Versions of HTML

HTML 1.0 (1989 - 1994)

The first version of HTML that supported inline images and text controls. HTML 1.0 was very limited in terms of styling and presentation of content. In HTML 1.0, for example, you could not:

  • use tables or frames,
  • specify fonts,
  • change page background, or
  • use forms

Because of these limitations, every web page created with HTML 1.0 looked the same with similar background and the type of font used.


  • because the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) did not exist at the time HTML 1.0 first appeared, W3C did not formally specify the HTML 1.0 specification.
  • HTML 1.0 was only supported by Lynx (a non-graphical browser running on UNIX) and Mosaic.

HTML 2.0 (1995)

This specification supported more browsers. HTML 2.0 was considerably improved to support: It also supported:

  • forms with limited set of form elements such as text boxes, and option buttons
  • change of page background
  • use of tables


  • Around this time, HTML 1.1 also existed and was created by Netscape.
  • Browser makers started to (and still do) create their own features (thus requiring additional tags to use the features but the tags themselves were not part of the actual HTML specification).
  • Between HTML 1.0 and HTML 2.0 W3C was formed.

HTML 3.20 (1997)

This version included support for creating tables and expanded options for form elements. This version also allowed web pages to include complex mathematical equations.


  • Because W3C delayed agreeing on the next version (after HTML 2.0) of HTML, HTML 3.2 was created instead of HTML 3.0.
  • Although HTML 3.20 specification included support for CSS (cascaded style sheets), browser manufactures did not support it very well in their browsers.
  • Browser manufactures included support for frames even though HTML 3.2 specification did not support this feature.

HTML 4.01 (1999)

This version added support for style sheets and scripting ability for multimedia elements. HTML 4.01 focused on separating presentation styling information from the actual content by the use of style sheets as HTML 3.20 resulted in difficult maintenance because presentation styling information was included directly in the webpage. In HTML 4.0 with the use of style sheets, it is now possible to change the appearance/look of the website by changing just the style sheet (s) itself. In comparison, in the earlier versions of HTML making the same changes for the entire website meant changing the styling information in the individual pages! (A site with many pages would have meant many changes need to be made before the appearance of the website could be changed.)