?
Attributes contain additional pieces of information. Attributes take the form of an opening tag and additional info is placed inside.
An example of an attribute is:
<img src="mydog.jpg" alt="A photo of my dog.">
In this instance, the image source (src) and the alt text (alt) are attributes of the
Golden Rules To Remember
- The vast majority of tags must be opened (
<tag>) and closed (
</tag>) with the element information such as a title or text resting between the tags.
- When using multiple tags, the tags must be closed in the order in which they were opened. For example:
<strong><em>This is really important!</em></strong>
Now that we’ve gotten the basic theory out of the way. It’s time to learn how to build our first website.
First off, we must ensure that we have the right tools. Most important, we need an HTML editor.
Sublime Text 3
However, for this tutorial, we will use the Sublime Text 3 as it is free and also offers cross-platform support for Windows, Mac, and Linux users.
- Easily customizable
- Pleasant color schemes to choose from.
- Can’t print documents or code
- No toolbar or dashboard available.
Another common choice for HTML and other language coders is Notepad ++. It is a tiny program to download and perform the functions you need for writing clean code.
- Distraction-free interface
- Auto-completion feature
- Plugin options for extended functionalities.
- Can be difficult to get used to for beginners
- No support for Mac.
Komodo Edit is one of two editors released by the same label. They offer a simple, open-source editor with a variety of extensions and language support.
It is free to download.
- Easy-to-grasp coding interface
- Available for Mac, Windows, and Linux
- Impressive language support.
- No autocompletion by default
- Visual settings are difficult to find and change.
What To Avoid
Your code’s front-end view varies from browser to browser – you will learn more about this with advanced CSS.
Do not use Microsoft Word or any other word processor when writing HTML code, only an HTML editor or at the very least, your machine’s built-in notepad, is suitable for the task.
Creating Your First HTML Webpage
First off, you need to open your HTML editor, where you will find a clean white page on which to write your code.
From there you need to layout your page with the following tags.
Basic Construction of an HTML Page
These tags should be placed underneath each other at the top of every HTML page that you create.
<!DOCTYPE html> — This tag specifies the language you will write on the page. In this case, the language is HTML 5.
<html> — This tag signals that from here on we are going to write in HTML code.
<head> — This is where all the metadata for the page goes — stuff mostly meant for search engines and other computer programs.
<body> — This is where the content of the page goes.
<head> tag, there is one tag that is always included:
<title>, but there are others that are just as important:
<title>This is where we insert the page name as it will appear at the top of the browser window or tab.
<meta>This is where information about the document is stored: character encoding, name (page context), description.
Let’s try out a basic
<head> <title>My First Webpage</title> <meta charset="UTF-8"> <meta name="description" content="This field contains information about your page. It is usually around two sentences long.">. <meta name="author" content="Conor Sheils"> </header>
Next, we will make
<body> is where we add the content which is designed for viewing by human eyes.
This includes text, images, tables, forms and everything else that we see on the internet each day.
How to Add HTML Headings To Your Web Page
In HTML, headings are written in the following elements:
As you might have guessed
<h2> should be used for the most important titles, while the remaining tags should be used for sub-headings and less important text.
Search engine bots use this order when deciphering which information is most important on a page.
Creating Your Heading
Let’s try it out. On a new line in the HTML editor, type:
<h1>Welcome to My Page</h1>
And hit save. We will save this file as “index.html” in a new folder called “my webpage.”
The Moment of Truth: Click the newly saved file and your first ever web page should open in your default browser. It may not be pretty it’s yours… all yours. *Evil laugh*
Well let’s not get carried away; we’ve still got loads of great features that we can add to your page.
How To Add Text In HTML
Adding text to our HTML page is simple using an element opened with the tag
<p> which creates a new paragraph. We place all of our regular text inside the element
When we write text in HTML, we also have a number of other elements we can use to control the text or make it appear in a certain way.
