In HTML, link types indicate the relationship between two documents, in which one links to the other using an <a>, <area>, or <link> element.

List of the defined link types and their significance in HTML
Link Type Description Allowed in these elements Not allowed in these elements
alternate
  • If the element is <link> and the rel attribute also contains the stylesheet type, the link defines an alternative style sheet; in that case the title attribute must be present and not be the empty string.
  • If the type is set to application/rss+xml or application/atom+xml, the link defines a syndication feed. The first one defined on the page is the default.
  • Otherwise, the link defines an alternative page, of one of these types:
    • for another medium, like a handheld device (if the media attribute is set)
    • in another language (if the hreflang attribute is set),
    • in another format, such as a PDF (if the type attribute is set)
    • a combination of these
<a>, <area>, <link> None.
archives Defines a hyperlink to a document that contains an archive link to this one. For example, a blog entry could link to a monthly index page this way.

Note: Although recognized, the singular archive is incorrect and must be avoided.
<a>, <area>, <link> None.
author Defines a hyperlink to a page describing the author or providing a way to contact the author.

Note: This may be a mailto: hyperlink, but this is not recommended on public pages as robot harvesters will quickly lead to a lot of spam sent to the address. In that case, it is better to lead to a page containing a contact form.

Although recognized, the rev attribute on <a>, <area> or<link> elements with a link type of made is incorrect and should be replaced by the rel attribute with this link type.
<a>, <area>, <link> None.
bookmark Indicates that the hyperlink is a permalink for the nearest ancestor <article> element. If none, it is a permalink for the section that the element is most closely associated to.

This allows for bookmarking a single article in a page containing multiple articles, such as on a monthly summary blog page, or a blog aggregator.
<a>, <area> <link>
canonical From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: Canonical_link_element
A canonical link element is an HTML element that helps webmasters prevent duplicate content issues by specifying the "canonical" or "preferred" version of a web page as part of search engine optimization.
<link> ???
dns-prefetch Hints to the browser that a resources is needed allowing the browser to do a DNS lookup and protocol handshaking before a user clicks the link. <link> <a>, <area>
external Indicates that the hyperlink leads to a resource outside the site of the current page; that is, following the link will make the user leave the site. <a>, <area> <link>
first Indicates that the hyperlink leads to the first resource of the sequence the current page is in.

Note: Other link types related to linking resources in the same sequence are last, prev, next.

Although recognized, the synonyms begin and start are incorrect and must be avoided.
<a>, <area>, <link> None.
help
  • If the element is <a> or <area>, it indicates that the hyperlink leads to a resource giving further help about the parent of the element, and its descendants.
  • If the element is <link> it indicates that the hyperlink leads to a resource giving further help about the page as a whole.
<a>, <area>, <link> None.
icon Defines a resource for representing the page in the user interface, usually an icon (auditory or visual).

If there are multiple <link rel="icon">s, the browser uses their media, type, and sizes attributes to select the most appropriate icon. If several icons are equally appropriate, the last one is used. If the most appropriate icon is later found to be inappropriate, for example because it uses an unsupported format, the browser proceeds to the next-most appropriate, and so on.

Note: Apple's iOS does not use this link type, nor the sizes attribute, like others mobile browsers do, to select a webpage icon for Web Clip or a start-up placeholder. Instead it uses the non-standard apple-touch-icon and apple-touch-startup-image respectively.

The shortcut link type is often seen before icon, but this link type is non-conforming, ignored and web authors must not use it anymore.
<link> <a>, <area>
import HTML Imports    
index Indicates that the page is part of a hierarchical structure and that the hyperlink leads to the top level resource of that structure.

If one or several up link types are also present, the number of these up indicates the depth of the current page in the hierarchy.
<a>, <area>, <link> None.
last Indicates that the hyperlink leads to the last resource of the sequence the current page is in.

Note: Other link types related to linking resources in the same sequence are first, prev, next.

Although recognized, the synonym end is incorrect and must be avoided.
<a>, <area>, <link> None.
license Indicates that the hyperlink leads to a document describing the licensing information. If not inside the <head> element, the standard doesn't distinguish between a hyperlink applying to a specific part of the document or to the document as a whole. Only the data on the page can indicate this.

Note: Although recognized, the synonym copyright is incorrect and must be avoided.
<a>, <area>, <link> None.
manifest Indicates that the linked file is a Web App Manifest. <link> <a>, <area>
modulepreload Initiates early (and high-priority) loading of module scripts. <link> <a>, <area>
next Indicates that the hyperlink leads to the next resource of the sequence the current page is in.

