HTML Tags vs Elements vs Attributes: What’s the Difference?

So, you’re thinking about learning the Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) that’s used to create webpages? Whether you’re looking to embark on a career in web design/development, or if you are just doing it as a hobby, HTML will open up a whole new world of opportunities. Using this knowledge, you can navigate through the otherwise complex mechanics that power webpages, email, and even some applications.


Tags are used to define the beginning and end of an HTML element. They consist of an opening bracket ( < ), followed by the name of the element and then a closing bracket ( > ). If an attribute is being used in the tag, it will be included after the element.

Here’s an example of the HTML title tag:

<title> <title>

HTML Elements

The element consists of both the opening and closing tags as well as what’s inside those tags. It normally consists of some structure that’s used to define the respective tags.

Here’s an example of the HTML title element:

<title>My Webpage</title>

In this example, the HTML element is a title of “My Webpage,” complete with the opening and closing title tags.

HTML Attributes

Last but not least, attributes are used to define a property for one or more HTML elements. They are found within the element’s opening tag, often containing spaces that are separated by value pairs.

Here’s an example of the HTML alt text attribute:

<img src="dogs-playing.gif" alt="dogs playing outside">

In this example, the HTML attribute is an alt text of “dogs playing outside” for the image “dogs-playing.gif.” While images will typically render and display regardless of whether or not they contain alt text, adding this attribute is beneficial for several different reasons. For starters, alt text assists visitors with visual disabilities in identifying images and their content. Text-to-speech software will translate the alt text into actual speech, allowing the user to understand the image. Furthermore, search engines pay close attention to the alt text attribute of images, using this information to determine their meaning.

To Recap…

In HTML, tags are used at the beginning and end of an element. The element itself consists of the tags as well as the structure inside. And attributes are given to elements for the purpose of defining their property. Hopefully, this will give you a better understanding of tags, elements and attributes.

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