15 Best HTML Books for Beginners and Advanced Coders

Lucero del Alba

In this article, we’ll review the best books for learning HTML.

HTML is a fundamental building block of the Web, and familiarity with HTML a must-have skill for any aspiring web developer. And we’re talking a lot more than simply structuring documents, as there’s no limit to the amount of interactivity you can create with APIs in HTML5.

We’ve rounded up the best HTML books for beginners and advanced coders. Get ready to dive into the language of the Web! 🤓

We’ve also recently reviewed the best books for learning CSS, JavaScript, PHP, Python, Node.js and SQL.


  1. What Is HTML? A Short Explanation
  2. How to Choose the Best HTML Books?
  3. Best HTML Books for Beginners
  4. Best HTML Books for Children
  5. Best Intermediate and Advanced HTML Books
  6. All-in-one: HTML with CSS and JavaScript
  7. Extra: Cheat Sheets!
  8. Extra: The SitePoint Library

What Is HTML? A Short Explanation

HTML stands for “HyperText Markup Language”. It’s a language for describing web pages using plain text.

HTML is the primary language used to create web pages, and it’s a very easy language to learn. It’s easy to read and understand, and it’s also easy to write. HTML is the only language that web browsers can understand and use to create web pages.

HTML is used to create the structure of a web page, including forms, embedding of videos and images, and creating links to other web pages.

HTML is an essential language for web developers to learn, as it’s used to create the structure of web pages. If you’re looking to get started in web development, a great place to start is learning HTML.

Note: you can explore a wide variety of HTML topics through the HTML articles on SitePoint. And if you’re stuck on an HTML issue, our friendly forum experts will help you get it sorted in no time.

How to Choose the Best HTML Books?

HTML might be easy to learn, but as the foundation of the Web, it’s also a vast and ever-evolving technology.

Here are some things to consider when picking an HTML book:

  • How well is the content explained?
  • Do you find the writing style compelling?
  • Is there an emphasis on coding best practices?
  • Does it cover topics like accessibility, SEO, and more?
  • Do you want to be a web designer or a developer of web applications?

Also consider that, while HTML5 was released in 2008, companion technologies like JavaScript and Web APIs have progressed a lot since then. So if you’re looking to find a book covering multiple disciplines, keep in mind to look for ones that are up to date in all respects.

Best HTML Books for Beginners

Let’s first look at books for HTML beginners.

Please note: as an Amazon Associate, SitePoint will earn commissions from qualifying purchases made through links in this article.

HTML5 Pocket Reference: Quick, Comprehensive, Indispensable

HTML5 Pocket Reference - cover image
  • Author: Jennifer Robbins (profile)
  • Publishing: fifth edition (September 10, 2013)
  • Paperback: 182 pages
  • Ranking on Amazon: 4.6/5 (221 ratings)

With over 30 years of experience, best-selling author Jennifer Robbins is one of the first professional designers of the Web, and the co-founder of the Artifact Conference for web designers and developers.

In HTML5 Pocket Reference she presents an alphabetical listing of every HTML element and attribute, markup examples, notes indicating the differences between HTML5 and HTML 4.01, and an overview of HTML5 APIs. Not bad for one of the shortest books in this list!

The HTML5 Pocket Reference is part of O’Reilly’s Pocket Reference series of over 34 books, and this fifth edition includes updates regarding the HTML5.1 Working Draft, and the WHATWG standards.

HTML in Easy Steps: An Indispensable Guide for HTML Newbies!

HTML in Easy Steps - cover image
  • Author: Mike McGrath (profile)
  • Publishing: ninth edition (June 24, 2020)
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Ranking on Amazon: 4.8/5 (35 ratings)

Prolific author Mike McGrath covers all of the basics of HTML in this extremely fun, concise, and accessible book that’s on its ninth edition, and counting! 👏

Why do I say HTML in Easy Steps — the highest rated book in this list — is fun?

  • it’s written in plain English
  • it’s easy to follow
  • it’s fully illustrated
  • it’s in full color

You can get a taste of the book’s layout in an online sample.

HTML in Easy Steps is part of the In Easy Steps series, which includes over 200 titles. If you find you like this introduction to HTML, you can take your skills further and see HTML in context with HTML, CSS & JavaScript in Easy Steps from the same series and by the same author (480 pages, 4.6/5, July 2020).

