Best HTML Editor Review (For Beginners and Experts)

What is the best HTML editor?

Choosing an HTML editor is not a brain teaser. But it is important. An HTML editor is a program that lets you edit HTML (and other web languages) in plain text so that they can be interpreted by a web browser. Basically, an HTML editor is your ticket to creating content for the web. It’s also a powerful tool. With an editor, you can build just about any kind of website you can imagine. And most of the best HTML editors are free. But, if you want premium features and fewer hours spent on personal configuration, you have some attractive options as well.

What Is An HTML Editor?

An HTML editor can be any plain text editor with special features designed for editing HTML files and, as a bonus, any of the languages used for developing pages for the web. These include CSS, JavaScript, and PHP.

What Should You Expect From Any HTML Editor?

At the bare minimum, there are a few features you should demand from any HTML editor. And the good news is most HTML editors provide these basic features:

Actual plain text
It might seem unlikely, but there are some editors out there that don’t let you get your hands on the code itself, but instead use an interface that edits the code for you. Use plain text.
Syntax highlighting
To make your code more easily readable for humans (including yourself).
Code completion
Coding HTML requires a lot of tedious repetition of various tags and syntax constructs, so (for beginners especially) a little auto completion goes a long way and helps save you from extra typing and user error.

Best Free HTML Editors

The best free HTML editors here are ordered not by quality but by long-term viability. As you try different editors you’ll notice some have features you like that are not available in other editors. For example, there might be a feature you like in Sublime that’s not available in Atom. Conversely, Atom might give you something that Sublime does not. It’s not sustainable to try to use multiple editors.

So as you go through this list, know that as you proceed down this list, all of the features you like in Sublime, Atom, and Microsoft Visual Studio Code, can be implemented or, at least emulated, in the more advanced editors toward the bottom — Vim and Emacs.


Sublime provides excellent built-in support for all of the major web languages: HTML, CSS, PHP, and JavaScript. And no additional configuration is necessary to get support up and running. All you need to do is install Sublime, open any HTML file, and start editing. Sublime provides all of the most basic text features you need, plus it boasts a healthy plugin archive with additional features you can integrate.


Atom, similarly to Sublime, provides a basic set of code conveniences, including syntax highlighting and code completion. Likewise, Atom plugins can be installed right from within the main interface — which is a nice option to have if just want to quickly try out extra features.

Microsoft Visual Studio Code

Microsoft Visual Studio Code is more than a text editor, it is a fully “integrated development environment.” What does that mean? An integrated development environment (IDE) attempts to bring a full suite of software tools together in one master application. So for example, you have all the standard coding features like syntax highlighting and code completion, and you get bundled with that support for debugging, version control, deployment, shell, and much more. The main difference between Microsoft VSC and other IDEs is the price: VSC is free.


You likely already have Vim installed on your computer. Unlike all of the other applications you have read about so far, Vim is a terminal-based editor. There are GUI-like versions of Vim you can try out, but the preferred way of getting to know Vim is to open your terminal emulator and run through the Vim tutor. Type “vimtutor” on a command line and then when Vim takes over the screen you can type “:help” and hit Enter.

Vim is highly customizable, which is why its many dedicated users recommend it. Just about anything you can imagine with text manipulation can be accomplished with Vim.


Like Vim, Emacs is highly extensible. Emacs has different “modes” for different types of text. Like other editors mentioned above, Emacs can detect if you are editing an HTML file, and it will jump into a special editing mode designed just for editing HTML files. For the most complete web editing package, with support for the all languages mentioned above, you should check out the webmode.el package.

Best Premium HTML Editor

Departing from the world of free editors, there are premium options available. The primary benefit in premium editors is longevity. Paying for a software project is one of the best ways — though certainly not a guarantee — that the software will continue to be developed and updated long into the future. All of the other text editors in this article are maintained by volunteers.


PhpStorm, from JetBrains, is an IDE built to support just about everything you would need to do in building a website with the most popular website scripting language: PHP. But even if you’re not using PHP, PhpStorm packs in powerful features for HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. For something more stripped down and focused on JavaScript, there is also WebStorm. PhpStorm provides some additional support for databases, unit testing, and other features unique to PHP. If you don’t need those, perhaps WebStorm is ideal for you, and it’s more affordable. However, if you are interested in doing web coding in general and are not sure if you might need PHP support one day (chances are you will) then you should consider paying the premium on PhpStorm. Both products are free after the third year.

EditorPrice per user (1st year)2nd year3rd year

Adobe Dreamweaver

Adobe Dreamweaver continues to be popular year after year and maintains a loyal following. At $20/month, Dreamweaver provides you with a different experience compared to all of the other editors mentioned above. Instead of editing code directly, Dreamweaver provides you with a drag-and-drop graphical user interface (GUI). If this is the way you would prefer to work, then Dreamweaver may be the best choice for you. If you are comfortable using tools like Photoshop, Dreamweaver provides a similar user experience.

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