Note: Other link types related to linking resources in the same sequence are first, prev, last.
<a>, <area>, <link> None.
nofollow Indicates that the linked document is not endorsed by the author of this one, for example if it has no control over it, if it is a bad example or if there is commercial relationship between the two (sold link). This link type may be used by some search engines that use popularity ranking techniques. <a>, <area> <link>
noopener

Instructs the browser to open the link without granting the new browsing context access to the document that opened it — by not setting the Window.opener property on the opened window (it returns null).

This is especially useful when opening untrusted links, in order to ensure they cannot tamper with the originating document via the Window.opener property (see About rel=noopener for more details), while still providing the Referer HTTP header (unless noreferrer is used as well).

Note that when noopener is used, nonempty target names other than _top, _self, and _parent are all treated like _blank in terms of deciding whether to open a new window/tab.

<a>, <area> <link>
noreferrer

Prevents the browser, when navigating to another page, to send this page address, or any other value, as referrer via the Referer: HTTP header.
(In Firefox, before Firefox 37, this worked only in links found in pages. Links clicked in the UI, like "Open in a new tab" via the contextual menu, ignored this).

<a>, <area> <link>
opener

Reverts implicit rel="noopener" addition on links with target="_blank" (See related HTML spec discussion, WebKit change, and Firefox bug discussion).

<a>, <area> <link>
pingback Defines an external resource URI to call if one wishes to make a comment or a citation about the webpage. The protocol used to make such a call is defined in the Pingback 1.0 specification.

Note: if the X-Pingback: HTTP header is also present, it supersedes the <link> element with this link type.
<link> <a>, <area>
preconnect Provides a hint to the browser suggesting that it open a connection to the linked web site in advance, without disclosing any private information or downloading any content, so that when the link is followed the linked content can be fetched more quickly. <link> <a>, <area>
prefetch Suggests that the browser fetch the linked resource in advance, as it is likely to be requested by the user. Starting with Firefox 44, the value of the crossorigin attribute is taken into consideration, making it possible to make anonymous prefetches.

Note: The Link Prefetch FAQ has details on which links can be prefetched and on alternative methods.
<a> Unimplemented,
<area> Unimplemented,
<link>
None.
preload Tells the browser to download a resource because this resource will be needed later during the current navigation. See Preloading content with rel="preload" for more details. <link> <a>, <area>
prerender Suggests that the browser fetch the linked resource in advance, and that it also render the prefetched content offscreen so it can be quickly presented to the user once needed. <link> <a>, <area>
prev Indicates that the hyperlink leads to the preceding resource of the sequence the current page is in.

Note: You can also use the next keyword to specify a link to the next page in the sequence.

Although recognized, the synonym previous is incorrect and must be avoided.
<a>, <area>, <link> None.
search Indicates that the hyperlink references a document whose interface is specially designed for searching in this document, or site, and its resources.

If the type attribute is set to application/opensearchdescription+xml the resource is an OpenSearch plugin that can be easily added to the interface of some browsers like Firefox or Internet Explorer.
<a>, <area>, <link> None.
shortlink shortlink Specification
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: URL shortening
Some websites create short links to make sharing links via instant messaging easier.
<link> ???
sidebar Indicates that the hyperlink leads to a resource that would be better suited for a secondary browsing context, like a sidebar. Browsers, that don't have such a context will ignore this keyword.

While once part of the HTML specification, this has been removed from the spec and is only implemented by versions of Firefox prior to Firefox 63.
<a>, <area>, <link> None.
stylesheet Defines an external resource to be used as a stylesheet. If the type is not set, the browser should assume it is a text/css stylesheet until further inspection.

If used in combination with the alternate keyword, it defines an alternative style sheet; in that case the title attribute must be present and not be the empty string.
<link> <a>, <area>
tag Indicates that the hyperlink refers to a document describing a tag that applies to this document.

Note: This link type should not be set on links to a member of a tag cloud as these do not apply to a single document but to a set of pages.
<a>, <area> <link>
up Indicates that the page is part of a hierarchical structure and that the hyperlink leads to the higher level resource of that structure.

The number of up link types indicates the depth difference between the current page and the linked resource.
<a>, <area>, <link> None.

