Sep 06, 2021
Best HTML Editors for 2021
If you’ve heard about web development, the term HTML should sound familiar. HTML stands for hypertext markup language – one of the most important and common elements that define the website structure.
More than 90% of all websites use it, thus a good knowledge of an HTML editor will come in handy.
An HTML editor is a piece of software that offers a range of features for building a well-structured and functional website. With an HTML editor, people can easily create a website from scratch and modify the code to add more functionality.
In this article, we’ll explain the basics, make lists of the best HTML editors for free and paid versions, and cover the benefits of using HTML.
What Is an HTML Editor?
An HTML editor is a piece of software for creating and editing HTML code. It can be a stand-alone software dedicated to code writing and editing or a part of an IDE (Integrated Development Environment).
An HTML editor provides more advanced features and is specifically designed for developers to create web pages more efficiently. It ensures every string of code is clean and works properly.
The most common features in a good HTML editor are:
- Syntax highlighting. Differs HTML tags in various colors based on their categories, making it easier to read and recognize the code structure.
- Auto-completion. Automatically suggests HTML elements and attributes based on previously added values, saving time when typing a longer piece of code.
- Error detection. Scans for syntax errors whenever you type in code incorrectly to fix the mistake immediately.
- Search and replace. Helps find particular code and replace them all at once, saving time from editing each string of code.
- FTP integration. It connects your web server with an FTP client right from the dashboard.
- Code folding. Hides a section of code and focuses on certain parts of the HTML document.
WYSIWYG Editor vs HTML Text Editor
There are two different types of HTML code editors – WYSIWYG and text-based editors. Both come with their perks and benefits.
WYSIWYG stands for “What You See Is What You Get”. As the name suggests, the WYSIWYG editor shows a live preview of your page as you add or modify elements. In addition, the code editor provides a visual interface that looks like a typical word processor.
With a WYSIWYG editor, users can add web page elements, such as headings, paragraphs, or images without touching a line of code – making this type of HTML editor an excellent option for beginners with little to no coding experience.
Text-based HTML Editor
In contrast to a WYSIWYG editor, a text-based HTML editor is designed to enable more intricate coding practices. In addition, this type of HTML editor gives advanced users more control over their work as they can directly modify the code.
Features like auto-completion, syntax highlighting, and error detection are primarily available in this type of HTML editor. However, since there is no live preview of your page, it requires enough HTML knowledge to prevent errors.
Best Free HTML Editors for 2021
There are a large number of free HTML editors available online. However, finding one that provides value and useful features can be tricky.
Don’t worry, we’ve reviewed various HTML editors on the market based on their popularity, features, and design to help you find the best HTML editor.
Here is our recommendation of the four best HTML editors you can download at no cost.
Atom is one of the most popular HTML editors in the market, and for good reasons. This open-source code editor aims to offer premium tools while keeping them completely free. In addition, it comes with open-source packages maintained by the GitHub community.
Web developers can add, modify, and share various source code to improve Atom’s functionality. They can also customize their interface by choosing the pre-installed themes or creating their own.
Although Atom doesn’t come with a visual editor, it offers a live preview of your webpage. Thus, you can spot errors easily and fix the code in the text editor.
Other Atom features include:
- Built-in package manager – more than 80 built-in packages available. Users can add up to 8,700 additional packages, as well as develop custom packages.
- Multiple panes – split its interface into multiple windows to easily compare and write code across different files.
- Syntax highlighting – makes it easier to spot errors and identify different code types and coding languages.
- Smart auto-completion – helps users to create code faster with its smart autosuggestions.
Atom is available for Windows, OS X, and Linux (64-bit).
2. Notepad ++
Notepad++ is a free, open-source HTML editor developed for Windows-based computers. The program is lightweight and comes with a straightforward user interface. A mobile version is available for developers to code on the go without installing it into Windows.
Notepad++ is distributed as free software, and its repository is available on GitHub. Although this HTML editor is exclusive for Windows platforms, Linux users can use this program via Wine to add a compatibility layer.
Its flexible user interface allows users to choose between split or full-screen layouts when coding. On a split-screen layout, users can work on two different documents simultaneously.
