Best Free HTML Editor

 
Introduction

HTML text editors are fine for programmers or those who are comfortable coding (X)HTML, PHP and CSS, but many users have no interest in this. They just want an editor that allows them to produce web pages quickly in a WYSIWYG environment.

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Discussion

Whether code-based or WYSIWYG, the ideal HTML editor should be able to validate that the HTML is standards-compliant, preview the page in different browsers, support meta-tags and provide basic image editing, while still being free. An included FTP client is a bonus.

HTML WYSIWYG Editors

KompoZerOne of the best free editors is KompoZer, our top recommendation for newbies. It's designed for non-technical computer users who want to create an attractive web site without needing to know HTML.  Features include integrated file management (upload to and edit files on a web server), tabbed editing (allowing work on multiple pages), and support for forms, tables and templates.

KompoZer's last stable release was in 2007, and the last Beta (development version) was released in February 2010.

Worth watching is BlueGriffon, which is a fork of KompoZer, currently under active development and looking very promising.

 

AmayaAnother good editor is Amaya. It's a project from the The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and so shines in the area of standards compliance and accessibility.

Amaya lets users both browse and author web pages, which enables easy copying and pasting of information from other web pages and easy creation of links to other websites.  You can seamlessly upload your web pages onto a server from within Amaya as well.

HTML Text Editors

My top choice for experienced users goes to Netbeans. It started life as a Java Editor but with recent releases has developed into a powerful text editor for web scripting. It is Vista and Windows 7 compatible.

At first glance, Netbeans is a little intimidating. Most of the menu items can be ignored by ordinary mortals. Using it as an HTML/PHP editor is akin to using a steam hammer to crack a peanut. Nevertheless the code completion, code colouring and the professional look and feel make it an excellent choice.

Netbeans supports: HTML and XHTML, CSS, PHP (Version 6.5 and later), Java SE, JavaFX, Web & Java EE, Java ME, Ruby, C/C++ and more.

 

HTML-KitMy second choice is HTML-Kit which began as a specialized html editor but now has so many plugins that it is a highly customizable and extensible development environment. The latest freeware release is build 292, and plug-ins continue to be developed and extended, keeping this software very up to date. HTML-Kit is compatible with Vista and is also portable.

HTML-Kit offers support for HTML, XHTML, XML, CSS, XSL, JavaScript, VBScript, ASP, PHP, JSP, Perl, Python, Ruby, Java, VB, C/C++, .NET C#, Delphi / Pascal, Lisp, SQL, and more.

Over the years, both Netbeans and HTML-Kit have attracted large communities, so the support forums are very good. Their websites are full of video tutorials and resources.

Both Netbeans and HTML-Kit are excellent choices for serious coders, offering support for many file types including HTML, XHTML, XML, CSS, XSL, JavaScript, VBScript, ASP, PHP, JSP, Perl, Python, Ruby, Java, VB, C/C++, .NET C#, Delphi / Pascal, Lisp, SQL, and more.

 

AptanaAptana Studio, which is based on the well-known, open-source Eclipse IDE that is popular among Java developers, focuses on modern web 2.0 development techniques.

It features optimizations for Javascript, HTML, Ajax, Ruby on Rails, PHP, CSS and many others.

Aptana Studio plugins enable source control and over 1,000 other third-party extensions.

There is a pro version (which includes a few other features), but the free version is more then enough for any web developer (from beginner to advance). I personally love Aptana studio, and recommend it to any developer wanting a full featured IDE for building websites, web applications, desktop applications (with the adobe air plugin), etc.

 

PSPadFinally, for advanced users who work in various programming environments, there is PSPad. It's a general-purpose programming editor with html syntax highlighting.

This small tool has simple controls and handles plain text, yet is extremely capable.  Saying you use PSPad for your coding scores you immediate points for technical machismo.

 
Related Products and Links

You might want to check out these articles too:

 
Quick Selection Guide

KompoZer
4.5
 
Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
http://kompozer.net
0.7.10
7.6 MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Unrestricted freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Windows All, Mac OSX, Linux
Amaya
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Standards compliance and accessibility
Some features are very complex for beginners. WYSIWYG rendering is not very good. Doesn't recognize PHP pages.
http://www.w3.org/Amaya/
11.4.7
13.88 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows All, Mac, Linux

v11.4.7 released 18 April, 2013
View the release history here

From the developers website:
"Snapshot 11.4.7 - Security fix (18 April 2013)

This snapshot contains a security fix for a problem with the libwww as, in some cases, user password could be sent in the clear through https.
This problem concerns only people who use the PUT capability of Amaya over SSL."
It is available from the download link above.

 
Editor

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Tags

edit html, edit html files, edit html text, edit text wysiwyg mode, best free html text editor, top html editor, top free html editor, edit html what you see is what you get, freeware.

