In the vast realm of web development, HTML stands tall as the foundation of every web page you visit. HTML, which stands for HyperText Markup Language, is a markup language used to structure the content on the World Wide Web. Whether you’re browsing a site, shopping online, or reading an article, this markup language is working behind the scenes to ensure that the web page is displayed correctly. Read on to learn more about what is HTML, its role in web development, the basic structure of an HTML document, and some common tags you’re likely to encounter.

What is HTML?

HTML is a language that uses tags to structure and present content on the web. It provides a framework for organizing text, images, videos, and other elements into a cohesive and meaningful format. These tags act as building blocks, defining the structure of a web page and instructing web browsers on how to display the content. In essence, HTML serves as the backbone of every web page, defining the content’s semantics and allowing for easy navigation and accessibility.

Understanding the role of HTML in web development

HTML plays a big role in web development since it establishes the structural layout of a website. It determines how elements are arranged on a page, enabling developers to create headings, paragraphs, lists, images, and links.

Through the proper use of HTML, developers can ensure that their web pages are well-organized, readable, and user-friendly. Furthermore, HTML provides the structure that CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and JavaScript build upon to add visual design and interactivity to a website.

The basic structure of an HTML document

An HTML document is composed of several essential elements that work together to create a web page. Here’s a breakdown of the basic structure.

what is html - html document example
  • Doctype: The doctype declaration is the first line of an HTML document and specifies the HTML version being used.
  • HTML: The <html> tag serves as the container for the entire document. It is the root element and encapsulates the other elements. It also has a corresponding closing tag: </html>.
  • Head: The <head> element contains metadata about the document, such as the title, character encoding, and links to external stylesheets or scripts. Its closing tag is </head>.
  • Body: The <body> element encloses the visible content of the web page, including text, images, videos, and other elements. Quite similarly to the other ones, its closing tag is </body>.

Common HTML tags and their uses

HTML provides a wide range of tags to structure and format the content of a web page. Here are a few commonly used tags and their purposes.

  • <h1> to <h6>: Heading tags represent different levels of headings, with <h1> being the highest and <h6> being the lowest. They are used to structure the content and convey hierarchy. All of them have closing tags.
  • <p>: The <p> tag is used for paragraphs, allowing you to separate and format blocks of text. There’s the closing tag </p> to indicate the ending of a paragraph.
  • <a>: The <a> tag creates a hyperlink, allowing users to navigate to another web page, a specific section within the same page, or an external resource. To determine where the link ends, use the closing tag </a>.
  • <img>: The <img> tag is used to embed images into a web page, with attributes specifying the image source, alt text, and dimensions. The <img> tag is also self-closing and does not require a separate closing tag.


HTML is the backbone of the World Wide Web, providing the essential structure and organization for web pages. It enables developers to create content-rich websites, ensuring proper layout and accessibility. Understanding this markup language and its tags is vital for anyone interested in web development. Now that you know what is HTML and its importance, you can begin building websites that showcase structure, creativity, and functionality.

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