Other Key Elements
They are as follows:
|<b>||Bold||Highlight important information|
|<strong>||Strong||Similarly to bold, to highlight key text|
|<i>||Italic||To denote text|
|<em>||Emphasised Text||Usually used as image captions|
|<mark>||Marked Text||Highlight the background of the text|
|<small>||Small Text||To shrink the text|
|<strike>||Striked Out Text||To place a horizontal line across the text|
|<u>||Underlined Text||Used for links or text highlights|
|<ins>||Inserted Text||Displayed with an underline to show an inserted text|
|<sub>||Subscript Text||Typographical stylistic choice|
|<sup>||Superscript Text||Another typographical presentation style|
These tags must be opened and closed around the text in question.
Let’s try it out. On a new line in the HTML editor, type the following HTML code:
<p>Welcome to <em>my</em> brand new website. This site will be my <strong>new<strong> home on the web.</p>
Don’t forget to hit save and then refresh the page in your browser to see the results.
How To Add Links In HTML
As you may have noticed, the internet is made up of lots of links.
Almost everything you click on while surfing the web is a link takes you to another page within the website you are visiting or to an external site.
Links are included in an attribute opened by the <a> tag. This element is the first that we’ve met which uses an attribute and so it looks different to previously mentioned tags.
The Anchor Tag
The <a> (or anchor) opening tag is written in the format:
The first part of the attribute points to the page that will open once the link is clicked.
Meanwhile, the second part of the attribute contains the text which will be displayed to a visitor in order to entice them to click on that link.
If you are building your own website then you will most likely host all of your pages on professional web hosting. In this case, internal links on your website will <a href=”mylinkedpage.html”>Linktle Here</a>.
Let’s Create An Anchor Tag
Let’s try it out. Make a duplicate of the code from your current index.html page. Copy / paste it into a new window in your HTML editor.
Save this new page as “page2.html” and ensure that it is saved in the same folder as your index.html page.
On page2.html add the following code:
This will create a link to Google on page 2. Hit save and return to your index.html page.
On a new line on index.html add the following code:
Ensure the folder path to the file (page2.html) is correct. Hit save and preview index.html in your browser.
If everything is correct then you will see a link which will take you to your second page. On the second page, there will be a link that will take you to google.com.
How To Add Images In HTML To Your Website
The attribute features information for your computer regarding the source, height, width and alt text of the image.
Styling and Formats
You can also define borders and other styles around the image using the class attribute. However, we shall cover this in a later tutorial.
The file types generally used for image files online are: .jpg, .png, and (less and less) .gif.
Alt text is important to ensure that your site is ranked correctly on search sites and also for visually impaired visitors to your site.
The <img> tag normally is written as follows:
<img src="yourimage.jpg" alt="Describe the image" height="X" width="X">
Let’s try it out.
Create Your Own Image With An Alt Text
Don’t be afraid to play around with the test code – it’s a great way to have fun while learning.
Save an image (.jpg, .png, .gif format) of your choice in the same folder where you’ve saved index.html and page2.html. Call this image “testpic.jpg.”
On a new line in your HTML editor enter the following code:
<img src="testpic.jpg" alt="This is a test image" height="42" width="42">
Hit save and preview the index.html page in your browser.
How To Make an HTML List
In web design, there are 3 different types of lists which you may wish to add to your site.
The first is an <ol>: This is an ordered list of contents. For example:
- An item
- Another item
- Another goes here.
Inside the <ol> tag we list each item on the list inside <li> </li> tags.
<ol> <li>An item </li> <li>Another item </li> <li>Another goes here </li> </ol>
The second type of list that you may wish to include is an <ul> unordered list. This is better known as a bullet point list and contains no numbers.
An example of this is:
<ul> <li>This is </li> <li>An Unordered </li> <li>List </li> </ul>
Finally, you may wish to include a definition list <dl> on your page. An example of a <dl> list is as follows:HTMLHypertext markup language is a programming language used to create web pages and is rendered by a web browser.
