HTML & CSS: What’s The Difference?

July 30, 2021

CSS stands for cascading style sheets, whereas HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language

If you are interested in web design, you need to know about HTML and CSS. Or perhaps you are new to the world of web design and development completely.

If you’re planning to venture into the tech industry, acronyms such as HTML and CSS can be confusing, but you’ll understand how the two acronyms work with time. They are two of the most significant languages you need to learn to get started in a tech career.

HTML & CSS are part of the essential programming languages for creating the overall presentation of web pages and web applications. HTML provides the structure, while the CSS file offers the styling and layout.

However, while HTML is the essential language you can use to develop any website, CSS is used for website presentation. Therefore, they are referred to as the core languages to build any website.

A web developer uses HTML to annotate text so that a machine can understand the text and manipulate it accordingly.

Intro to HTML

HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language. HyperText is defined as the link between the web pages. It is a markup language used to determine the text document within a tag, representing the styles and structure of a web page.

A web developer uses HTML to annotate text so that a machine can understand the text and manipulate it accordingly. Most markup languages are human-readable. HTML used tags to define what manipulation has to be done on the reader. The browser uses the HTML language to manipulate text, images, and other content in the required format. Tim Berners-Lee (the founder of W3C) created HTML in 1991 – HTML 1.0 – while the standard version web developers use today was published in 1999.

It is a language that most websites we use are written in. Developers use HTML to create web pages and make them functional.

HTML Formatting Tags

There are many tags used to format and layout content on a web page. Tags are used to specify hypertext links that enable web developers to direct users to other sites with a click of the mouse, either on an image or words.  

How Does HTML Work?

It works by telling the browser how to display a web page. Web developers use a basic text editor on the computer to create an HTML document and then fill the HTML document with a series of HTML elements (such as h1 color, head, etc.) and HTML attributes (such as rel stylesheet, style sheet, etc.) using HTML tags.

HTML describes the appearance of an HTML document to be displayed by a web browser. The documents consist of document tags describing a web page’s visual appearance or providing a directive command like inserting imagery or a link to another web page within a copy.

HTML documents are saved in text format, and they are designed to be viewed or edited on any operating system that can connect to the internet. 

Why Use HTML?

Web Page Development

The HTML language is heavily used in creating web pages that are displayed on any web browser. Every page of the web browser contains HTML tags and hyperlinks that can connect to other web pages. Thus, every page you see on the Web is written by web developers using a version of HTML code, even this one! It is the official standard for displaying web pages.

Internet Navigation

This is one of the most significant, even revolutionary uses of HTML. Navigation is possible by utilizing the idea of hypertext. It is a text which refers to other web pages or text, when users click on the link, it automatically navigates to referenced text or page. Some argue that HTML became so popular in web development because of this concept. In essence, it is possible to access any document on the Web by using a hypertext link. Thus, it is easy for users to easily navigate the web pages, websites, and different servers.

HTML Styling

Without styles, the internet site would be an incredibly dull place. HTML style elements allow for the styling of the web pages. For example, you can style the text’s font family, color, and font size with HTML style.

Offline Web Applications

These days, it is possible to access web apps while offline. HTML enables users to operate with their data and uses a cache manifest file to determine the data to store while offline. Users can as well generate PDF from HTML to use while offline.

User Friendly

Unlike other programming languages, HTML is user-friendly and easy to use, even for beginners. This is because it has semantic elements that describe the content they contain, like header, footer, main, summary, and time are HTML common tags that are self-descriptive.

Examples of HTML

The following are examples of HTML that you can use to create a basic web page. Try them out on a text editor to see how they look on your web browser.

<!DOCTYPE html>

You need this HTML tag at the beginning of every HTML document you create.


This is another HTML tag that tells a web browser that it’s reading HTML. This comes after the DOCTYPE tag, and you close it with a </html> tag right at the end of the HTML file you create. Whatever it is you are creating goes between these tags.

Some other examples of HTML are: <head></head>, <title>, <body>, <h1>, and more. You can check out the whole list of available HTML tags here.

Web pages including an html element and using CSS

CSS is a great way for web developers to preserve the desired colors, texts, and fonts of HTML documents.

Intro to CSS: Cascading Style Sheets

CSS, or cascading style sheets, are an increasingly common way for web developers to control the look and feel of web page presentations. For example, a style sheet enables web developers to specify the font, color, and size of an entire website without the need to code the information on each site’s page.

Style sheets separate the look and feel of HTML documents from the structure or the content. It is a great way for web developers to preserve the desired colors, texts, and fonts of HTML documents. However, a beginner in web design can also benefit from sites designed using the CSS file.

Also, web developers may choose to apply their different style sheets to documents, overriding other style sheets. For example, a beginner web developer with low vision could modify every CSS-enabled website to display text in yellow on a black background color if those colors enable him to read the text.

CSS is a designed language intended to allow HTML pages to be more presentable. CSS enables you to apply a style sheet to your HTML page. CSS is also easy to learn and provides robust control over the presentation of an HTML page.

So How Does CSS Work?

CSS makes an HTML page be more presentable by interacting with HTML elements. HTML elements are the individual HTML documents of a web page. For example, a paragraph in HTML might look like this:

<p>Content Writing</p>.

But if you want to make this paragraph appear blue and be bold to people viewing your web page through the internet, you would use CSS code that looks like this:

p { color: blue; font-weight: bold; }

“p,” in this case, refers to the “paragraph,” known as the selector, and it is part of CSS code specifying which HTML element the CSS style will affect. In CSS, the selector is written to the left of the first curly bracket “{. “

The information between curly brackets is a declaration containing properties and values applied to the selector. For example, properties are color, font size, margins, etc., which are the settings for those properties.