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
Preload
The definition of 'preload' in that specification.
Candidate Recommendation Added preload.
Resource Hints
The definition of 'preconnect' in that specification.
Working Draft Added dns-prefetch, preconnect, and prerender values.
HTML Living Standard
The definition of 'link types' in that specification.
Living Standard  
HTML5
The definition of '<link>' in that specification.
Recommendation Added tag, stylesheet, search, prev, prefetch, noreferrer, nofollow, next, license, icon, help, bookmark, author, and alternate.
HTML 4.01 Specification
The definition of '<link>' in that specification.
Recommendation  

Browser compatibility

Update compatibility data on GitHub
DesktopMobile
ChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafariAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidEdge MobileFirefox for AndroidOpera for AndroidSafari on iOSSamsung Internet
Basic supportChrome Full support 1Edge Full support YesFirefox Full support 1IE Full support YesOpera Full support YesSafari Full support YesWebView Android Full support YesChrome Android Full support YesEdge Mobile Full support YesFirefox Android Full support 4Opera Android Full support YesSafari iOS Full support YesSamsung Internet Android Full support Yes
Alternative stylesheets.Chrome ? Edge ? Firefox Full support 3IE ? Opera Full support YesSafari ? WebView Android ? Chrome Android ? Edge Mobile ? Firefox Android Full support 4Opera Android ? Safari iOS ? Samsung Internet Android ?
dns-prefetch
Experimental
Chrome Full support 46Edge ? Firefox Full support 3IE ? Opera ? Safari ? WebView Android Full support 46Chrome Android Full support YesEdge Mobile ? Firefox Android Full support 4Opera Android ? Safari iOS ? Samsung Internet Android Full support Yes
manifest
ExperimentalNon-standard
Chrome No support NoEdge ? Firefox ? IE ? Opera ? Safari ? WebView Android Full support 39Chrome Android Full support 39Edge Mobile ? Firefox Android ? Opera Android ? Safari iOS ? Samsung Internet Android Full support 4.0
modulepreload
Experimental
Chrome Full support 66Edge ? Firefox ? IE ? Opera Full support 53Safari ? WebView Android Full support 66Chrome Android Full support 66Edge Mobile ? Firefox Android ? Opera Android Full support 53Safari iOS ? Samsung Internet Android ?
noopener
Non-standard
Chrome Full support 49Edge No support NoFirefox Full support 52
Notes
Full support 52
Notes
Notes Prior to Firefox 63, rel="noopener" created windows with all features disabled by default. Starting with Firefox 63, these windows have the same features enabled by default as any other window.
IE No support NoOpera Full support 36Safari Full support 10.1WebView Android Full support 49Chrome Android Full support 49Edge Mobile No support NoFirefox Android Full support 52
Notes
Full support 52
Notes
Notes Prior to Firefox 63, rel="noopener" created windows with all features disabled by default. Starting with Firefox 63, these windows have the same features enabled by default as any other window.
Opera Android Full support 32Safari iOS Full support 10.3Samsung Internet Android Full support 5.0
preconnect
Experimental
Chrome Full support 46Edge No support NoFirefox Full support 39
Notes
Full support 39
Notes
Notes Before Firefox 41, it doesn't obey the crossorigin attribute.
IE No support NoOpera ? Safari No support NoWebView Android Full support 46Chrome Android Full support 42Edge Mobile No support NoFirefox Android Full support 39
Notes
Full support 39
Notes
Notes Before Firefox 41, it doesn't obey the crossorigin attribute.
Opera Android ? Safari iOS No support NoSamsung Internet Android Full support 4.0
prefetch
Experimental
Chrome ? Edge ? Firefox ? IE ? Opera ? Safari ? WebView Android ? Chrome Android ? Edge Mobile ? Firefox Android ? Opera Android ? Safari iOS ? Samsung Internet Android ?
preload
Experimental
Chrome Full support 50Edge ? Firefox No support 56 — 57
Notes
No support 56 — 57
Notes
Notes Disabled due to various web compatibility issues (e.g. bug 1405761). An improved version that works for non-cacheable resources is expected to land soon.
IE ? Opera ? Safari ? WebView Android Full support 50Chrome Android Full support 50Edge Mobile ? Firefox Android No support 56 — 57
Notes
No support 56 — 57
Notes
Notes Disabled due to various web compatibility issues (e.g. bug 1405761). An improved version that works for non-cacheable resources is expected to land soon.
Opera Android ? Safari iOS ? Samsung Internet Android Full support 5.0
prerender
Experimental
Chrome ? Edge ? Firefox ? IE ? Opera ? Safari ? WebView Android ? Chrome Android ? Edge Mobile ? Firefox Android ? Opera Android ? Safari iOS ? Samsung Internet Android ?

Legend

Full support  
Full support
No support  
No support
Compatibility unknown  
Compatibility unknown
Experimental. Expect behavior to change in the future.
Experimental. Expect behavior to change in the future.
Non-standard. Expect poor cross-browser support.
Non-standard. Expect poor cross-browser support.
See implementation notes.
See implementation notes.