HTML <body> Tag

The HTML <body> tag is used for creating a 'body' element. This element represents the main content section of the HTML document.

Generally, most content displayed on a typical web page is contained within the <body> element. Therefore, the <body> element usually contains many other elements (given the amount of content on a typical web page). This usually results in the <body> start tag being closer to the top of the document, with the end tag near the bottom.

The <body> element is categorized as "sectioning root". Most elements contained within the <body> are categorized as "flow content".

HTML documents must have no more than one <body> element.


The <body> tag is written as <body></body> with the document's content inserted between the start and end tags. Any attributes can be inserted into the start tag (for example, <body onload="">). Note that there are 12 event handlers that are only available for the <body> element (and the <frameset> element in HTML 4 and earlier) — these are listed further down this page.

The <body> must be the second element in an <html> element.

Like this:


This example demonstrates how the <body> element appears within an HTML document. Notice that none of the content outside of the <body> element appear on the page.


Attributes can be added to an HTML element to provide more information about how the element should appear or behave.

There are 3 kinds of attributes that you can add to your HTML tags: Element-specific, global, and event handler content attributes.

The <body> element accepts the following attributes.

Element-Specific Attributes

This table shows the attributes that are specific to the <body> tag/element.

HTML5 introduced the following event handlers that can be used with the <body> element (and the <frameset> element in HTML 4 and earlier).

onafterprintThe afterprint event handler
onbeforeprintThe beforeprint event handler
onbeforeunloadThe beforeunload event handler
onhashchangeThe hashchange event handler
onmessageThe message event handler
onofflineThe offline event handler
ononlineThe online event handler
onpagehideThe pagehide event handler
onpageshowThe pageshow event handler
onpopstateThe popstate event handler
onstorageThe storage event handler
onunloadThe unload event handler

Global Attributes

The following attributes are standard across all HTML5 elements. Therefore, you can use these attributes with the <body> tag , as well as with all other HTML tags.

For a full explanation of these attributes, see HTML 5 global attributes.

Event Handler Content Attributes

Event handler content attributes enable you to invoke a script from within your HTML. The script is invoked when a certain "event" occurs. Each event handler content attribute deals with a different event.

Below are the standard HTML5 event handler content attributes.

Again, you can use any of these with the <body> element, as well as any other HTML5 element.

For a full explanation of these attributes, see HTML 5 event handler content attributes.

Differences Between HTML 4 & HTML 5

The following attributes were supported in previous versions of HTML but are obsolete in HTML5:

HTML5 introduced the following event handlers that can be used with the <body> element and the <frameset> element.

To see more detail on the two versions see HTML5 <body> Tag and HTML4 <body> Tag. Also check out the links to the official specifications below.


Here's a template for the <body> tag with all available attributes for the tag (based on HTML5). These are grouped into attribute types, each type separated by a space. In many cases, you will probably only need one or two (if any) attributes. Simply remove the attributes you don't need.

For more information on attributes for this tag, see HTML5 <body> Tag and HTML4 <body> Tag.

* The attributes marked with an asterisk have a different meaning when specified on <body> elements as those elements expose event handlers of the Window object with the same names.

Tag Details

For more details about the <body> tag, see HTML5 <body> Tag and HTML4 <body> Tag.


Here are the official specifications for the <body> element.

What's the Difference?

W3C creates "snapshot" specifications that don't change once defined. So the HTML5 specification won't change once it becomes an official recommendation. WHATWG on the other hand, develops a "living standard" that is updated on a regular basis. In general, you will probably find that the HTML living standard will be more closely aligned to the current W3C draft than to the HTML5 specification.