The code used for the above is as follows:
<dl> <dt>Item</dt> <dd>The definition goes here</dd> </dl>
Let’s try it out. Open index.html and on a new line, enter the following HTML:
<p>This website will have the following benefits for my business:</p> <ul> <li>Increased traffic </li> <li>Global Reach</li> <li>Promotional Opportunities</li> </ul>
Now hit save and check out the results in your browser. If everything worked out then it will display a bullet-pointed table displaying the information above.
How To Add Tables In HTML
Another way to keep your website looking neat and orderly is through the use of a table.
Do not use a table to layout your website. Search engines hate it and it is generally a bad idea. Just… don’t. See our CSS tutorial, instead.
This is definitely the most complicated part of this tutorial, however, learning it will certainly pay off in the long-run.
With this in mind, tables can still be a useful way to present content on your page.
What Does a Table Consist Of?
An example of an HTML table is as follows:
<table> <tr> <td>Row 1 - Column 1</td> <td>Row 1 - Colunm 2 </td> <td>Row 1 - Column 3 </td> </tr> <tr> <td>Row 2 - Column 1</td> <td>Row 2 - Column 2</td> <td>Row 2 - Column 3</td> </tr> </table>
This will produce a 2-row table with 3 cells in each row.
Tables can get quite complicated, so be sure to check out our special HTML tables tutorial.
However, watch out for these tags so that you can recognize them and use them as your skills develop.
Here are the tables tags presented in a table – pun totally intended.
|<thead>||Table Head||Top of the table|
|<tbody>||Table Body||Content of the table|
|<tfoot>||Table Foot||Bottom of the table|
|<colgroup>||Column Group||Within the table|
|<th>||Table Header||Data cell for the table header|
Tables, borders, spacing are usually styled using CSS but we will cover this in a later tutorial.
Let’s Make a Table
Go to a new line on the index.html page within your text editor. Enter the following HTML code:
<table> <tr> <td>Row 1 - Column 1</td> <td>Row 1 - Column 2 </td> </tr> <tr> <td>Row 2 - Column 1</td> <td>Row 2 - Column 2</td> </tr> </table>
Hit save and preview it in your browser.
Congratulations: You did it!
How To Close an HTML Document
You’ve reached the end of our absolute beginners HTML tutorial.
The final step we need to complete is to close the <body> and <html> tags at the end of each page using the following HTML code:
In this guide, you’ve learned how to create basic HTML web pages.
You’ve also learned to add headings, text, images, links, lists and basic tables to these pages.
You can now use this knowledge to create your own web pages containing these features and link them together.
We suggest that you further enhance your skills by experimenting with the code you’ve learned using different variables. You may also wish to learn about how to make your pages beautiful using CSS.
The power to create your own website is now in your hands.
In case things didn’t work out as intended, simply check your HTML code against the examples below.
Index.html troubleshooting code:
<!DOCTYPE html> <html> <head> <title>My First Webpage</title> <meta charset="UTF-8"> <meta name="description" content="This is my first website. It includes lots of information about my life."> </head> <body> <h1>Welcome to my webpage</h1> <p>Welcome to <em>my</em> brand new website.</p> <p>This site will be my <strong>new</strong> home on the web.</p> <a href="/page2.html">Page2</a> <img src="testpic.jpg" alt="This is a test image" height="42" width="42"> <p>This website will have the following benefits for my business:</p> <ul> <li>Increased traffic </li> <li>Global Reach</li> <li>Promotional Opportunities</li> </ul> <table> <tr> <td>Row 1 - Column 1</td> <td>Row 1 - Column 2 </td> </tr> <tr> <td>Row 2 - Column 1</td> <td>Row 2 - Column 2</td> </tr> </table> </body> </html>
page2.html troubleshooting code:
<!DOCTYPE html> <html> <head> <title>My First Webpage</title> <meta charset="UTF-8"> <meta name="description" content="This is my first website. It includes lots of information about my life."> </head> <body> <h1>Welcome to my webpage</h1> <p>Welcome to <em>my</em> brand new website.</p> <p>This site will be my <strong>new<strong> home on the web.</p> <a href="http://www.google.com">Google</a> </body> </html>
Our Other HTML Tutorials
Our HTML tutorials teach you how to create a personal website or site for your business, without forcing you to learn unnecessary theory.
