Difference Between HTML 4 and HTML 5

HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language. HTML forms the base of any website as HTML contains the information about the document and tells the browser what is the data on the page in terms of text, links, and also directs the browsers where to find images.

The most common and popular versions of HTML are HTML 4 and HTML 5.

HTML 4 vs HTML 5

The main difference between HTML 4 and HTML 5 is that HTML 4 is the 4th and older version of HTML with fewer features and tags while HTML 5 is the extension of HTML4 and the 5th version of HTML which has new and simple features and has multiple new tags. HTML 4 does not support multimedia while HTML 5 supports multimedia.

HTML 4 vs HTML 5

In HTML 4, the medium of communication between the server and the client is through streaming and long polling. There are no web sockets in HTML 4.

It has applet tags to display the applets on web browsers. Script attribute is necessary for HTML 4 as it is used to link tag and refer to JavaScript and other similar scripts.

The track of the user’s location in HTML 4 is difficult.

On the other hand, HTML 5 has web sockets for the communication if the client and the server. This allows full-duplex communication between both parties.

The applet tag has been replaced from HTML 5 by a new tag called <object>. Script attribute is not mandatory in HTML 5. The location of the user in HTML 5 can be easily found by leveraging the JS GeoLocation.

Comparison Table Between HTML 4 and HTML 5

Parameters of ComparisonHTML 4 HTML 5
Version HTML 4 is the 4th version of HTML and is also the extended version of HTML 3.2 HTML 5 is the 5th version of HTML and is also the extension of HTML 4
Features It is an older version, and so it has fewer features It is a new version and has advanced features
Error handling It provides decent error handling and moderate consistency in malformed documents It provides better error handling and has high consistency in malformed documents
Third-party elements HTML4 is supported by many third-party elements like Silverlight and flashHTML5 is supported by multimedia
Tags provision There is no provision for new tags in HTML 4 It allows new tags like video, canvas, audio, and others

What is HTML 4?

HTML 4 is a markup language that was published in 1997 as a W3C Recommendation. HTML 4 is an extended version of HTML 3.2.

It is a revision of the previous HTML and supports various features like a scripting language, style sheets, embedding objects, richer tables, object support, and other advanced accessibility features with special users who have a disability.

HTML 4 has powerful capabilities than the previous versions of HTML. It is established and is standard and hence is compatible with numerous web-browsers.

HTML 4 has high internalization which helps to write documents in different languages and can be transported all over the world.

HTML 4 had the addition of access keys and has the potential to form groups of controls semantically and other active labels. The structure and presentation in HTML 4 are better and with the ability to even markup text descriptions.

The elements in HTML4 document have three parts – a start tag, content, and an end tag.

The elements in HTML 4 are case insensitive and can be written in any way. The attributes of the elements can define the properties of that particular element.

An ideal HTML 4 document will begin with a DOCTYPE declaration and the element will contain a HEAD and a BODY. The information is contained in the former while the latter contains the content of the document.

What is HTML 5?

HTML is the fifth and the latest major version of HTML that is a WWW Consortium (W3C) recommendation. It was released on 22nd January 2008.

The objective of the new version was to support the latest multimedia and bring forth other new features. The language become easy and could be easily read by humans and integrated into computers and devices.

HTML 5 is the extended version of HTML 4. The new version not only subsumes HTML 4 but also others like DOM Level 2 HTML and XHTML 1.

It has detailed processing models and can be easily implemented. It improves, extends, and rationalizes the HTML documents, API, and other web applications.

There are several new syntactic features included in HTML 5. They are <video, audio, canvas. It even has introduced new elements and attributes to reflect the typical usage on modern websites.

It is not based on SGML. HTML 5 supports backward-compatible and triggers the standard-compliant rendering mode.

The new features in the API are timed media playback, editable content, offline, drag and drop, microdata, MIME type, history, protocol handler registration, web storage, and other features to improve the API with larger storage capacity.

It also supports GeoLocation, web cryptography, SQL database, indexedDB, and other advanced features.

Main Differences Between HTML 4 and HTML 5

  1. HTML 4 uses <acronym> tag to display abbreviations of the web browser while HTML5 uses <abbr> tag to display the abbreviations in the web browser.
  2. HTML 4 is established and standard and is compatible with numerous different web-browsers HTML 5 is evolving and is not compatible with different browsers.
  3. In HTML 4, the <meta> tag contains the schema attribute of the HTML document while in HTML 5, the <mera> tag defines the header section of the HTML document.
  4. HTML 4 has no <canvas> tags while HTML 5 has introduced <canvas> tags which is used to draw graphics using JavaScript.
  5. In HTML 4 the table tag has several attributes while in HTML 5, the table tag has only one attribute that is the border.


HTML is used in the creation of pages of the websites that are displayed on the world wide web. HTML is an easy language and can be easily comprehended and learned.

The two common versions of HTML are HTML 4 and HTML 5.

HTML 5 is the advanced and new version of HTML 4. It has new features and has simplified various functions.

There is the provision of new tags and multimedia and also effectively manages error handling. Yet HTML 4 is standard and established and hence has higher compatibility with other web browsers.

Both versions have different features.


  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02763869.2011.540212
  2. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=
Search for "Ask Any Difference" on Google. Rate this post!
[Total: 0]
One request?

I’ve put so much effort writing this blog post to provide value to you. It’ll be very helpful for me, if you consider sharing it on social media or with your friends/family. SHARING IS ♥️