What is HTML? What you should know about the most popular markup language on the internet – Business Insider – Business Insider

  • HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language, and is a coding language that controls how a website is structured.
  • HTML forms the backbone of the biggest websites on the internet, and is a basic part of website building.
  • HTML is mostly responsible for controlling how text appears, whether it be hyperlinks, bulleted lists, or other formatting options.
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Nearly every website you visit has been built using a variety of different coding languages. But when it comes to the internet, perhaps the most important is HTML.

HTML, also known as “Hypertext Markup Language,” is responsible for setting the structure and layout of a website, dictating the font size, color, and style, as well as creating hyperlinks and dictating where pictures appear and how.

In short, HTML keywords and tags control how a website looks and behaves. Without HTML, we’d be looking at plain text on blank pages.

HTML has been around since 1989, and received a major update a few years ago in the form of HTML5. If you’re looking to build your own website, you should know how to use HTML.

Here’s a basic guide to what HTML is.

What is HTML?

what is html 1

The programming language tags are used to identify and stylize a web page’s specific structural elements.
Jennifer Still/Business Insider

Of all the coding languages, HTML is perhaps the simplest. This is because it doesn’t use “dynamic functionality” the way other languages such as Ruby, JavaScript, and PHP can.

In other words, HTML can’t be used to automatically update content on a given website, or provide targeted information, like detecting a user’s location to show them the local weather. That being said, its limited abilities don’t make HTML any less useful — it remains an essential part of nearly all websites online. 

Here are some common tags:

and

: Enclosing sentences within this tag creates a paragraph.

and : Anything that appears within this tag will appear bolded.

and : This tag puts everything within it in italics.

and

: This divides a page into sections, or divisions, which helps make a page more readable.

and : This is a hyperlink tag that allows creators to hyperlink anything contained within. 

and : This tag displays images either uploaded to a server or externally linked.

If you look at a website’s source code, you can see HTML tags at work. Every piece of nearly every website you visit is touched by HTML in some way.

How does HTML work?

what is html 2

You can quickly draw up the code and create a simple webpage.
Jennifer Still/Business Insider

The above tags and all others included in the HTML language can be used as often as you want. You just need to make sure to close the tag — in other words, if you start a paragraph with

, you need to make sure to end it with

. If you don’t, your entire code can be screwed up.

HTML is open-source, meaning that it’s free to use and build upon however you like. It’s also supported by every major web browser on every device.

However, it does have its drawbacks. Since HTML is so simple, it’s difficult to create an aesthetically pleasing or advanced webpage using just it alone. It’s great as the basis for a webpage, but not the entire structure.

Since it’s so ubiquitous, though, anyone interested in web design should know how to use and read it.

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