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 Anonymous on 17. April 2008 - 16:04  (62)

KompoZer was more recently updated -- Aug. 30th, 2007.

by Anonymous on 14. May 2008 - 6:49  (471)

PSPAd info could be enhanced.. for even more extra points ;)

by Anonymous on 16. May 2008 - 13:33  (590)

I've tried to post on this before, but I guess it didn't come through on the list. One of the best free programs to put up a website fast is the free version of Netobjects Fusion Essentials. Get it from HERE.

It has a lot of templates, and is as easy as naming folders in a tree which creates all the linked pages with (named) rollover buttons for you.

Features include: drag and drop design, full website management, website asset management, built-in FTP, form builders, photo galleries, e-commerce tool and more.

It's easy to layout stuff, too, just like a desktop publishing program: drag out a textbox, put some text in it and place it where you want.

And no, I don't work for them. Just impressed with the software.

- Joseph Francis

by Anonymous on 18. May 2008 - 5:33  (723)

You seem to have forgotten Arachnophilia 5.3 at
http://www.arachnoid.com/arachnophilia
This is a free program written in Java so it works on any computer. It is versatile and can be used by new users and experienced code writers. This program has been and will be free forever. This program actually introduced me to freeware way back in the old days. Give it a try.

by cristian on 20. May 2008 - 9:35  (822)

Hi everybody,

First I want to thank you all for your contribution, Arachnophilia 5.3 and Netobjects Fusion Essentials will be considered in the next revision of this page.

As to PSPad I want to point out that this site does not provide detailed reviews but summary recommendations covering the most important product features and differences.

I cannot check KompoZer right now as the web site is down, I´ll try it later.

Cristian Eslava

Projects:
Justtellmewhy.com

by Anonymous on 25. May 2008 - 12:46  (1114)

Kompozer is pretty buggy in my experience. Nvu is better and has a spell checker.

But for a really good WYSIWYG html editor try Trellian WebPage. http://www.trellian.com/webpage/
It states it gives absolute positioning of HTML elements - which is critical if you want a WYSIWYG editor - and from what I see it does. I'm still to get ftp working - but the app feels rock solid. Becareful not to install the non free SOE and browser toolbar on installing - unless you really want them.

by Anonymous on 27. May 2008 - 22:35  (1247)

Re WYSIWUG editors Trellian Webpage is a very good option. Kompozer is very buggy. Nvu is fine but getting a little outdated.

Trellian is still actively developed and has a number of add ons you can choose to purchase.

It has additional capabilities to Nvu, like the ability to include iframes for example

- but most importantly it guarantees absolute posititioning of html elements - perhaps the most important feature of a WYSIWYG editor. Another feature I like is the html validator which indicates any problems with your code. Lastly it is rock solid in operation. www.trellian.com

by Anonymous on 7. July 2008 - 2:52  (3704)

Hi Cristian,

An editor I like to use is KaSaB Web Editor available free from http://www.kasabsoftware.com.au
This is not a WYSIWYG editor but it does have a preview function. You can edit HTML, PHP, SQL, CSS, & JS.

Thanks for your efforts.
Kind regards,
John Mc Grath

by Anonymous on 14. July 2008 - 14:52  (4222)

If you want something a bit more heavyweight check out the Community Edition of Aptana Studio:
http://www.aptana.com/studio

by Anonymous on 31. July 2008 - 12:24  (5238)

thanks for this post - downloading HTMLKit while I write this comment.
-Des
http://www.qvvo.com/link/f974a7cc/10370

by Anonymous on 20. August 2008 - 21:33  (6354)

Some of them wich I test or love :

HotHTML Pro 2001
http://www.wsoftware.biz/products/hothtml2001/

HTML Kit
http://www.chami.com/HTML-Kit/

MoreMotion Web Express, from Mor Yazilim
http://www.moryazilim.com/webexpress/index.html

PSPad
http://www.pspad.com/

by Anonymous on 24. August 2008 - 13:54  (6835)

Nvu created tables when i used v1 in late 2004(iirc)
pspad is nice, but seems a bit heavy. the ui is bulky too. i like crimson editor, but it of course has "flaws". there are so many "syntax color" editors... so find one you like... also use topstyle (or tslite) to help w/ css.

should mention that oe's compose window (in "rich text" mode with the view source turned on) can work as a crude html editor. (somewhat messy results tho)
macromedia dw sites tend to be messes, but perhaps only cuz dw inspires messy html writing?

by Anonymous on 2. September 2008 - 22:03  (7243)

Please consider adding ewisoftDOTcom (New version 4.3.4.22 released June 2008) It's totally free and looks really easy to use.
-Herb

[link edited out by chris.p - this is payware unless you can prove otherwise]

by Anonymous on 4. September 2008 - 8:56  (7332)

Could you point us to exactly where the free version is? Cause I can't find a "totally free" version on the site.

by yannlh on 10. September 2008 - 20:52  (7596)

