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HTML4 Tutorial

Jakob Jenkov
Last update: 2014-06-28

HTML is a language mainly used on the Internet for the content and structure of a website. A website typically consists of multiple pages, and each page is written in HTML.

HTML is short for Hyper Text Markup Language. Hypertext means that you can embed links inside the texts. When you click the links you are taken to other parts of the text. In case of HTML a link can take you to a different location either inside the same HTML page, or in another HTML page. In fact you can do a whole lot more than that in HTML to make the pages dynamic.

That HTML is a markup language means that you write the content of an HTML page as ordinary text, and then add markup codes around the parts of the text that needs special formatting. HTML documents are displayed in a program called a browser. When the browser reads the HTML document, it will interpret the HTML markup codes, and visually format the document accordingly.

Every HTML page is also called an HTML document. Each HTML document consists of HTML elements. Here is an example HTML document as it is written in text:

     <title>Page Title</title>
        Page Content

Here is how the HTML document looks in a browser:

An HTML document as it looks in the browser.
An HTML document as it looks in the browser.

Both HTML elements and documents are explained in more detail throughout the rest of this tutorial.

HTML Versions

The HTML standard is constantly evolving and exist in multiple versions. The newest version is HTML 5. HTML 5 is a set of new HTML elements added to HTML4, plus redefinitions of some of the existing HTML4 elements. This tutorial explains HTML 4 which is necessary to understand in order to learn HTML5. The HTML standard is defined by the World Wide Web Consortium. Their website is located at:


I have a HTML5 Tutorial on this website too.

HTML4 Compressed - Kindle Book

For those of you that prefer to read this HTML4 tutorial on your Kindle, I have a book available on Amazon for $0.99 called HTML 4 Compressed. I wanted to make it free, but Amazon does not allow that. In some countries Amazon adds an extra fee. I have no idea why.

The book covers all the same topics as this tutorial.

Go to the HTML4 Compressed book page.

Feel Free to Contact Me

If you disagree with anything I write here about the HTML4 tutorial, or just have comments, questions, etc, feel free to send me an email. You wouldn't be the first to do so. You can find my email address on the about page.

Jakob Jenkov

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