Our most popular beginner’s tutorials include:
These tutorials guide you through the process of creating tables for your exact needs. Tables were once the primary means by which pages were laid out.
With the adoption of CSS, this is no longer necessary. And for good reason, because this created pages that were almost impossible to maintain. But for the purpose of display tables, HTML offers all the tools you will need.
There’s a lot more to links than just moving from page to page. In this tutorial, you will learn how to navigate pages and download files.
You’ll also learn how to make your links as user-friendly as possible. Links are the core of HTML so this is important stuff.
Forms are important for marketing as well as creating web applications and more.
At one time, the font was an HTML tag and it made creating maintainable web pages a nightmare. Now we use CSS to set fonts and their attributes like weight, style, and size.
And by using CSS, you can set the look of your pages consistently with the ability to radically change them by changing just a few lines of code. This tutorial explains all.
With the use of the img tag and CSS, you can do just about anything you want.
But with HTML5, you have the addition of the
figure elements. Find out how to do images right with this thorough tutorial.
Intermediate & Advanced Tutorials
We’ve plenty of topics for intermediate and advanced HTML learners, too:
CCS, Cascading Style Sheets, allow you to design and ornament your web pages.
This tutorial takes you from the beginning to being fluent in CSS so that you can create complex pages that are easily maintained.
This tutorial assumes you know nothing and gets you going with this essential programming language. It even introduces you to advanced subjects like AJAX and jQuery.
Video: This 3 minute crash course is a great way to start understanding HTML5.
HTML5 has revolutionized webpage markup with things like semantic and multimedia elements. Find out all about the new goodies that are waiting to be explored.
This tutorial introduces you to semantic markup that allows you to construct pages so that their structure reveals their content.
This is especially useful as search engines become more and more advanced — allowing them to find users the right information they are looking for.
You may have noticed that few people use the
i tag for italics and instead use the
This is because the
i tag is just a formatting tag and thus should really be accomplished with CSS. The
em has meaning: the text is emphasized.
Logical tags like
cite are important in the same way as semantic markup. Find more in this brief discussion.
HTML Reference Guides
Each tag reference includes background and examples, which show how to use the tag in question. It’s perfect for when you want to troubleshoot problems while coding HTML.
Below are some of the most common tags — used by nearly every website you encounter:
A tag that puts a
Links are far more powerful than new HTML coders realize. Find out all you need to know to make the greatest use of the
link tag can be confusing because it is easy to mix up with “links” (defined with the
link is a very powerful tag that allows you to link an HTML document to an outside resource like a CSS file. Find out all you need to know here.
Although HTML makes displaying images easy with the
This tutorial shows you how.
Another great aspect of HTML is its ability to use non-keyboard keys like ® (
®) and © (
This reference provides you with the information you need to make full use of these symbols.
Headings are a way to make text stand out by breaking up the page.
Paragraphs determine line spacing.
Create italics text just like in a word processor.
Bold text emphasizes keywords.
The anchor tag is most commonly used to create links in combination with the href attribute.
Unnumbered lists of bullet points use the Unordered List tag.
Each line on a list is enclosed by a List Item tag.
Blockquote tags are used to enclose quotations from people. This tag helps to differentiate the quote from the text around it.
A horizontal rule is a straight line commonly used for dividing areas of a webpage.
Learn the image tag to find out how to code pictures into your page.
The Division tag defines specific layout styles within CSS.
HTML Attributes Reference Guide
The HTML attributes section is designed to allow you to get up close and personal with the HTML attributes that you know and love while introducing you to some advanced attributes along the way.
Our most popular attributes include:
<img src=""> — Learn how to pick the image to display.
<img alt=""> — This sets the name of the image for those who can’t see the image for one reason or another.
<a target=""> – Links don’t have to fill the current page. There are other, often better, options.
<a href=""> — The basic link attribute sets where it will transport the user to.
<body background-*=""> — Learn to set a webpage’s background color, image, or more.
<table bordercolor=""> — Find out how to set the border color of your tables.