Element of
HTML Document Structure
What does <!DOCTYPE ...> do?
The <!DOCTYPE html> declaration is used to inform a website visitor's browser that the document being rendered is an HTML document. While not actually an HTML element itself, every HTML document should being with a DOCTYPE declaration to be compliant with HTML standards.
Display
none
Null element
This element must not contain any content, and does not need a closing tag.
Usage
structural

Declaring a DOCTYPE

All HTML need to have a DOCTYPE declared. The DOCTYPE is not actually an element or HTML tag. It lets the browser know how the document should be interpreted, by indicating what version or standard of HTML (or other markup language) is being used.

HTML5 Documents

For HTML5 documents (which nearly all new web documents should be), the DOCTYPE declaration should be:

<!DOCTYPE html>

This needs to be the first thing in your document, before the <html> or <head> elements. Also, there is no closing tag.

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
*
*
*
</head>
<body>
*
*
*
</body>
</html>

Other DOCTYPES you might encounter

There is virtually no reason to compose new HTML documents in an older standard. However, you may see any of the following document types on legacy systems:

HTML 4.01 Strict

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/strict.dtd">

HTML 4.01 Transitional

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/loose.dtd">

HTML 4.01 Frameset

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Frameset//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/frameset.dtd">

XHTML 1.0 Strict

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd">

XHTML 1.0 Transitional

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">

XHTML 1.0 Frameset

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Frameset//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-frameset.dtd">

XHTML 1.1

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.1//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml11/DTD/xhtml11.dtd">

Browser Support for DOCTYPE

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