HTML <html> Tag

The HTML <html> tag represents the root of an HTML document. It is the container that contains all other HTML elements.

Note that the <html> tag doesn't contain the <!doctype>, because technically, the <!doctype> is not an HTML element.


The <html> tag is written as <html></html> with all other HTML elements enclosed between the start and end tags.

The <html> element is the first HTML element in an HTML document (however, it must be preceded by a <!doctype>).

The first tag inside a <html> tag must be a <head> tag, followed by a <body> tag.

Like this:


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 <html> element accepts the following attributes.

Element-Specific Attributes

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

ManifestSpecifies the address of the document's application cache manifest. The value must be a valid URL.

Global Attributes

The following attributes are standard across all HTML5 elements. Therefore, you can use these attributes with the <html> 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 <html> 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 version attribute is not supported in HTML5 (it was deprecated in HTML 4).

HTML5 introduced the manifest attribute.

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


Here's a template for the <html> 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 <html> Tag and HTML4 <html> Tag.

Tag Details

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


Here are the official specifications for the <html> 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.