Thus, in the example shown above, the color and font-weight can also be classified as properties, and “blue” and “bold” are regarded as values.

Why Use CSS?

CSS is a powerful style sheet programming language that you can use to control the look and feel of the information written on the HTML page, which means that if you have a website element – <h1> for example – and you want to make the text font size “18px”, the color “red.” The padding around it is “8px,” you would use cascading style sheets (CSS) to control the look of the HTML website <h1> element. 

CSS Provides Efficiency in Design and Updates

This approach provides many benefits when your client requires website-wide ranges. You can create a CSS rule and apply the rule to any HTML element within the site. In addition, since the content is completely separated from your design, you can make those changes in your style sheet and have it more presentable in every applicable instance.

CSS Is Easy to Work With

You can keep every visible part of your website wholly separated from CSS content when creating a website. CSS enables you to create layouts and troubleshoot any problems quickly. In addition, regardless of the web page, you can control all elements from a single style sheet or many.

It Is Used for Website Maintenance

Another reason web developers use CSS is that CSS plays a vital role while performing site maintenance. CSS makes a site much easier to navigate, and CSS files make the website feel more flexible and can also be altered more conveniently. In addition, CSS files make the HTML formatting and corresponding data elements modification easier to use. Thus, with CSS, website maintenance becomes more convenient from the development perspective. 

Examples of CSS

CSS Code for Easy Paragraph Formatting

With CSS styling code, you don’t have to specify a style every time you create a web page. Instead, you may decide that all paragraphs should have a particular type. For example, let’s assume you want the paragraph

-<p>, I’m a web developer – slightly larger than usual with dark red text instead of black. This CSS code is:

p { font size: 110%; color: dimred;}.

However, anytime the web browser renders a paragraph, the text will automatically inherit the size (110% of normal) and color (“dimred”).

CSS Makes It Easy To Change Link Colors

Changing of styles is not limited to paragraphs. There are four various colors a link can be assigned: visited color, hover color, standard color, and active color.

For example:

a:link {color: gray; }

a visited {color: green; }

a:active{color: teal; }

a:hover {color: purple; }.

However, with links, each “a” is followed by a colon and not a dot. This means those declarations change the color of a link in a specific context. Therefore, there is no need to change the class of a link to get it to change color.  

h1 color elements can help with the markup language

The World Wide Web Consortium

The W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) is an international standard company that works together for the long-term growth of the Web. This is done by developing principles and protocols that allow the furthering of the W3C’s vision that the Web is for everyone and allows participation and knowledge sharing by professionals globally. 

W3C was founded in 1994, and Tim Berners-Lee currently leads it. W3C is made up of companies that maintain full-time staff working together to develop standards for the Web.

According to, as of 21st July 2021, W3C has 444 members.

In addition, W3C also engages in education and outreach, develops software, and serves as a community forum to discuss anything about the Web.

HTML and CSS are the primary coding languages of web development, providing the foundation for taking your tech skills to the next level.

How Do HTML & CSS Relate To Each Other?

To learn the basics of web development, you need to master HTML and CSS. HTML is the foundation of web content, known as the web developer’s information on the HTML page that the users see and interact with on web browsers, including text, pictures, videos, etc.

A CSS style is a performance just like the client-side of the Web, which the users can see and interact with.

For example, the text, font size, image, and background color are used to change the appearance of the content, which is known as representations.

HTML and CSS are two essential programming languages in creating a web page.

An HTML file contains the web page structure, while a CSS file contains the styling of web pages, including colors, layout, fonts, etc.

Are They Still Relevant Today?

Of course, yes, they are still relevant in the tech industry. Even web developers use them as a foundation of web design. They are rules for styling and structuring content on a web page. They are used to add meaningful structure to web content and eliminate unwanted tags on the HTML page. 

Should I Learn HTML & CSS?

As an inexperienced web developer, the best way to start is to equip yourself with basic HTML and CSS skills. These two programming languages are relevant for a beginner in web development and are also used in other professional settings. The fact is, basic knowledge of the two programming languages could be a massive plus to your career. The following are the reasons why you need to learn HTML and CSS programming languages.

They Make it Easier to Learn Other Languages Faster

Understanding the foundational programming languages will be more accessible for you to grasp other programming languages, including JavaScript, Python, PHP, SQL, and more. In addition, the best way to get more serious in web development is by knowing the foundational programming languages, adding additional coding languages to your skill-set arms you with technical advantages and expertise.

Applications Across Industries

Being able to create sites or having knowledge of how the two coding languages are utilized can help you create and develop optimized and user-friendly sites without having to struggle for better results. HTML and CSS can also be used in other industries such as marketing and advertising. For example, as a digital marketer, understanding how a web page is built enables you to design and develop more marketing campaigns.

Final Word

HTML and CSS are foundational programming languages that are used for the creation of desirable web pages. After comparing both languages over their different uses and how they work, it can be seen that both coding languages are essential for creating attractive web pages.

Perhaps you are looking to venture into the exciting industry of web development, or you are an inexperienced web developer looking to enhance your career. This is the best time to take the next step toward achieving your goals.

HTML and CSS are the primary coding languages of web development, providing the foundation for taking your tech skills to the next level.

A CSS stylesheet

About the author: Joe Silk -

Joseph is a freelance writer who focuses on sharing our Startup Oasis team's abundant knowledge with the rest of the world. Our team has no secret for anything to do with Startups, SaaS software firms, technology, Web and mobile apps, IoT, UI/UX Design. View on Linkedin