HTML5: Up and Running: Dive into the Future of Web Development

HTML5 Up and Running - cover image
  • Author: Mark Pilgrim (profile)
  • Publishing: first edition (September 7, 2010)
  • Paperback: 222 pages
  • Ranking on Amazon: 3.9/5 (111 ratings)

Mark Pilgrim is a developer advocate, a former Google employee, and an author who wrote the acclaimed Dive into HTML5, which is a free online book.

Part of O’Reilly’s Up and Running series, HTML5: Up and Running is essentially the printed version of Dive into HTML5, which also happens to be a relatively short read.

It must be noted that HTML5: Up and Running has some lower ratings, partly because it’s a bit outdated — the author having abandoned the project some time ago. That said, you can still check out the online version first before you decide whether or not it’s your cup of tea.

Best HTML Books for Children

Let’s now look at some books that are particularly appropriate for children who want to learn HTML.

HTML for Babies

HTML for Babies - cover image
  • Publishing: independent (July 19, 2016)
  • Paperback: 16 pages
  • Ranking on Amazon: 3.9/5 (158 ratings)

A unique offering from Union Square & Co., HTML for Babies is a board book that introduces the fundamentals of HTML to youngsters while making extensive use of colors and huge fonts to overemphasize HTML syntax.

And while 16 pages surely is too short for adults (many of the bad reviews are about that), for babies and toddlers it may be just right.

If this sounds like a book you might be interested in, check out the other offerings in this five-book Code Babies series.

Get Coding!: Learn HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and Build a Website, App and Game

Get Coding - cover image
  • Publisher: Young Rewired State
  • Publishing: first edition (August 1, 2017)
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Ranking on Amazon: 4.6/5 (2,672 ratings)

Get Coding! is a series of two books for children between nine and 12 years old, written by the Young Rewired State, a non-profit that helps young people to become digital makers.

The first book, Get Coding!, is a full-color introduction to HTML, CSS and JavaScript. It includes a step-by-step guide to building a website, an app and a game. It currently ranks #10 best seller in CSS, and it has over 2,600 ratings, making it the second most popular book in this list!

Young Rewired State’s YouTube channel also has plenty of videos that serve a companion content to the book.

Best Intermediate and Advanced HTML Books

Let’s now look at some books for intermediate to advanced users of HTML.

HTML5 for Masterminds: How to Take Advantage of HTML5 to Create Responsive Websites and Revolutionary Applications

HTML5 for Masterminds - cover image
  • Author: J.D Gauchat (profile)
  • Publishing: third edition (February 9, 2017)
  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Ranking on Amazon: 4.5/5 (98 ratings)

J.D Gauchat is a writer, programmer and entrepreneur, and his books are popular among web developers and tech professionals.

In HTML5 for Masterminds, he covers HTML5 in depth and provides step-by-step instructions on how to create responsive websites and applications with HTML5.

Besides all the fundamentals, the book covers a number of modern Web APIs, such as:

  • Canvas API
  • Drag and Drop API
  • File API
  • Fullscreen API
  • Geolocation API
  • History API
  • IndexedDB API

… and many more

HTML5 for Masterminds is part of the four-book series For Masterminds, and it’s one of the longest books in this list.

Web Development & Design Foundations with HTML5

Web Development & Design Foundations with HTML5 - cover image
  • Author: Terry Felke-Morris (profile)
  • Publishing: ninth edition (February 2, 2018)
  • Paperback: 720 pages
  • Ranking on Amazon: 4.5/5 (287 ratings)

Terry Felke-Morris is a college professor emerita of web design and development, the author of multiple web development books, and the author of this comprehensive book on web development and design.

In Web Development & Design Foundations with HTML5, she teaches the basics and more of HTML5 and its related technologies, such as CSS3 and JavaScript, to help readers create websites — all while having a somewhat academic yet approachable angle to it.

The book is also the largest HTML book in our list, and in its ninth edition (wow! 👏). It also includes updates on HTML5.1 and HTML5.2. It’s a best seller, standing at #2 in XHTML, and you can safely consider it an indispensable guide for web development and design newbies.

