What is HTML?

HTML is short for HyperText Markup Language. It is important to understand that HTML is not actually a programming language. Instead, it is a special Markup Language that allows you to define the structure of a page. That means HTML is used by your web browser to determine where to draw each piece of content on the screen.

Each HTML building block, commonly called HTML Elements, is a self-contained block that can itself hold either text content or embedded HTML. The hierarchical representation of all of the elements combine to make a single page is called the Document Object Model (or DOM for short).

What is HyperText?

HyperText is any text that displayed on an electronic device which contains references to other text content that the reader can access, usually through a point-and-click interface. While traditional text documents (like books) are presented in a linear fashion, HyperText references create a large web shape that spans the world. This is why we call the internet the World Wide Web. The links that we create to other HyperText are called Hyperlinks.

The Structure of a Web Page

HTML describes the structure of a web page using a series of tags called HTML Elements. Each tag is used to label difference pieces of content on the page. We can use HTML to define navigation bars, headings, paragraphs, tables, etc.

Let’s look at a simple HTML document to get a feel for how to build them:

<!DOCTYPE html>
        <title>Hello Title</title>
        <h1>Hello Heading</h1>
        <p>Hello paragraph.</p>

Let’s break down this example a little:


The DOCTYPE element is required in modern web pages to tell the browser that it is looking at HTML 5. It has not purpose beyond that.

html Tag

An HTML document is contained within the html tags. Notice that HTML tags are paired with an open (<html>) and close (</html>) tag. Most HTML tags follow this pattern. The few that don’t are called Self-closing Tags.

head Tag

Within the HTML document, we create a head section. The HTML head is used to define metadata about the HTML document. Metadata means it is data about the rest of the HTML data. In the case of this example, we are giving the page a title.

body Tag

The body of an HTML document is where the content we see in the browser is defined. In this example we declare a Level-1 Heading (<h1>) and a Paragraph of text (<p>). We can build a hierarchy of content within the body tag to represent as complicated of a page as we need.


HTML is used to define the structure of the web pages all across the world. By learning a handful of basic HTML tags, you can get a long way in the process of designing your own pages. If you have any questions or comments, please contact the author chris@getupgraded.io.

Next Lesson: How to Write HTML

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