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Difference Between HTML and HTML 5 : Features and Advantages

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30th Jun, 2021
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Difference Between HTML and HTML 5 : Features and Advantages

Are you interested in becoming a web developer? Do you want to build websites that catch everyone’s eyes and stand out? If so, then you’ve come to the right place. 

In today’s column, we’ll discuss HTML, one of the rudimentary languages in web development. You’ll learn what’s the difference between HTML and HTML 5 in this detailed HTML vs HTML 5 blog. 

Understanding the difference is vital to know the highlights of each of these languages. 

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What is HTML?

HTML or HyperText Markup Language is a combination of Markup and Hypertext languages. It is the standard markup language to create web pages. We use HTML to design web pages and give them a structure. Hypertext refers to the link between two web pages, while markup refers to the text present in a tag that defines a xml. 

HTML annotates text so the machine can understand the information and modify the text as required. Almost all of the markup languages are easily readable. Such languages employ tags to define what kind of modifications are needed on a specific text. They allow you to structure and present content on web pages as you desire. 

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What is HTML 5?

HTML has received multiple updates since it arrived in the market. HTML 5 is its latest update. It is the last major HTML version that is a World Wide Web Consortium recommendation. It performs most of the tasks you can perform in HTML with some new additions that empower the internet you see today. 

As it’s the latest version of HTML, HTML 5 has many features and benefits that you wouldn’t find in the older language. HTML 5 was developed by the World Wide Web Consortium, Dave Hyatt, and 

The primary aim of HTML 5’s release was to enhance the original language and offer support for multimedia while keeping it easily readable by humans. The developers wanted HTML 5 to provide all of these features without the restrictions of XHTML while remaining backwards-compatible at the same time. 

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Difference between HTML and HTML 5

There are many differences between HTML and HTML 5, as the latter is a recent and updated version of the former. Following are the primary differences between the two:

  1. HTML is the primary language for web development. On the other hand, HTML 5 is the latest HTML version with new features, tags, and technologies.
  2. HTML doesn’t have support for audio and video content types. HTML 5 supports both video and audio. 
  3. A browser that uses HTML has to employ cache memory as the temporary storage solution. HTML 5 offers more specific storage options to browsers and lets you store data in multiple places, including application cache, web storage, SQL database, etc. 
  4. HTML is compatible with most browsers as it is the fundamental markup language for web development and has been present longer than HTML 5. However, HTML 5 introduces many new elements, features, and tags compatible with only a few browsers. Note that HTML 5 is compatible with most of the latest browsers, including Safari, Opera, Firefox, and Edge. 
  5. HTML’s older versions work poorly in mobile browsers because they were not designed for the same. HTML 5 is significantly more mobile-friendly. 
  6. To create vector graphics in HTML, you’ll have to use external tools such as Adobe Flash or SilverLight. On the other hand, HTML 5 offers support for vector graphics by default.
  7. HTML uses cookies to store the client’s data, whereas HTML 5 uses local storage for the same. 
  8. HTML doesn’t offer any facilities to create graphics, and you’d have to use different third-party tools for building them. HTML 5 lets you create graphics through SVG and canvas and doesn’t necessarily require third-party tools. 
  9. In HTML, JavaScript runs in the same thread with the browser interface. However, HTML 5 has the JavaScript Web Worker API that lets the browser interface operate in multiple threads. 
  10. Drawing shapes isn’t possible in HTML and its older versions, but you can create them in HTML 5.
  11. The Doctype declaration in HTML is very long and complex, while the Doctype declaration in HTML 5 is much simpler. 
  12. HTML can’t handle incorrect syntax, but HTML 5 can easily handle the same. 
  13. HTML does not have attributes like async, charset, and ping. On the other hand, HTML 5 has those attributes. 
  14. It is very challenging to get the true GeoLocation of a user by using the broker in HTML. However, you can easily track the user’s GeoLocation in HTML 5 using the JS GeoLocation API.
  15. HTML 5 has many elements and tags that weren’t present in HTML, including nav and header. 
  16. Encoding characters in HTML is long and complicated, while it’s significantly simpler in HTML 5.  