All-in-one: HTML with CSS and JavaScript

Some readers will prefer to learn HTML, CSS and/or JavaScript at once. There’s good reason for this, because most of the time these three technologies go hand in hand with one another. So next few books we’ll look at present two or more of these languages in tandem.

HTML and CSS QuickStart Guide: The Simplified Beginner’s Guide to Developing a Strong Coding Foundation, Building Responsive Websites, and Mastering the Fundamentals of Modern Web Design

HTML and CSS QuickStart Guide - cover image
  • Author: David DuRocher
  • Publishing: first edition (January 22, 2021)
  • Paperback: 359 pages
  • Ranking on Amazon: 4.5/5 (440 ratings)

Web design instructor David DuRocher presents a comprehensive yet simplified guide in HTML and CSS QuickStart Guide.

As described on the back cover, you’ll learn the following:

  • Modern web design fundamentals, how to use the powerful combination of HTML5 and CSS3
  • Site structure and responsive design principles, how to format HTML and CSS for all devices
  • How to incorporate forms, multimedia elements, and captivating animations into your projects
  • How to effectively produce HTML documents using industry-standard tools such as GitHub
  • HTML and CSS elements, formatting, padding, gradients, menus, testing, debugging, and more

HTML and CSS QuickStart Guide is a best seller #4 in XHTML and #9 in CSS. It’s labeled as “Great on Kindle” (a distinction very few technical books get), and it even has an audiobook version!

HTML & CSS: Design and Build Websites

Design and Build Websites - cover image
  • Author: Jon Duckett (profile)
  • Publishing: first edition (November 8, 2011)
  • Paperback: 490 pages
  • Ranking on Amazon: 4.7/5 (4,260 ratings)

Jon Duckett is a well-known author of books about web design and programming. His book HTML & CSS: Design and Build Websites is the most rated HTML/CSS books in this list by quite a margin, and also one of the best rated.

This book is over ten years old, and yet its content is still relevant today. It’s also beautifully designed, with full-color illustrations and screen captures. (See a sample chapter.)

It’s a #1 best seller in CSS, #2 in Web Design, and #2 in Computer Programming, and has a companion website with code samples for every chapter, and plenty of extras.

If you like this book, there’s also JavaScript and jQuery and PHP & MySQL by the same author and in the same style, both with fantastic reviews.

Murach’s HTML5 and CSS3: Training & Reference

Murach's HTML5 and CSS3 - cover image
  • Authors: Anne Boehm (profile) and Zak Ruvalcaba (profile)
  • Publishing: fifth edition (December 14, 2021)
  • Paperback: 602 pages
  • Ranking on Amazon: 4.7/5 (40 ratings)

The Murach’s series is well known for its lengthy and well written books for learning programming and software development, and Murach’s HTML5 and CSS3 is no exception.

With one of the highest ratings on this list, this fifth-edition book is a best seller #9 in CSS. It’s an update to the fourth edition, which has over 400 ratings.

Aside from reference aids, the main sections include:

  • the essential concepts and skills
  • responsive web design
  • more HTML and CSS skills as you need them
  • web design, deployment, and JavaScript

Zak also has a few courses on Udemy that you might find useful.

HTML, CSS, and JavaScript: All in One

HTML, CSS, and JavaScript All in One - cover image

In HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, heavyweight authors Julie Meloni and Jennifer Kyrnin integrate these languages with examples that you can use as a reference, or use as a starting point for your own projects.

Part of the Sams Teach Yourself series — which boasts over 200 books — this third edition includes recent updates to the HTML5 and CSS3 standards.

A relatively large book, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript is also one of the most comprehensive, providing plentiful illustrations.

HTML5 and CSS3: All-in-One for Dummies: 8 Books in 1

HTML5 and CSS3 All-in-One for Dummies - cover image
  • Author: Andy Harris
  • Publishing: third edition (January 7, 2014)
  • Paperback: 1,104 pages
  • Ranking on Amazon: 4.6/5 (501 ratings)

In HTML5 and CSS3: All-in-One for Dummies, bestselling author Andy Harris covers a lot of ground in web development. As is typical of the For Dummies series, the subject is presented in a very approachable and down-to-earth manner.

