Difference between HTML and XHTML

HTML and XHTML are computer languages that are used in the development of web pages. It has simpler syntax that can be understood easily. XHTML is the extension of HTML which also combines the features of XML. It has more strict syntax than HTML. Although XHTML is derived from HTML, there are considerable differences between these two.

What is HTML?

The full form of HTML is Hypertext Markup language. It was developed by Tim Berners Lee in the year 1993. It is an extended form of standard generalized markup language (SGML). HTML provides the base or skeleton for the web page development.

Hypertext is a text that links one page to another page through hyperlinks and get activated when it is clicked. A markup language is one that uses tags to design the web page and make it look more attractive. Hypertext markup language is used to develop web pages from the basic level connecting multiple pages.

All the elements in html are defined by html tags. A tag is like a keyword that helps in arranging the elements in different formats. HTML is not a programming language.


  • It is simple and can be easily understood by a beginner

  • HTML is supported by all browsers

  • It can run on any operating system hence making it platform independent

  • It is free of cost and it is available by default in windows

  • It is light weighted and loads faster

  • Its syntax is easy to learn

  • It easily integrates with CSS, JavaScript and other languages


  • It can’t produce dynamic output

  • Even a simple webpage requires number of lines of code

  • It doesn’t provide security

  • Even there is an error in the syntax, it runs it. But we don’t get the desired output

  • We can’t use only html to create a complete web page. It can only create a basic web page

What is XHTML?

XHTML stands for Extensible hypertext markup language. It was developed by World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and released in the year 2000. It has the characteristics of both HTML and XML.

It is almost similar to that of HTML but it is a lot stricter than HTML. The main reason for the development of XHTML is that the HTML was too lenient in securing its source code. XHTML is more flexible and can be easily converted into other formats.

Every XHTML document consists of three main parts. They are −

  • DOCTYPE − Used to declare the type of document

  • Head − Used to declare title and other attributes

  • Body − Part that consist of the actual content that a web page contains


  • It follows strict rules hence reducing errors

  • It makes the code readable

  • It provides more security and source code can’t be accessed easily

  • As it follows all the rules of XML, it is easy to convert to other formats

  • All web applications are moving towards XML. Hence it is good to use XHTML than HTML as it has more scope in future

  • Web pages created using this are portable. Its simplicity allows it to run on devices having small processors


  • Beginners find it difficult to learn

  • Only few browsers support XHTML. Hence its practical use is limited


The following table highlights the major differences between HTML and XHTML −




Full form

HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language

XHTML stands for extensible hypertext markup language

Developed by

HTML was developed by Tim Berners Lee

XHTML was developed by World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

Release date

It was released in 1993

It was released in 2000

File format

It is of document type file format

It is in markup language file format

Extended from

HTML is extended from SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language

It is extended from HTML and XML (Extensible markup language)

File extension

It has the file extensions - .html, .htm

It has the extensions - .xhtml, .xht, .html, .htm, .xml

Case sensitivity

HTML is not case sensitive. It can be written in upper case or lowercase or a combination of both

XHTML is case sensitive. All the code should be in lower case


In HTML, it is not necessary to add < DOCTYPE > at the beginning of every page

In XHTML, it is compulsory to mention < DOCTYPE > at the top of every page

Closing tags

In HTML, it is not mandatory to close the tags

It is mandatory to close all the tags in XHTML


While writing attributes in HTML, it is not necessary to mention them in double quotes

Ex :- < color = blue >

It is necessary to mention attribute values in quotes

Ex :- <color = “blue” >


It is not necessary to nest elements in order

In XHTML, elements should be nested properly in an order


HTML is lenient compared to XHTML

XHTML strictly follows rules

Structure of code

Its code is less organized

It has more organized code


It runs code even it consists of an error

It strictly checks for all the errors


Its source code can be accessed easily

It is somewhat difficult to access its source code


HTML is less secure

XHTML provides more security

Browser compatibility

HTML is supported by all browsers

Only few browsers support XHTML


It has simple syntax and can be understood easily

Beginners find it difficult to understand


The main goal of both HTML and XHTML is the creation of web pages. XHTML is an extended version of HTML and it follows more rules and a lot stricter compared to that of HTML. XHTML can be easily converted into other data formats.

Updated on: 18-Apr-2023

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