Other highlights from Notepad++ include:
- Powerful code editing tools – as a Scintilla-based text editor, Notepad++ ensures fast processing speed with lighter program size.
- Plugin integrations – extend functionality and add more advanced features by creating new plugins or installing third-party plugins from the list.
- FTP connection – helps users to directly connect to server files and edit them from the dashboard.
- Document map – displays overview and sections of a document, making it easier for users to navigate within a larger file.
Notepad++ available for Windows and Linux (only via Wine).
3. Sublime Text
Sublime is an HTML editor that resembles Notepad++. It provides cross-platform support and is available in Windows, Mac, and Linux-based systems. However, this text editor falls under the freemium category, meaning users can use Sublime for free but will have to buy a license to enjoy full features.
Built with web developers in mind, Sublime is packed with more advanced tools. For example, there is a GPU rendering system that helps provide optimal performance across operating systems. The most recent version also supports TypeScript, JSX, and TSX, along with many other programming languages.
Upon activation, the program shows a basic text editor with no sidebar or tools. Users can start coding immediately using the command palette to navigate around and execute actions using keyboard shortcuts.
Although a paid version is available, the Sublime free version already comes with adequate features to help you start coding. Some of the main features include:
- Context-aware autocomplete – gives suggestions based on existing code, where each has a link to its definition for more information.
- Split-editing – easily splits layout of tabs for a more efficient and easier HTML editing.
- GoTo anything – finds anything in a specific file, code string, or section with a simple keyboard shortcut.
- Updated Python API – updated to Python 3.8, it makes the program compatible with a wide range of plugins.
Sublime Text is available for Windows, OS X, and Linux (32/64 bit).
Visual Studio Code is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux. It also integrates with Microsoft Azure which makes it easy for code deployment. Users can develop projects and applications locally and publish them to Azure using a single click.
This open-source code editor uses IntelliSense features to provide different types of auto-completion, including variables, fields, and function definitions. In addition, users can install language extensions, like Python and Ruby, to allow IntelliSense to work with other programming languages.
Furthermore, its clean and straightforward interface makes it easy to locate various HTML editing tools, open a new file, and search documents.
Other essential features include:
- Debugging – built-in debugger tool is available within the dashboard to quickly edit, compile, or debug code.
- WYSIWYG editor – simply install an extension to alter the default text editor to WYSIWYG HTML editor.
- Code snippets – includes built-in snippets powered by IntelliSense, making it easier to enter repeating code patterns.
- Multi-root workspace – users can simultaneously work on different projects or files from different parent folders.
Visual Studio Code is available for Linux x64, Windows x64, and OS X.
Best Premium HTML Editors for 2021
While free HTML text editors offer great features, most don’t have specific features for building advanced websites.
To create a responsive web design, have access to pre-built templates, and get support from a dedicated team, opting for premium HTML editors might be the way to go.
The following entries are some of the best premium HTML editors that we’ve tested out.
Adobe Dreamweaver CC is an IDE application that supports both back-end and front-end development. In addition, the software provides web design and web development toolkits to make website creation easier.
The text editor has plenty of helpful features, such as syntax highlighting, code completion, and multi-language support. Furthermore, the visual editor comes with drag-and-drop functionality.
Although there is no free version available, this web editor offers a seven-day trial period. To continue using the software, multiple payment plans are available starting from $20.99/month. The license can be monthly, annually, and prepaid.
Some more important features are:
- Starter templates – provides the basic structure of a website that users can customize to various pages, from blogs to portfolios.
- Responsive designs – the fluid grid layouts automatically resize website elements to fit various screen sizes across devices.
- Git support – efficiently manage website code and perform multiple Git operations such as “push”, “pull”, and “fetch” from Dreamweaver dashboard.
- Access to Creative Cloud Libraries – grants access to assets from other Adobe programs that support Creative Cloud Libraries, including Photoshop, Premiere Pro, and After Effects.
Adobe Dreamweaver CC is available for Windows and OS X-based systems. Its prices start from $20.99/month on an annual subscription.
Froala is a front-end WYSIWYG HTML editor designed to provide optimized performance for users. With a GZIP core of only 50 KB, this lightweight software can load within 40 milliseconds. The software is also optimized for mobile and is compatible with Android and iOS devices.
