How to Learn HTML on Your Own

There are plenty of free and cheap resources for learning HTML. Here we provide some tips for finding the most popular up-to-date tutorials and books.

Are you new to web design/development?

If you are new to web design or development or if you have only used WYSIWIG editors like Dreamweaver and you want to learn to code your own pages, learning HTML is the right place to start. So, read on.

How to Choose an HTML Tutorial

There are plenty of free HTML tutorials to choose from on the web. When evaluating an HTML tutorial, you should consider the following:

  1. Is it up to date? - HTML has changed a lot over the years. You want to make sure you're using a tutorial that teaches modern HTML and doesn't teach you a lot of bad practices that are no longer used.
  2. Does it get you coding quickly? - While it's fine (even good) if the tutorial starts with some context (e.g., what is the roll of HTML and how does it fit into the bigger picture of web development), we like tutorials to get you into the code pretty quickly. You will have time to learn about the history of HTML, but you should start by digging in and getting your hands dirty.
  3. Is it comprehensive? - A good HTML tutorial will, at a minimum, cover the following topics:
    • Tags and Attributes
    • Block and Inline Elements
    • Links
    • Images
    • Lists
    • Tables
    • Forms

In addition to our own free HTML tutorial (which has no ads), we recommend these other tutorials:

  1. HTML Dog's HTML Beginner Tutorial - a nice clean tutorial that covers the right content and doesn't have too many ads.
  2. w3schools' HTML(5) Tutorial - a solid HTML tutorial with try-it-yourself examples.
  3. Shay Howe's Learn to Code HTML & CSS - Shay does a good job integrating HTML with CSS, which arguably should be learned together.

How to Choose an HTML Book

It seems like every week there is a new HTML book released. On our last check, Amazon listed 5,602 HTML books and 260 in the last 12 months. Here's an excellent way to find a good introduction to HTML book on Once you identify the book you want, you can buy it from anywhere you like:

  1. Go to Amazon's Advanced Book Search.
  2. For Title, enter "HTML".
  3. For Subject, select "Computers & Technology" so you just get books about HTML programming (and not about How To Make Lasagna).
  4. For the Pub Date fields, enter "After", "Jan", "2014". This will ensure that most of the results account for HTML5 and that they're recent enough so that all of the content in an introductory book will still be relevant.
  5. For Sort Results by, select "Bestselling". You might be tempted to select "Avg. Customer Review", but that will result in a lot of noise as many of the books that have high average reviews only have a couple of ratings. So, your form should look like this:

    HTML Book Search
  6. Press Search
  7. On the left-hand side of the resulting search results page, under Audience, click Beginners & Seniors to filter out the books targeting experienced programmers:

    HTML Book Search: Beginners
  8. Finally, select one of the top books that looks appealing to you. You may want to use the Look Inside feature and read some of the reviews to make sure it feels like a fit.

Even with these search parameters, you get a lot of noise. If you want to skip the search and just buy a book, Murach's HTML5 and CSS3 is a good option.

And, of course, if you're looking for professional HTML training, please check out our courses listed below.

Happy HTML Learning!

Author: Nat Dunn

Nat Dunn is the founder of Webucator (, a company that has provided training for tens of thousands of students from thousands of organizations. Nat started the company in 2003 to combine his passion for technical training with his business expertise, and to help companies benefit from both. His previous experience was in sales, business and technical training, and management. Nat has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA in International Relations from Pomona College.

Follow Nat on Twitter at @natdunn and Webucator at @webucator.

About Webucator

Webucator provides instructor-led training to students throughout the US and Canada. We have trained over 90,000 students from over 16,000 organizations on technologies such as Microsoft ASP.NET, Microsoft Office, Azure, Windows, Java, Adobe, Python, SQL, JavaScript, Angular and much more. Check out our complete course catalog.