What's the most important HTML tag?

What's the most important HTML tag?

Your first guess to this question may be the paragraph tag <p></p> or maybe the <div></div>. While these tags are important, I'll say the most important is the anchor tag. Why? Let's go through history lane a bit.


A quick reminder

  1. HTML is an acronym for Hypertext Markup Language
  2. HTTP is an acronym for Hypertext Transfer Protocol

What does the common term between both, Hypertext, mean?

According to Wikipedia

Hypertext is text displayed on a computer display or other electronic devices with references (hyperlinks) to other text that the reader can immediately access. Hypertext documents are interconnected by hyperlinks, which are typically activated by a mouse click, keypress set, or by touching the screen.

The main difference between Hypertext and normal text documents is that hypertext documents reference other Hypertext documents. When you take this interconnectedness out of a single computer and set it in millions of computers across the globe, you get the World Wide Web.

HTTP was originally used to transfer HTML documents from a server to a client. It is a member of the TCP/IP family of protocols. It was created alongside HTML to build a text-based web browser. Check The Project by CERN to get a feel of how early websites looked before the days of CSS.

How does this make the anchor tag the most important?

Without the anchor tag, web documents will be single documents accessed over an IP address. To access another document, you have to type in a separate IP address. Without the anchor tag, we will have run out of IPv4 addresses long ago. While you can't build a reasonable website with just anchor tags, you can't do without them. Thanks for reading. Adios ✌🏾🧑.


  1. Wikipedia Article on Hypertext
  2. Extrahop Resources on the HTTP protocol