Here’s a list of eight “books” contained in this #5 best seller in XHTML:

  • Creating the HTML foundation
  • Styling with CSS
  • Building layout with CSS
  • Client-side programming with JavaScript
  • Server-side programming with PHP
  • Managing data with MySQL
  • Integrating the client and server with Ajax
  • Moving from pages to sites

To be honest, this series is little too legacy for my taste, as it focuses strongly on technologies like PHP and MySQL, which have been losing ground for quite some time against NoSQL databases and pure JavaScript frameworks such as React, Angular, or Vue. But hey, to each their own!

By the way, Andy also has a handful of courses on Udemy.

Web Design Playground: HTML + CSS the Interactive Way

Web Design Playground - cover image
  • Author: Paul McFedries (profile)
  • Publishing: first edition (May 19, 2019)
  • Paperback: 440 pages
  • Ranking on Amazon: 4.6/5 (114 ratings)

Paul McFedries is an author, serial technical writer, and trainer who specializes in Windows, web development, and programming. His books have sold over four million copies, and he has written over 90 titles for Microsoft Press, Wiley, and other publishers.

In Web Design Playground, Paul McFedries takes the reader on a journey into HTML and CSS, and the book is full of interactive exercises and full-color illustrations to help the reader learn — covering basics like creating web pages, to more advanced topics like styling with CSS and deploying web pages.

Responsive Web Design with HTML 5 & CSS

Responsive Web Design with HTML 5 & CSS - cover image
  • Author: Jessica Minnick
  • Publishing: ninth edition (February 6, 2020)
  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Ranking on Amazon: 4.6/5 (24 ratings)

In Responsive Web Design with HTML 5 & CSS, author Jessica Minnick (an IT instructor at Pasco-Hernando State College in New Port Richey, Florida) makes a thorough review of responsive web design best practices, as well as covering HTML5 and CSS3, thus providing a comprehensive introduction to web development.

This is one of the books in the Shelly Cashman series, and it’s on its ninth edition! It’s also the #6 best seller in CSS category on Amazon. So it’s a pretty safe bet.

Learning Web Design: A Beginner’s Guide to HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Web Graphics

Learning Web Design - cover image
  • Author: Jennifer Robbins (profile)
  • Publishing: fifth edition (June 19, 2018)
  • Paperback: 808 pages
  • Ranking on Amazon: 4.6/5 (597 ratings)

Veteran designer and co-founder of the Artifact Conference, Jennifer Robbins hits us with a #1 best seller in XHTML, #2 in JavaScript, and #2 in CSS.

Learning Web Design is an amazingly comprehensive, full-color book that covers HTML5, CSS3, web graphics, and JavaScript.

New in the fifth edition:

  • Flexbox and Grid layout for sophisticated and flexible page layout
  • responsive web design to make web pages work great on all screen sizes
  • an introduction to the command line, Git, and other modern web developer tools
  • a new chapter on SVG and how to use it in responsive layouts

The companion website includes exercise materials for working along with the book, supplemental articles for further reading, links with resources listed on the book, and even instructor support!

Extra: Cheat Sheets!

Cheat sheet - cover image

If you want to look for a quick reference guide that covers the very basics of HTML5 in the most concise way, the HTML5 Pamphlet, by BarCharts, is the most rated resource in this list (4.6/5, 375 ratings).

Part of the Quick Study Computer series (which offers over 60 charts), this fold-out guide provides an overview of HTML5, including the major elements, attributes, and the newest HTML5 features. It also provides brief yet accurate context for the HTML5 document structure.

Extra: The SitePoint Library

SitePoint Premium home page screenshot

SitePoint Premium gives you access to the SitePoint Library, with a whole section dedicated to HTML and CSS books and courses, including HTML5 & CSS3 for the Real World: second Edition, by Alexis Goldstein, Louis Lazaris, and Estelle Weyl.

There’s also the following series by Jens Oliver Meiert:

Final Thoughts

As the building block of the modern Web, it’s important to understand HTML’s syntax and how it works in order to create the best possible user experience. With the basics of HTML under your belt, you can start to create web pages, and then go on to build upon that foundation with other technologies.

Hopefully this list of HTML books will help you to get started, and help you along the road to your design and developing goals. 💻🕸