CSS vs. HTML: What’s the Difference and Which is Better?

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CSS vs. HTML: What’s the Difference and Which is Better?

When it comes to web page building and design, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and HyperText Markup Language (HTML) are essential in ensuring you create an attractive and user-friendly page. CSS and HTML are basic programming languages that work together in the development of web applications and websites but have different roles. 

Of course, you can use only HTML to create your website and make it functional, but it will be a blog full of texts that aren’t organized, making it difficult to read. That’s why you need to employ CSS to give your website a polished finish, making it presentable to users. So, it’s best to understand both programming languages to create successful web pages.

With that in mind, let’s explore the differences between CSS and HTML and their respective roles in web development so you know which to use when!

CSS vs. HTML: Side-by-Side Comparison

What is it? Style sheet language used in designing and styling web pages to make them presentable to readersIt is a markup language used to create web applications and websites
Stands for…Cascading Style SheetsHyperText Markup Language 
Developed byWorld Wide Web Consortium (W3C)Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG)
Year Release 19961993
Popular PlatformsWordPress, Wix, Squarespace, Shopify, and BootstrapWordPress, Wix, Squarespace, Shopify, and Bootstrap
Latest VersionCSS3HTML5
Main FunctionUsed to describe the presentation of web pagesCreating web applications and websites

CSS vs. HTML: What’s the Difference?

These two languages are essential and form the backbone of web development. Now, let’s take a look and see how CSS and HTML differ.


HTML and CSS have different functions in the website-building process. CSS completes the work of HTML, meaning after creating your website through HTML, you design it with background colors, specific font size, and more using CSS. 

HTML plays many roles in helping you to create an interactive web page. One of HMTL’s essential functions is text formatting, which allows you to format texts in various ways, such as bold, italics, underlining, highlighting, and different fonts. You can differentiate important points from the overall texts by changing formats. Apart from text formatting, HTML allows you to include hyperlinks in your web page which are vital because they direct users to other websites for reference or further reading. You can create the links using texts, images, or buttons, making it easy to include them at any stage in your web development. Long texts can be tiresome to read, so HTML allows web developers to create a list and draw tables on the website. These functions make it easy for readers to run through the blog and spot essential information. 

Most content on the web includes images and videos to give users a deeper understanding of the topic. Thanks to HTML, web developers can effectively include images and multimedia such as animations, videos, and audio on the blog. Furthermore, you can also include metadata such as keywords, titles, and descriptions on your website. Metadata is essential for you to have a higher ranking on Google

You know how important customer-centric information is if you run a business blog. HTML has an effective way in which you can include a form for customers directly on your web page, instead of including a link. Therefore, users can fill in their information quickly. You can design the form whichever way you like, making it possible to create a unique one for your website. 

CSS’s central role is to style up your webpage in different ways, such as modifying colors, designing the best layout, and choosing the correct font. CSS provides various ways to specify colors in your website, including color keywords, RGB color values, RGBA color values, HSL, HSLA, and Hexadecimal. All these functions allow you to play around with colors and find the most suitable for your website.  Apart from selecting the right color for your website, you can design a unique layout depending on your content. You can build the headers, menus, content, and a footer, making it easy for readers to navigate your website and acquire necessary information like your contacts and address. 

You can also perform calculations with a CSS stylesheet. As a developer, you can use CSS calculation to complete functions such as length, percentage, time, number, and integer frequency. This function is useful because it enables your website to resize based on your site visitor’s screen size. That way, you won’t have to write multiple CSS rules to fit different screen sizes.  As a developer, you understand how annoying it is to write multiple properties that result in the same command. That’s why CSS custom properties or CSS variables were developed to help you develop values to be reused at specific points on your website. So, if you have a complex website, CSS variables enable you to create a single value to be used at different stages on the page based on your preference.


Generally, both scripting languages have simple syntax rules, making them appropriate even for newbies creating their first blog. HTML is one of the most utilized markup languages because it requires basic programming knowledge to develop a compelling website. It uses tags enclosed into angle brackets, for example, <tagname>.

Depending on your preference, you can structure your website using this HTML syntax. For instance, you can create a heading section on your website by writing <h1>Main Heading<h1>. If you are formatting texts, it’s quite easy to bold, italicize texts, and perform more functions. For example, if you want to bold the words “my document,” you write the following tag <b>my document</b>.

Looking at CSS, it also has basic syntax rules like HTML. Remember that CSS helps you polish your web page, not create one. Therefore, it will be useful after you create your webpage with either HTML or other programming languages such as PHP and Python. For instance, you will use the “selector” to identify the HTML element you want to style on your website. You get to enjoy a variety of CSS selectors to decorate your website. Under the “selectors,” you will use the “property” to determine the attribute of the styled element, for example, font and color, and “value” to give the desired setting.

Here is what the CSS selector looks like:

Selector {

    property: value;

    property: value;



Both HTML and CSS can be used on various platforms. One of the major platforms is WordPress, which employs HTML and CSS together with PHP to help web developers create well-written and organized websites.

WordPress is one of the most utilized content management systems (CMS), but your options aren’t limited if that’s not your cup of tea. You can opt for Wix, which incorporates the services of HTML5 and CSS3 to help you build amazing websites. In short, there are so many platforms you can use for both HTML and CSS, including Squarespace, Shopify, Bootstrap, and more.

Javascript code
HTML is required to build the actual website, while CSS gives it a customizable, aesthetically pleasing finish.


