HTML Vs CSS: What Are The Major Differences?

HTML Vs CSS: What Are The Major Differences?


HTML and CSS are the two fundamental technologies that serve as the foundation for modern web development. The structure and content of a webpage are provided by HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), while the design and appearance are controlled by CSS (Cascading Style Sheets).

They work together to create visually appealing and functioning websites. Understanding the distinctions and interactions between HTML and CSS is critical for new web developers and anybody interested in web content creation.

In this article, we will look at the differences and similarities between HTML and CSS, diving into their specific roles, examining their complementary nature, and highlighting their importance in the world of web development.

What is HTML?

HTML is a markup language that defines the structure and content of a web page. It uses a set of tags to indicate the start and end of elements, which determine how the content is displayed in a browser. These tags are enclosed in angle brackets (“<>” symbol).

In simpler terms, HTML is like the blueprint or scaffolding of a webpage. It provides the necessary structure for organising text, images, and other media elements.

What is CSS?

CSS, on the other hand, is a style sheet language that controls the appearance of HTML elements. It allows you to define various styles such as fonts, colors, margins, and layouts. CSS works by selecting HTML elements and applying styling rules to them.

Think of CSS as the interior designer of the web. It takes the HTML structure and adds the visual flair to make the page look attractive and appealing to visitors.

Importance of HTML and CSS in Web Development

HTML and CSS are essential for web development; by learning and successfully utilising these languages, you will be able to design aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly websites. They provide you complete control over the layout, typography, colours, and general appearance of your web pages.

Also, HTML and CSS play a crucial role in creating websites that are accessible to all users, including those with disabilities. Semantic HTML and proper use of CSS can enhance the structure and readability of a webpage, making it easier for screen readers to navigate and understand the content.

In summary, HTML and CSS are the dynamic duo of web development, working together to bring your designs to life and create engaging user experiences.

Role and Functionality of HTML

HTML serves as the foundation for creating the structure and content of web pages. Think of it as the scaffolding that holds everything together. HTML uses tags to mark up elements such as headings, paragraphs, images, links, and more. These tags define the structure of the page and provide meaning to the content.

Structure and Markup in HTML

HTML is responsible for organising the elements on a webpage in a hierarchical manner. It allows you to create different headings, paragraphs, lists, tables, forms, and other structural components. By using the appropriate tags, you can then give your content a logical structure that improves readability and search engine optimisation.

HTML5: Evolution and New Features

HTML is constantly evolving to meet the needs of current web development. HTML5, the most recent version, added various new capabilities that improve the user experience. Multimedia compatibility, drag and drop functionality, a canvas for drawing and animations, and semantic features that provide meaning to the content are all included.

Role and Functionality of CSS

While HTML takes care of the structure and content, CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets, handles the visual presentation of a webpage. CSS allows you to control the colour, layout, typography, and other visual aspects of your web pages.

Styling and Presentation with CSS

CSS offers an array of styling options for making your web pages visually appealing. Colours, fonts, spacing, borders, backgrounds, and more. CSS allows you to change the appearance of several web pages at the same time by separating the visual presentation from the underlying structure with just a few lines of code.

Responsive Web Design and CSS

With the growing number of devices and screen sizes, responsive web design has become critical. CSS is essential in developing responsive layouts that adjust to multiple screen sizes. CSS allows you to design websites that appear excellent on all platforms, from smartphones to giant desktop screens, by using media queries and flexible units like percentages.

How HTML and CSS Work Together

HTML and CSS work together as a team. HTML tags give meaning to the elements, and CSS selectors target those elements to apply styling rules. By linking the CSS file to the HTML document using the <link> tag or embedding CSS code directly in the <style> tags, you can bring your web pages to life.


External styles are defined within the <link> element, inside the <head> section of an HTML page:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<link rel="stylesheet" href="styles.css">

<h1>This is a heading</h1>
<p>This is a paragraph.</p>



Internal styles are defined within the <style> element, inside the <head> section of an HTML page:

<!DOCTYPE html>
    <title>Internal CSS Example</title>
        body {
            font-family: Roboto, sans-serif;
            background-color: #f2f2f2;

        h1 {
            color: #ff6600;

        p {
            font-size: 16px;
            line-height: 1.6;

        .highlight {
            background-color: yellow;
    <h1>Welcome to My Website</h1>
    <p>This is an example of how internal CSS styles are 
embedded in HTML.</p>
    <p class="highlight">The .highlight class will make 
this text stand out with a yellow background.</p>

Best Practices

To get the most out of HTML and CSS, stick to recommended practises that promote clean, efficient, and maintainable code.

  • When writing HTML, it’s essential to use proper indentation, semantic tags, and meaningful class and ID names.
  • Avoid unnecessary nesting in your HTML elements and strive for simplicity and clarity in your markup.
  • Optimise your CSS, to reduce redundancy by using selectors efficiently, grouping similar styles, and utilising inheritance and cascading effectively. 
  • Minifying and compressing your CSS files can also speed up website load times, improving the user experience.


Finally, HTML and CSS are the web’s building pieces, each with its own specific purpose and functionality.

In the fascinating world of web development, HTML provides the structure and content, CSS adds the creative flair and visual appeal. Understanding the differences between these two technologies is critical for anyone aspiring to be a web developer.

They are both important skills to have and will surely benefit your career in web development.

Further reading

Want to learn more about structuring the web with HTML? Then check out – Structuring the web with HTML – Learn web development | MDN

See also

What is HTML? Basics Explained
What is CSS? Basics Explained
Demystify HTML Syntax and Structure: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide
How do you use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)?

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