Apart from these differences, HTML 5 has changed or removed many HTML tags for offering better functionality to users. HTML 5 removed the <frameset>, <noframes>, and <frame> tag and changed the <applet> tag to <object>, <acronym> tag to <abbr>, and <dir> tag to <ul>. 

The <tt>, <center>, <basefont>, <strike>, <font>, and <big> tags didn’t get new tags in HTML 5. Instead, CSS is used for their functions. 

It also introduced a ton of new tags such as <source>, <footer>, <section>, <header>, <nav>, <data>, <audio>, <ruby>, <embed>, <datalist>, and many others. These new tags allow you to use many latest technologies and multimedia in your web pages. 

Features of HTML 5

Along with the differences we discussed above, HTML 5 has several features that make it worthwhile for the modern web developer. Below are its most robust features:

1. Streaming Videos:

HTML 5 has the <video> tag that allows you to stream videos directly from a website. You can determine the dimensions for this element and also create playback buttons such as pause and play. An example of the <video> tag is:

<video width=”10px” height=”10px” controls>

<source src=”video-url.mp4” type-”video/mp4”>


Here, the source src tag gives the URL that hosts the video, while the type tag explains the video’s type. Videos have become an integral part of modern-day media. YouTube, Moj, TikTok are some of the most prominent examples of video’s importance. 

2. Showcase Visual Content:

Apart from streaming videos, you can also add visual content such as illustrations, photos, or diagrams. To show visual content on your web pages in HTML 5, you can use the <figure> tag. 

You can post multiple images on your web page by using this tag:


<image src=”upgrad.png”>


Here, the <figure> elements contain the <img> element which has the src tag that identifies the image. 

3. Easier Organization:

One of the biggest highlights of HTML 5 is the simplicity it offers in organizing web pages. You can differentiate the web page into multiple sections and work with them accordingly. This allows you to manage web pages efficiently and effectively regardless of their complexity. The <section> in HTML 5 is similar to the <div> tag and allows you to divide the webpage content into thematic groups. 

The <nav> tag allows you to build the navigation section of your website where your web page links to other important pages of your website. You can organize the links in the <nav> section in multiple ways. 


<p><a href=”yourlogin.html”>Your Log In Page</a></p>

<p><a href=”yourhomepage.html”>Your Homepage</a></p>


Another tag that simplifies organization in HTML 5 is the <header> element. It allows you to group the introductory components of your website. This includes the navigation bar, the company logo, and other components. 


<img src=”upgrad-logo.png”>


<p><a href=”yourlogin.html”>Your Log In Page</a></p>

<p><a href=”yourhomepage.html”>Your Homepage</a></p>



Advantages of HTML 5

Our HTML vs HTML 5 discussion will be incomplete if we don’t address the various advantages HTML 5 offers its users. Following are its biggest advantages:

1. Multimedia Support

HTML 5 has simplified using multimedia such as audio and video. Before HTML 5, you had to use third-party software for adding such media to your web pages. It has also enhanced the functions you can add to these media, such as controls, playback features, etc. 

2. Cleaner Code

HTML 5 has revamped several tags and elements in HTML to enable simplified coding. For example, you no longer have to rely solely on the <div> tag as you have <section>, <header>, and other similar tags with more precise functions. 

3. Cross-browser compatible

HTML 5 introduced the cross-browser compatibility feature, and it’s supported by the latest versions of the most popular web browsers. If a particular browser does not support a feature on your website, you can display another text for solving the issue. That wasn’t possible with the older versions of HTML. 

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HTML is a robust markup language, and you must be familiar with its basics to use HTML 5 effectively. However, once you’ve learned the fundamentals, you should focus on learning HTML 5, as it’s the latest version of the popular markup language. 

If you’re interested in learning more, we recommend checking out our Executive PG Program in Software Development – Full Stack Development course. It will teach you these programming languages and other relevant concepts easily through lectures, assignments, and live sessions. 


Arjun Mathur

Blog Author
Arjun is Program marketing manager at UpGrad for the Software development program. Prior to UpGrad, he was a part of the French ride-sharing unicorn "BlaBlaCar" in India. He is a B.Tech in Computers Science from IIT Delhi and loves writing about technology.