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Comments

by mungolina on 12. July 2013 - 9:23  (109161)

Hi, great site. I'm a translator, ex-functional designer/BA. I have enough technical knowledge to wend my way through HTML/XML/some code, but for translation purposes I just want a simple editor that will allow me easily to identify what are visible strings (i.e. viewable by the user), to translate. I'm not familiar enough to know whether I'll need to make changes for character sets etc. I can probably sort that through seek-and-hack skills(skills!?). Generally never as simple as it sounds, but me just translate, ugh.

These products sound either not enough or too much, similarly the text editors sound inadequate... What would you advise, please?

Thanks!

by vandamme on 3. February 2013 - 2:25  (105064)

All the Mozilla family apps appear similar. I've been trying SeaMonkey because it's still under development, unlike the deceased NVu and the stalled KompoZer. Seems like I had to clean up the code a bit in a text editor afterwards, though. It's also heavyweight because it includes other apps. I also used Blue Griffon for a while; its best features are extra-cost plugins (they're not that expensive).

So I guess the only other WYSIWYG choice is Amaya.

by Sun (not verified) on 20. November 2012 - 3:47  (102592)

Thanks for posting the list. This is of great help.

by George.J on 11. October 2012 - 16:42  (100649)

OpenBexi gets top spot at http://pikimal.com/html-editor/top/10/pikirank.

Worth checking out.

by mysticman (not verified) on 1. November 2012 - 1:51  (101672)

Open bexi seems still not ready yet. by the way, your link
http://pikimal.com/html-editor/top/10/pikirank

does not work.

by PHPguy (not verified) on 14. July 2012 - 19:27  (96183)

Ritho: Thank you very much for your reply. Gizmo's Freeware is a great website. Keep up the good work.

by PHPguy (not verified) on 11. July 2012 - 21:31  (96059)

I would like to know if any of the apps reviewed in the article above would allow me to view the results of a local PHP script in a local browser.

by Ritho on 13. July 2012 - 5:02  (96121)

You will have to install something like LAMP, WAMPserver, or EasyPHP if you want to do that.

http://www.wampserver.com/en/
http://www.easyphp.org/

by SecretDream (not verified) on 30. May 2012 - 7:15  (94177)

My experiences with Kompozer isnt that "brilliant".

- some hidden bugs,
- it crashes anytime i tried to load php page,
- CSS modul inside doesnt work properly.

by Osodarck (not verified) on 27. May 2012 - 16:52  (94050)

Thanks for this great article! really helped me! :-)

by Avenoo (not verified) on 28. March 2012 - 22:58  (91349)

I have tried out many IDEs but netbeans seems to confuse me, because when I start it up I find that the "new project" button does not give an option to create an html/javascript/css file, which troubles me because it is on this list. So if somone could explain how to use netbeans for an html editor!

-thanks, Avenoo :)

by Impactika (not verified) on 17. March 2012 - 20:56  (90765)

Ok, I have read a lot of your comments, and looked at several of those HTML editors. Now for my question: I have had a website for about 10 years now and I used FrontPage to edit it, I loved those 3 tabs so I could check on what I was doing. I finally updated hardware and software to Windows 7 and MS Office 10. Great, that works, but FrontPage does not. What would you recommend I use to replace it? keeping in mind that my programming abilities are very limited.
Thank you for all and any advices.

by David Foreman (not verified) on 15. May 2012 - 17:53  (93501)

Microsoft expressions is the correct replacement for Front page not share point designer. That tool is specifically for SharePoint sites and will only frustrate you. Mind you can can use it but it is not the right tool

by Odinbc on 11. April 2012 - 20:18  (91927)

Have a look at Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2007
http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/best-free-microsoft-downloads.ht...

by J_L on 15. December 2011 - 2:06  (85039)

Never knew NetBeans supported so many programming languages, thanks.

by Jim Van Damme (not verified) on 10. December 2011 - 1:41  (84736)

I just tried out BlueGriffon. The installer is a little wierd and windows-like on LinuxMinT Debian (I used the Ubuntu-64 version), but it seems to work kind of OK. It seems to have a lot more capability than Komposer, like html 5 elements.

by Amit (not verified) on 17. November 2011 - 15:32  (83435)

Nice article!
What is your opinion about Coffeecup Free Html Editor, Ritho?

by Diman (not verified) on 15. October 2011 - 20:40  (81473)

great comparison, thanks!! pls add some fakebook/google +1 /twitter - buttons to I (so I think others readers too) would like to vote up this article.

Regards,
Diman

by MidnightCowboy on 16. October 2011 - 5:36  (81505)

We did provide this facility a while back but it was abused and so removed.

by Rustik (not verified) on 28. September 2011 - 7:58  (80491)

I suggest to review also free PHP/HTML/CSS editor - Codelobster PHP Edition
http://www.codelobster.com

by rneutron (not verified) on 31. August 2011 - 0:51  (78697)

I've always used Microsoft's front page just because I know how it works and I have not had luck learning Dreamweaver...... I run Mac now and Kompozer is the closest thing to Front page that I've found. I do simple editing of existing pages and Kompozer's interface is simple to use
2 Thumbs Up!!!!

by AJ (not verified) on 29. July 2011 - 19:30  (76478)

I find it easier at times to use a raw text editor and other times use Kompozer. It depends on what you're doing. I open a template with gedit, the Linux equivalent to Windows Notepad. I find that opening it in a text editor, scrolling down 'til I get to the tag I need, and edit a simple line is great for me.

