HTML Links

This article explains how to create a link from one page to another.

Links, otherwise known as hyperlinks, are defined using the <a> tag — otherwise known as the anchor element.

To create a hyperlink, you use the <a> tag in conjunction with the href attribute (href stands for Hypertext Reference). The value of the href attribute is the URL, or, location of where the link is pointing to.


Hypertext references can use absolute URLS, relative URLs, or root relative URLs.

This refers to a URL where the full path is provided. For example,
This refers to a URL where only the path, relative to the current location, is provided. For example, if we want to reference the URL, and our current location is, we would use tutorial/
root relative
This refers to a URL where only the path, relative to the domain's root, is provided. For example, if we want to reference the URL, and the current location is, we would use /html/tutorial/. The forward slash indicates the domain's root. This way, no matter where your file is located, you can always use this method to determine the path, even if you don't know what the domain name will eventually be.

Link Targets

You can nominate whether to open the URL in a new window or the current window. You do this with the target attribute. For example, target="_blank" opens the URL in a new window.

The target attribute can have the following possible values:

_blankOpens the URL in a new browser window.
_selfLoads the URL in the current browser window.
_parentLoads the URL into the parent frame (still within the current browser window). This is only applicable when using frames.
_topLoads the URL in the current browser window, but cancelling out any frames. Therefore, if frames were being used, they aren't any longer.


Named Anchors

You can make your links "jump" to other sections within the same page (or another page).

To do this, you need to create two pieces of code - one for the hyperlink (this is what the user will click on), and one for the anchor (this is where they will end up).

This page uses a named anchor. I did this by performing the steps below:

  1. I created the anchor first (where the user will end up):
    <h2>Link Targets<a id="link_targets"></a></h2>
  2. I then created the hyperlink (what the user will click on). This is done by linking to the id of the named anchor. You need to preceed the name with a hash (#) symbol:
    <a href="">Link Targets</a>

This results in:

Prior to HTML5, named anchors used the name attribute. However this attribute is obsolete in HTML5 and you should use the id attribute instead (as outlined above).

When you click on the above link, this page should jump up to the "Link Targets" section (above). You can either use your back button, or scroll down the page to get back here.

You're back? Good, now lets move on to email links.

Email Links

You can create a hyperlink to an email address. To do this, use the mailto attribute in your anchor tag.


Clicking on this link should result in your default email client opening up with the email address already filled out.

You can go a step further than this. You can auto-complete the subject line for your users, and even the body of the email. You do this appending subject and body parameters to the email address.

Base href

You can specify a default URL for all links on the page to start with. You do this by placing the base tag (in conjunction with the href attribute) in the document's <head>.

Example HTML Code:

<base url="">