While HTML is a markup language, CSS is a style sheet language, meaning they don’t share the same formats and syntax rules. Therefore, both languages are independent of each other. Although we had mentioned earlier that CSS completes the work of HTML, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s dependent on it. CSS can be used on other markup languages if it supports XML. 


Both HTML and CSS have incredible performance. Starting with HTML, its large community of developers has improved the markup language’s performance and overall speed. HTML has introduced significant features to reduce errors while improving speed. Some common elements and attributes used include the picture element, which allows developers to choose the most suitable image for the website for better display based on the user’s device. 

Another feature that works together with the picture element is the responsive images. This is significant for web developers and site users because it increases the load speeds by quickly finding the most appropriate image to be displayed based on their device. On top of the picture element, you also get the image source element and the video embed element that are developed to ensure you can easily include videos and audio in your website. 

Other than media resources, HTML has also made major advancements in the overall loading speeds of your site. It uses the rel=preload feature that distinguishes resources to be loaded first, ensuring website visitors get necessary information almost immediately when they visit your site. The content that can utilize the rel=preload feature includes audio, document, fetch, script, and style. 

Shifting our attention to CSS, it doesn’t have a large community of supporters like HTML, but it also includes vital features that boost the website speed. Firstly, CSS is a render-blocking resource that ensures page layout is only applied after you create CSSOM and DOM. Although render-blocking is a critical resource for the presentation of your website, most developers believe it results in a slow loading speed. Therefore, they advise web designers to block its function for better performance. 

CSS has made it possible for web designers to develop animations on the GPU, significantly improving the general performance of their websites. Developers are required to create a different animating layer away from the main threat; that way, the transform properties will run on the GPU. The transform properties enable you to translate an element into two 2D or 3D.

We also applaud CSS for introducing the will-change property, which gives developers a hint of how an element will be displayed after making the changes. This is vital because it helps you create optimizations before changes are made to specified elements, hence reducing errors made on websites. On top of the will-change property, you enjoy the contained CSS property. This property allows you to define and restrict the content to a single element. That means the content will only apply to the specified element, not every element included in the document tree. For instance, you can set up a font size for only the heading1 and not all headings. 

CSS vs. HTML: 7 Must-Know Facts

  • HTML is a markup language used to develop web pages, while CSS is a style sheet language used to make websites presentable.
  • HTML was introduced in 1993, while CSS was introduced in 1996.
  • Both HTML and CSS are render-blocking resources.
  • HTML has basic syntax rules that include tags enclosed into angle brackets, for example <tag>, while CSS uses “selectors” followed by a declaration mark, such as “selector{“.
  • Both programming languages are independent of each other. You can use HTML without CSS and vice versa. 
  • HTML and CSS can run on nearly all operating systems and be used on major platforms such as WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace.
  • HTML has a larger community of supporters than CSS. 

CSS vs. HTML: Which One is Better? Which One Should You Choose?

HTML and CSS work together to ensure web developers build and design websites that are presentable to users irrespective of the device used. Answering which is better between the two languages is impossible.

If we look at their main functions, HTML creates websites, while CSS makes the website presentable to users. Therefore, whether to use HTML or CSS entirely depends on your programming needs. 

So, if you have a website in place, then CSS is what you require to decorate the website and make it attractive to visitors. However, if you don’t have a web page, CSS will be useless. That means you will have to use HTML to develop a website, then employ CSS to give it a presentable finish. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is CSS?

CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets, which is a style sheet language used to describe the presentation of a document written in markup languages such as HTML, XML, etc.

In simpler terms, CSS is used to style and format the visual appearance of web pages, including layout, colors, fonts, and other design elements. By separating the presentation from the content, CSS enables web developers to create consistent and attractive web pages that are easier to maintain and update.

What is HTML?

HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language, which is a markup language used to create and structure content on the web. HTML is the standard language used to build web pages and is the backbone of every web page on the internet. It allows web developers to create structured documents by adding headings, paragraphs, links, images, and other content elements.

aHTML uses tags to define the different types of content and their purpose, and these tags can be combined with other technologies like CSS and JavaScript to create dynamic and interactive web pages.

Which is more powerful, HTML or CSS?

HTML and CSS serve different purposes and have different levels of “power.” HTML provides the structure and content of a web page, while CSS is used to style and format that content. Therefore, both languages are equally important and necessary for web development. While HTML defines the structure and content of a page, CSS provides the design and layout, which makes it easier to read and navigate. In summary, neither language is more powerful than the other, and both are required for creating effective and engaging web pages.

Can I use HTML without CSS?

Yes, you can use HTML without CSS. HTML provides the structure and content of a web page, and CSS is used to style and format that content. If you don’t use CSS, your web page will display the content in its raw form without any styling or formatting. However, using CSS is recommended for creating visually appealing and engaging web pages.

Is CSS easier to learn than HTML?

This is subjective and depends on the individual’s learning style and background. Some people may find CSS easier to learn because it is focused on design and styling, while others may find HTML easier because it is more straightforward and logical. In general, learning the basics of both HTML and CSS is necessary for web development, and they are both relatively easy to pick up with practice and patience.

Are HTML and CSS the same language?

In most cases, HTML and CSS are wrapped together in web building and design, making most people believe the two programming languages are similar. However, that’s not the case, as HTML is a markup language while CSS is a style sheet language. That means HTML is basically used for creating web pages, while CSS is specifically designed to describe the presentation of a web page.

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