Despite using a WYSIWYG interface, Froala comes with rich text editor capabilities. Users can add various elements to their pages, including videos, table cells, and emoticons. In addition, its editor comes with over 30 plugins for extending functionality.
For those who prefer direct HTML editing, Froala enables code viewing. Simply write your HTML code, and the editor will automatically generate elements accordingly. Moreover, the software provides seamless integration with Codox.io for real-time editing and collaboration.
Froala offers three subscription plans ranging from $239/year to $3999/year. Moreover, users can always test the software first before buying a license. The software is free to download from NPM (Node Package Manager).
Extra features from Froala include:
- Inline editing – select any element on your web page and edit it directly.
- HTML5 and CSS3 – provides an optimized user experience with the latest HTML and CSS versions.
- Multi-language support – the software is translated into 34 languages and automatically detects input from RTL or LTR keyboards.
- Free online HTML editor – available for converting text to HTML code or “sanity check” for your code.
Froala is available for Windows, Linux, macOS systems. Its prices start from $239/year for a Basic license.
CoffeeCup is another HTML editor with a broad range of features and functionality. For example, users can choose to create HTML and CSS files from scratch or customize a pre-made template design from its library.
CoffeeCup HTML editor offers a components library, where users can add web elements like menu, footer, and header across multiple pages. Instead of manually updating each new page, they can simply modify certain library items.
This HTML editor offers multiple ways to preview a website before publishing it. A live preview splits the screen into the coding area and web page, enabling users to code side-by-side. An external preview is also available for displaying a page in a new window.
Also, CoffeeCup’s free trial version is available and comes with the same functionality as the premium one. However, the trial version will expire after 30 days. To keep using the software, users can purchase it for only $29/license.
Other notable features include:
- Semantic web-ready – provides semantic data to all web content to help search engine crawlers understand what your content is about.
- FTP integration – directly publish your website from the menu dashboard using an FTP client.
- Built-in validation tool – indicates errors within your code and makes sure your website functions correctly.
- Template downloader – imports designs from available templates to learn and develop the code.
CoffeeCup is available for Windows only and costs $29 for a one-time purchase.
Reasons to Use an HTML Editor
For beginners and advanced developers alike, building a website can be an overwhelming and complicated process. That is why using an HTML editor might be a good idea. The best HTML editors come with various tools that simplify the web development process.
Here are a few reasons to use HTML editors:
- Create websites faster. Basic features of the HTML editors include syntax highlighting, adding common HTML elements, and split-screen editing, which ensures that your code is functional and clean with less effort. In short, the more features available, the smoother your coding experience will be.
- Optimizes code for SEO. The best HTML editors usually provide built-in functionality for search engine optimization (SEO). For instance, some text editors establish semantic markup that improves search engine’s crawlability.
- Prevents errors in the source code. With features like spell-checking and error detection, HTML editors help spot mistakes in every code. For example, the editor will notify you if you forget to put the end tag “</” in a code element. Most text editors also include auto-completion to prevent mistyping and help you write code faster.
- Easier project management. Each HTML editor offers an easy way to work together in a team or with other developers using various project management tools. Just like Atom, Sublime Text, and Visual Studio Code, some editors can create open-source projects.
Whether you are a seasoned developer or a newcomer, HTML editors might come in as a handy solution to develop a website. Using an HTML editor can make coding more comfortable and efficient – saving you time to focus on your content and grow traffic to your website.
Although coding might be daunting at first, the many features in HTML editors will help you to get started. If you’re not comfortable with writing code, there are also many WYSIWYG editors to choose from.
With that in mind, here are our top recommendations of the best HTML editors:
- Atom – one of the best free and open-source HTML editors with advanced features.
- Visual Studio Code – provides extendable functionality with a range of extensions.
- CoffeeCup – a cost-effective solution for a premium HTML editor with robust tools.
All in all, we hope this article has helped you to understand HTML editors better and narrow down your choice. To find the best HTML editor that works for you, we encourage you to try different editors or even consider a CMS instead of HTML.
Feel free to share which HTML editor you like the most in the comments section below.