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HTML Doctypes

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Doctype: A doctype or document type declaration is an instruction that tells the web browser about the markup language in which the current page is written. The Doctype is not an element or tag, it lets the browser know about the version of or standard of HTML or any other markup language that is being used in the document.

Declaration of a Doctype: A DOCTYPE declaration appears at the top of a web page before all other elements. According to the HTML specification or standards, every HTML document requires a document type declaration to ensure that the pages are displayed in the way they are intended to be displayed.

The DOCTYPE for HTML5 is case-insensitive and can be written as shown below:

< !DOCTYPE html >

Doctype Usage: In the version, HTML 4.01, the usage of DOCTYPE declaration was to create a reference to a document type definition (DTD), since the version HTML 4.01 was completely based on a Standard Generalized Markup Language(SGML).
The document type definition (DTD) is responsible for specifying the rules for the Standard Generalized Markup Language(SGML) so that the browser processes the content correctly. But in the HTML version, HTML 5 there isn’t any need for a reference to a document type definition (DTD) because HTML 5 is not based on a Standard Generalized Markup Language(SGML).

In HTML 5, the DOCTYPE declaration is only required for enabling the standard mode for writing documents.
Below is a sample HTML program with doctype declaration:



<!DOCTYPE html>
    <h2>This is HTML5 Doctype Tag</h2>


Below is the list of some common doctype declaration for different version of HTML and XHTML: 

  1. HTML 5 


    <!DOCTYPE html>


  2. HTML 4.01 Strict: In HTML 4.01 Strict document type definition (DTD) all those elements and attributes are included that do not appear in frameset documents or that have not been deprecated.





  3. HTML 4.01 Transitional: In HTML 4.01 Transitional document type definition (DTD) allows some older PUBLIC and attributes that have been deprecated.


    <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"


  4. HTML 4.01 Frameset: In HTML 4.01 Frameset document type definition (DTD),Frames can be used.


    <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Frameset//EN"


  5. XHTML 1.0 Strict: In XHTML 1.0 Strict document type definition (DTD), deprecated tags are not supported and the code must be written according to the XML Specification.


    <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" 


  6. XHTML 1.0 Transitional: In XHTML 1.0 Transitional document type definition (DTD), deprecated elements are allowed.


    <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" 


  7. XHTML 1.0 Frameset: In XHTML 1.0 Frameset document type definition (DTD), framesets can be used.


    <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Frameset//EN" 


  8. XHTML 1.1: In XHTML 1.1 document type definition (DTD), allows the addition of modules.


    <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.1//EN" 


Supported Browsers: 

  • Google Chrome
  • Internet Explorer
  • Firefox
  • Opera
  • Safari

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Last Updated : 04 Feb, 2021
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