HTML <header> Tag

The HTML <header> tag represents introductory content for its nearest ancestor sectioning content or sectioning root element.

Sectioning Content is content that defines the scope of headings and footers. The following elements are categorized as sectioning content: <article>, <aside>, <nav>, <section>

Sectioning Root elements can have their own outlines, but the sections and headings inside these elements do not contribute to the outlines of their ancestors. The following tags are categorized as sectioning roots (<blockquote>, <body>, <fieldset>, <figure>, <td>).

Headers can contain headings, subheadings, version information, search forms, logos, navigational controls, etc.


The <header> tag is written as <header></header> with the header content inserted between the start and end tags.

Like this:


Basic Overview

Elements Inside the <header> Element

A <header> element will typically contain a heading for the section (although this isn't required). A <header> element could also contain navigation, search, logos, and other content.

Document Headings

In this example, the <header> element contains a heading for the whole document. The document contains three separate articles on the same topic.

Article Headings

In this example, the <header> element is contained within an <article> element. This means that the <header> element applies to the <article> element (and not necessarily the whole document).

Logo & Search Form

In this example, the <header> element contains a logo and a search form.


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 <header> element accepts the following attributes.

Element-Specific Attributes

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


Global Attributes

The following attributes are standard across all HTML5 elements. Therefore, you can use these attributes with the <header> 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 <header> 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 <header> tag is new in HTML5.

For more detail, see HTML5 <header> Tag. Also check out the links to the official specifications below.


Here's a template for the <header> 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.

Note that the <header> element does not actually have any local attributes (i.e. attributes that are specific to the element), but the following global attributes and event handlers are available to the element (and all other HTML elements).

For more information on attributes for this tag, see HTML5 <header> Tag.

Tag Details

For more details about the <header> tag, see HTML5 <header> Tag.


Here are the official specifications for the <header> 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.