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The HTML <html> element represents the root (top-level element) of an HTML document, so it is also referred to as the root element. All other elements must be descendants of this element.

Content categories None.
Permitted content One <head> element, followed by one <body> element.
Tag omission The start tag may be omitted if the first thing inside the <html> element is not a comment.
The end tag may be omitted if the <html> element is not immediately followed by a comment, and it contains a <body> element either that is not empty or whose start tag is present.
Permitted parents As the root element of a document, or wherever a subdocument fragment is allowed in a compound document.
Permitted ARIA roles None
DOM interface HTMLHtmlElement


This element includes the global attributes.

Specifies the URI of a resource manifest indicating resources that should be cached locally. See Using the application cache for details.
Specifies the version of the HTML Document Type Definition that governs the current document. This attribute is not needed, because it is redundant with the version information in the document type declaration.
Specifies the XML Namespace of the document. Default value is "http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml". This is required in documents parsed with XML parsers, and optional in text/html documents.


<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">

Accessibility concerns

Providing a lang attribute with a valid IETF identifying language tag on the html element will help screen reading technology determine the proper language to announce. The identifying language tag should describe the language used by the majority of the content of the page. Without it, screen readers will typically default to the operating system's set language, which may cause mispronunciations.

Including a valid lang declaration on the html element also ensures that important metadata contained in the page's <head>, such as the page's <title>, are also announced properly.


Specification Status Comment
HTML Living Standard
The definition of '<html>' in that specification.
Living Standard  
The definition of '<html>' in that specification.
Recommendation Added support for the manifest attribute (deprecated later).
Obsoleted the version attribute
HTML 4.01 Specification
The definition of '<html>' in that specification.
Recommendation Deprecated the version attribute

Browser compatibility

FeatureChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafari
Basic support Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
manifest4 Yes



version Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
xmlns Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
FeatureAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidEdge mobileFirefox for AndroidOpera AndroidiOS SafariSamsung Internet
Basic support Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
manifest44 Yes4113.2 Yes
version Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
xmlns Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

1. Versions of Firefox prior to 3.5 ignore the NETWORK and FALLBACK sections of the cache manifest file.

See also

  • MathML top-level element: <math>
  • SVG top-level element: <svg>