Web Design Basics : Introduction

HTML can be a little intimidating for those not accustomed to looking at the code. Once you familiarise yourself with the basics, it becomes easier to write your website using HTML code. This article will break down the basics of how to get your HTML page created. We will go over what HTML is, how to create an HTML page, HTML basics, and what program you can use to edit the HTML.

What is HTML?

HTML is Hyper Text Markup language. Web pages read HTML in order to display your website content. Saying “HTML page” is the same as saying “Web page“. HTML tags format the document and add functionality. For example, the headline of your site can use the headline tags <h1>,<h2> <h3> and so forth. This makes text larger and bold for a headline. The <h1> being the largest. The <p> tag is for paragraphs and so forth.

Important! In order for your home page to load, you will need to name it “index” (all lower case because Linux is case sensitive). If you name your home page home, for example, the server will not recognise it as the home page.

What program do I use to edit my HTML:

There are many ways to create HTML pages. You can use the File Manager code editor, a program like DreamWeaver, Notepad ++, Kompozer, PageBreeze, CoffeCup, Edit Plus or any text editor to create an HTML page. HTML is stored in regular text files. You simply name the file .html or .htm file extension. Our servers view .htm before .html in the normal file indexing. So if you have a file called index.htm and a file called index.html, the index.htm will load and not the index.html when visiting your site.

HTML basics: open and closed tags

In HTML, there are 2 types of tags: Open and Closed tags.

The opening and closing tag:

A tag that closes has 2 tags: an opening and a closing tag. See the following example;


The <body> is the beginning or opening tag and the </body> is the ending or closing tag. These tags have content or other HTML tags within them. Tags within another tag is called an “Element“. The following example shows the <body>with an “Element” in it.

  <p>This is text in my website.</p>

The beginning <body> tag tells the browser that the body of the page starts there and the </body> tag tells the browser the body of the page stops there. The <p> that is within the <body> tag is called an Element. This is because the <p>tag is Nested within the <body> tag.

The self-closing tag:

The tag that is left open has only one tag. The end of the tag contains a ( / ) telling the browser that the tag ends. An example of a tag that is left open is the following:

<link href="/support/" rel="" type="" />

There is not content that goes in this type of tag. These tags store HTML attributes that are used to reference other files or have attributes added to them. Common tags that don’t close are the <link /> <input /> <br /> and <hr />.

How to create your first HTML page:

In order to create a web page so it is properly read by the web browser, you will need 4 different HTML tags. Below is a table explaining the necessary tags for your web page.

Important! <!DOCTYPE html> The <!DOCTYPE html> type tells the browser how the web page is coded. This allows some sites to be rendered strict to the newest coding standard or to use a transitional type that allows older deprecated HTML tags in the document type. Don’t worry about the type of document type for now. This is not a tag; however, it is needed at the very top of the web page code.

Basic webpage tags
The <html> tag tells the browser that the code is an html document.
The <title> tag sets the text of the page for the browser toolbar and search results. This is not seen on the webpage itself. This is required in the head section of your Webpage.
The <head> tag is where code is stored that processes styles, scripts and links to internal documents and so forth. These do not display on the webpage. The tags used in the head section are <title>, <style>, <base>, <link>, <meta>, <script>,and <noscript>
The <body> tag is where all the content for your website is stored. This is what is visible to the visitor of the webpage.


To see this code in context, see the example below with the HTML tags in use in an actual web page.

<!DOCTYPE html />
    <title>This is the title of my website</title>
    <p>This is my webpage content.</p>


That’s how you set up a basic HTML page


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