A free HTML editor is a useful tool for anyone doing website development, but which one to pick? There are so many free HTML editors available for downloading online that it can be hard to choose the right website editor.
What Is an HTML Editor?
In case you're new to web development, an HTML editor is simply a tool (a software program) that allows you to directly edit the raw source code (HTML, CSS and other simple markup languages) that generates web pages.
A free HTML editor can typically do a lot of what expensive commercial HTML editors do, so it's worth cutting your teeth on a free version.
While some HTML editors can shield you from the code by auto-generating it for you, the free HTML editors listed in this article are designed to make it easier to directly edit the code yourself.
You really should learn the basics of HTML tags and CSS design coding if you want to edit web pages. (The W3 Consortium offers a good HTML tutorial and one for CSS code, too.) Even knowing the code, you'll need help generating it because it can be tedious to manually generate all the code needed to make your web pages look and act just right. All the free editing tools listed below can help you generate clean, efficient code. Some, but not all, can handle HTML 5, the latest flavor of HTML.
Six Top HTML Editor Tools
Here are six of the most popular free HTML editors for editing source code, which consists of simple text tags used to generate dynamic websites.
- Komodo Edit is a free XML editing tool that is one of the best available. Its advanced features make it good for professional web developers. It works on Windows PC machines as well as Macintosh. You don't get a visual look at the results of your code--no WYSISYG tool is built in -- but you get a fairly high powered text based editor for editing XML and HTML and CSS code.
- CoffeeCup's Free HTML Editor is a simple Windows-only based tool for editing basic HTML and CSS code. A premium version also includes a CSS Menu Designer, FTP Upload tool Image Mapper, and Website Color Schemer, which are missing from the basic version. The free version lets you use the full-featured version during a free trial. The free version is a simple text editor, whereas you also get visual editing tools if you pay. (So don't expect a WYSIWYG editor if you aren't willing to pay.) The premium version of CoffeeCup lets you try it for free for 28 days.
- HTML KIt is another free text code editor, available only for Windows. It's designed to help you edit HTML, XHTML and XML coding. It will validate your HTML and CSS code, and lets you make macros easily. It will show you the color of the color codes you enter and makes it easy to generate favicons from images. There's a free version called HTML-Kit 292 and a premium version with more features and functionality. The full kit comes with a bunch of plug-ins that extend the basic functionality of this Web source code editor. You can have plug-ins for every browser that you use, for example, and shortcuts to other apps that you use to view and edit webpages.
- TextWrangler is a no-frills code text editor for Macintosh users that has a lot of devotees. TextWrangler 4.0 was released in 2012 and redesigned the user interface. Its improvements include the ability to search across multiple files and compressed ones, a revamped FTP interface, better display of color schemes and code and lots of other goodies. Its maker, Bare Bones Software, offers a premium professional sibling to TextWrangler that's called BBEdit. It's worth trying TextWrangler first before shelling out money for BBEdit.
- KompoZer is another free text code editor, available for Windows, Macintosh and Linux. This open-source tool offers a visual interface to the code (WYSIWYG or what-you-see-is-what-you-get web page editing) so you don't actually have to know code to generate these pages. It also provides a system for managing all the files, that's similar to a more robust professional app like Dreamweaver. KompoZer has been around a long time and hasn't been updated in a while, but a lot of people still like using it.
Other Free Website Tools
If you don't want to learn HTML or edit code yourself, there are plenty of online tools to help you create a free website while shielding you from code.