Differences Between HTML4 & HTML5

HTML (HyperText Markup Language) is the language used to make every page on the web. HTML 4 and HTML 5 are two versions of the same standard, developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and web hypertext application technology working group (WHATWG).

Here are some of the main differences between these two versions.markup

Mark up

HTML4 used common structures such as: ‘header’, ‘column’ etc.

HTML5 is developed keeping in mind the usage of modern websites. New tags have been added: ‘header’ for headings; ‘nav’ for website navigation block; ‘footer’ for bottom lines in web page; ‘section’, ‘article’ or ‘aside’ for particular sections such as blogs, etc.

Error handling

supports what is called ‘tag soup’, this is, the ability to write malformed code and have it corrected into a valid document. But the problem is that rules for doing this aren’t written anywhere, so developers just have to test malformed documents in various browsers (especially Internet Explorer) to handle any errors. Also, HTML4 lacks rules for parsing, which makes it more difficult to handle errors.

HTML5 is attempting to solve this, so that browser developers can standardize and save time and money. It is also more flexible to handle inaccurate syntax, and it specifies the rules related to the parsing and lexing.


HTML5 introduces a number of APIs (application programming interfaces) that help in creating Web applications, like:

  • Drag and drop
  • Offline database storage
  • Document edition
  • Canvas 2D, that makes it easier to integrate video elements.

Browser support

browser-logosHTML4 is the markup language used for writing websites worldwide, and it is supported by all web browsers.

Although HTML5 is not yet an official standard, all major browsers (Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Internet Explorer) support most of its features.

Multimedia features

HTML4 needed external software, like Flash, to play videos and multimedia content. This sometimes caused problems due to incompatibility, etc.

HTML5 can embed video on web-pages without using any special software. It is also said to be capable of playing video games (8-bit) on the browser itself.

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