What is an HTML Element?

An HTML element is a component of an HTML document that tells a web browser how to structure and interpret a part of the HTML document. HTML elements can contain formatting instructions, semantic meaning, and content.

For example, HTML elements are used to denote document parts such as headers, paragraphs, and footers and to embed content such such as hyperlinks, text, and images. Although HTML can be used to provide formatting instructions, HTML standards strongly encourage using CSS for this purpose instead.

An HTML element is often — but not always — created by opening and closing HTML tags, which wrap around a piece of content. Below is an illustration that labels each of the parts of an HTML element:

Diagram of an HTML element

For more educational resources related to HTML elements, please visit:

  • How To Use and Understand HTML Elements
  • How To Build a Website With HTML Tutorial Series
  • How To Build a Website With HTML: A DigitalOcean Workshop Kit
  • How To Build a Website With HTML ebook

A complete list of educational resources related to HTML is available on our HTML page.