A wysiwyg editor tends to put in some unclean code. When designing, yes a program like Kompozer is great. But using FileZilla and dragging and dropping a text file edited in Gedit is the norm for me. And to create a new page is as simple as copy and paste an existing page, then changing text and images as needed. Learning a beginning tag and closing tag is super easy to me and what goes in the middle.

I learned html from Youtube videos and W3schools.com On occasion, I'll look up something, and copy and paste what I need, changing certain things. That's so much easier than trying to learn a brand new program for some folks. And not as easy as others. Since I'm a writer, perhaps I just feel more comfortable with text than others.

by dpm39560 (not verified) on 9. July 2011 - 22:40  (75103)

Some pluses and a big minus about KompoZer.

The BIG PLUS is that KompoZer is available in a PORTABLE Version. This means no installation on your computer, no registry entries, and you can "install" it (meaning unzip all the required files) onto a USB key.

This is excellent for me because I build websites, and need to set them up so my clients can edit their own content. I do this by building the sites in PHP (using Dreamweaver mostly), and having the PHP script assemble the header, the menu, the content, and the footer at runtime. Then I put all the content files (simple HTML files) into a separate directory, to which I give my clients an FTP login.

With KompoZer, I can install it on a USB key, and set it up to automatically link to the content directory. I give the client that USB key, they plug it in to their own computer, and are automatically connected to their FTP directory. The client can then simply double click on the content document they want to open, edit it, click "Publish," and presto, their own changes are online. They can make changes without having to call me to do it for them.

The REALLY BIG MINUS for KompoZer is that whenever you try to publish an IMG, you can't link to a JPG or GIF or PNG somewhere else. KompoZer very "helpfully" imports the image file into your publish directory and links to it directly there. I haven't yet found a way to preserve the off-site IMG SRC link when publishing from KompoZer. Maybe there is, but I can't find it.

This pretty much eliminates KompoZer for me, because many of my clients need to put up images, and when the HTML files they edit are embedded in another PHP page, the local link is no longer valid.

NOTE TO REVIEWERS: It would be really REALLY helpful if you could let us know if there definitely is or definitely is not a PORTABLE version of each app available.

I love KompoZer for what it can do - but sheesh, I wish it would preserve external IMG links!

by Asit (not verified) on 29. April 2011 - 15:02  (71118)

The Komposer is by far the best among all of them if comapred on the basis of portability, WYSIWYG features, variety of file types that can be edited, cross-platform reach and ease of use. Ofcourse editors like Aptana and Netbeans are far more extensive but they are not inherently portable like Komposer. So my choice is Komposer! :)

by JessieThomas (not verified) on 1. May 2011 - 21:07  (71256)

HOw did you get it to install? I am using firefox browser. I went to the site via a link here, and downloaded it, and extracted it. It unzipped and created another folder. But it doesn't open up as an editor or anything, just a folder with elements in it. In other words, it's not working.
I tried three times.
I am not having any luck with these and all I need is a good html editor.
What gives?
Jess

by MidnightCowboy on 2. May 2011 - 7:17  (71277)

Most software developers link to a user guide which usually contains installation instructions. This is the one on the KompoZer site.

http://www.charlescooke.me.uk/web/uga1.htm#a4

by JessieThomas (not verified) on 1. May 2011 - 20:02  (71248)

Boy I download html-kit and after some dickering around I thought I had a pretty clean listing done. It has sooooooo much it could choke a person but I knew what I was looking for.
Then I put in my links. ONly two. One showed up, the other not and I could not figure it out for the life of me then, the entire listing VANISHED. It got stuck in some browser honest to God the thing is buggy.
I had registered at the site because I read it has good support. NOT.
I registered, it has my email but kept telling me I had not and so I asked to be sent my password. It told me I didn't exist.
That is NOT good support nor does it support the most popular browsers in my opinion. It only wants Internet Explorer. It ought to say as such. I was using firefox, but could have switched. I did not think I had to.
I had to toggle around to see the preview.
Now I am off to try another this is crazy to struggle. I am sure glad I didn't go through with that donation.

by Code Junky (not verified) on 28. April 2011 - 5:47  (71036)

Komodo Edit + Notepad++ FTW.

by Germain (not verified) on 29. March 2011 - 22:26  (68806)

I would suggest looking into Notepad++ as this does color coding and code hinting for many languages. I have used it for several years and its still being updated!

by mistywindow on 29. March 2011 - 23:42  (68807)

I'm checking the current version. It's another one of many excellent free editors. Choosing between them is a bit of a mission.

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