HTML 5 <meta> Tag

The HTML <meta> tag is used for declaring metadata for the HTML document.

Metadata can include document decription, keywords, author etc. It can also be used to refresh the page or set cookies.

The meta tag is placed between the opening/closing <head> </head> tags.


The following example demonstrates how to use the <meta> tag to redirect to another web page. Note that in this example, the page is within an <iframe>, so only this part of the page will redirect.


HTML tags can contain one or more attributes. Attributes are added to a tag to provide the browser with more information about how the tag should appear or behave. Attributes consist of a name and a value separated by an equals (=) sign, with the value surrounded by double quotes. Here's an example, style="color:black;".

There are 3 kinds of attributes that you can add to your HTML tags: Element-specific, global, and event handler content attributes.

The attributes that you can add to this tag are listed below.

Element-Specific Attributes

The following table shows the attributes that are specific to this tag/element.

NameName for the property. Can be anything, however, HTML5 does specify some standard metadata names. Standard HTML5 metadata names include:
application-nameMust be a short free-form string giving the name of the Web application that the page represents. If the page is not a Web application, the application-name metadata name must not be used. There must not be more than one meta element with its name attribute set to the value application-name per document. Browsers/user agents may use the application name in UI in preference to the page's title, since the title might include status messages and the like relevant to the status of the page at a particular moment in time instead of just being the name of the application.
authorFree-form string giving the name of one of the page's authors.
descriptionFree-form string that describes the page. The value must be appropriate for use in a directory of pages, e.g. in a search engine. There must not be more than one meta element with its name attribute set to the value description per document.
generatorFree-form string that identifies one of the software packages used to generate the document. This value must not be used on hand-authored pages.
keywordsThe value must be a set of comma-separated tokens, each of which is a keyword relevant to the page. For example, keywords for the current page could include "html5 meta tag, element, metadata, meta data, keyword, keywords, description, generator, application-name, author"
contentSpecifies the property's value.
charsetSpecifies the character encoding used by the document. This is called a character encoding declaration.
http-equivUsed for http response message headers. For example http-equiv can be used to periodically refresh the page, redirect to another page, etc.

Possible values include:

  • content-language
  • content-type
  • default-style
  • refresh

Global Attributes

The following attributes are standard across all HTML 5 tags (although the tabindex attribute does not apply to dialog elements).

For a full explanation of these attributes, see HTML 5 global attributes.

Event Handler Content Attributes

Event handler content attributes enable you to invoke a script from within your HTML. The script is invoked when a certain "event" occurs. Each event handler content attribute deals with a different event.

For a full list of event handlers, see HTML 5 event handler content attributes.