When you work on code on your WordPress hosting, or website, understanding the differences between HTML and HTML5 is vital. Both have slightly different technical processes, although many people may use the terms interchangeably. 

In this article, let’s go over the terms and differences between them, so you notice which benefits you the most. 

What is HTML?

Hyper-Text Markup Language (HTML) is the first and modest version of markup language. It offers the basic structure of sites and heavily depends on other languages, such as CSS and JavaScript.  

When it was invented by Tim Berners-Lee in 1991, the purpose of HTML was only for a simple layout and static elements.

What is HTML5?

HTML5 doesn’t refer to a different system, but it’s the newer version of HTML. This version was released in October 2014 and has brought plenty of new features, especially to make sites more interactive and responsive with various devices. 

Although JavaScript and CSS are still valuable companions for HTML5, you don’t have to rely on these other languages to develop a complete website. 


HTML vs. HTML5: Their Differences

Both HTML and HTML5 apply tags to define the structure of a page, including headings and paragraphs. Every tag is started with an opening tag <a> and closed with </a>.  

Yet, the updated version brings major improvements to the system. Know the differences between HTML and HTML5 based on several aspects below. 



Since HTML was built a long time ago, it’s compatible with nearly all browsers. However, browsers that don’t support some third-party plugins will encounter compatibility issues. 

For example, Apple’s Safari removed Flash in 2010, so Apple users couldn’t access websites with that plugin attached. Then, in January 2021, Adobe officially disabled Flash, so content supported by this program will disappear from the Internet. 


On the other hand, HTML5 is only compatible with modern browsers, like Microsoft Edge, Chrome, and Firefox. There are many new or removed tags on this version, so older browsers won’t be able to load some of the elements. 

Multimedia Support

In HTML, other programs, like Flash, VML, or Silverlight, are required to play audio and video formats or even a simple animation. 

Meanwhile, HTML5 has video and audio tags allowing browsers to play the formats natively, so developers don’t have to depend on third-party integration.


This version also embeds SVG vector graphics, meaning the images can be resized without losing quality. You can also run interactive media or games in web browsers and apply drag-and-drop effects.  

With additional graphic tools, like WebGL, and the computer’s graphics processor, developers can display 3D graphics in HTML5. 



The older version of HTML relies on Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML). This language was coined in the 1960s, so it’s hard to align it with modern web applications. 


In HTML 5, developers no longer conform to the language since it has updated standards. It results in easier error handling because a minor error won’t cause huge issues to the page viewers, like a page doesn’t load completely.  

The first HTML requires the use of <div> to start a tag, such as <div id=”header”>, but it’s omitted in HTML5 as you can immediately open it, for example, <header>. Other new tags enhance the graphical and media elements, such as <canvas>, <video>, and <svg>


In HTML, JavaScript and the browser interface where users interact with run in the same thread. A slight issue will turn down the overall performance. 

The new version works with JavaScript Web Workers that supports multithreading to build parallelism, meaning that even if a part is broken, the program may continue running. 


Mobile Support

In the era of original HTML, people could only access the Internet on computers. Now, thanks to HTML5’s speed, it’s all accessible from less powerful devices like smartphones and watches. 

Control and Functionality

HTML only supports text, password, and file upload input types. Although it’s enough to create a basic input form, HTML5 offers much more. New kinds of form controls come with phone numbers, email addresses, URLs, and time. 


The newer version also uses JS Geolocation API to track and identify the locations of devices using technologies like IP addresses and GPS.  

The geolocation can deliver a personalized experience based on users’ location, such as the current weather and pickup coordinates for transport services. 

Web Storage

HTML applies browser cache memories for storing data, so the size of the stored data is limited.  

Meanwhile, HTML5 doesn’t rely on cookies to store data because it uses local storage on users’ devices. For temporary storing, HTML5 uses web SQL databases. 

Thus, developers applying this version don’t need to worry about users who disable cookies by default. It also allows you to save the users’ information about previous sessions and personal customization. Apps or websites may continue working properly even without an Internet connection.  


With this article, I hope you will better understand the differences between HTML and HTML5. As the updated version brings more capabilities, like native video and audio support and clearer tags, many developers start to consider moving to HTML5.