I'd like to recommend another one, which I am surprised is not mentioned here! This tool is very well known by programmers and is Visual Web Developer Express Edition (http://www.microsoft.com/express/vwd/). While this tool does way more than just html (and xml and css and javascript, etc.) editing, it also contains absolutely all of the features mentioned here plus many more plus within a powerful environment.
I was using PSPAD and Nvu before, PSPAD for html editing and Nvu only for automatic html generation (Nvu is unusable for other purposes as full of bugs and with that crazy habit of modifying your code whenever you update it from the wysiwyg area). I switched very happily plus started coding in ASP.NET as well when Microsoft made that great tool free.

by Anonymous on 22. September 2008 - 15:40  (8154)

Do you know if Trellian is working well in Vista?
I tried it but then I want to write something in Editor it just freezes for a few seconds, writes a few letters, freezes again and so on.

by Anonymous on 24. September 2008 - 15:03  (8230)

what about visual web developer express? it doesnt support all protocols, but it damn good for html css javascript and asp.net

by Anonymous on 7. October 2008 - 9:53  (8812)

I use Trellian with Vista and found it to be really good, apart from the ftp publishing. So i imported CoreFTP into Trellian to publish, and it works fine. I have used NVU and Kompozer but they have caused problems and they are outdated now. Trellian is continually updated.

This site is excellent. Thank you

R.Pimm

by Anonymous on 7. October 2008 - 16:55  (8876)

Visual Web Developer Express is awesome, but I doubt the average Joe is capable of using it. Online installation is a bit tricky, in several occasions I couldn't tell if the window was frozen. It is not designed to be easy for novice and it does require knowledge of HTML and CSS to use. Interface could be more intuitive. Power tool for advanced users.

by Anonymous on 12. October 2008 - 15:03  (9086)

Notepad++ is very similar to PSPad in that it is a general text/multi-language editor. It is open source and seems to have pretty regular updates. There are also some plugins for it and lots of customization options.

I use it for HTML and other Web and general programming, and when just typing up little notes here and there. It does text highlighting based on the language you're using and can do autocomplete if you have that turned on. It also allows for folding (hiding of intermediate sections) of any and ALL levels of indented text to a point that more "professional" programming editors like Visual C++ Express 2005 do not allow. That is to say that every single level of indenting groupings can be folded closed or compressed and then re-expanded, versus just higher-level sections, which is extremely helpful when dealing with very long files with lots of loops and trying to get an overview. Additionally, if you are running into errors because of a missing bracket or similar, you can easily find the problem by folding all your sections together and seeing where a section compresses in the wrong spot--and it can save you a lot of time.

You can download it at http://notepad-plus.sourceforge.net.

by Anonymous on 18. October 2008 - 5:13  (9277)

Any idea which of these "free" editors might support vertical editing? I only saw one that listed it as a feature (not free however) but many of these editors don't have a feature listing.

by Anonymous on 6. December 2008 - 17:49  (11534)

Other people have mentioned it also but what about Visual Web Developer Express Edition?
http://www.microsoft.com/express/vwd/

by Anonymous on 9. January 2009 - 1:46  (13445)

And what would be the best html editor for a Mac? Particularly looking for something that a youngster who's getting comfortable with html could grow with. Thx. - NY Mac parent

by Anonymous on 13. January 2009 - 16:16  (13820)

Notetab (www.notetab.com) is my favorite free text editor. It has a set of libraries for coding HTML and many other functions, plus you can create your own. Fab for automating the creation of HTML or entire web pages. The PRO version is great value, with enhancements for HTML coding such as coloured HTML tags.

by Anonymous on 14. January 2009 - 6:55  (13855)

I tried the bluevoda tool and it is quite promising. Here below is the link:

www.bluevoda.com (freeware)

ekadim

by Anonymous on 29. January 2009 - 3:06  (14885)

I've heard that bluevoda is good but you can only publish to vodahost servers?

by Anonymous on 2. February 2009 - 16:57  (15144)

Technically yes. However, when you preview the page, an html page is created temporarily in one of temp directories. This is one workaround way.

Another workaround is that when you complete your page design, you can go to the html tab and copy the whole code to another web tool.

I tried many free web tools but none of them including Kompozer has been as powerful as this one. I have yet the Microsoft Express Web Designer to test.

ekadim

by Anonymous on 7. February 2009 - 16:36  (15562)

Thank you very much.

by mjt328 on 13. February 2009 - 4:41  (15944)

A new version of KompoZer(0.8a1) was released on February 6, 2009.

Here's the link to its download page at SourceForge.net:

http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=170132

by Anonymous on 17. February 2009 - 18:18  (16208)

Went to above link.

Downloaded and unzipped kompozer-20090206-win32.zip. Copied to Program Files. Wouldn't start.
SO...deleted above and
I tried kompozer-20090206a-win32.zip....etc. Wouldn't start.

"Release Name: 0.8a1

Notes: This version is built upon Gecko 1.8.1. Many bugs are solved, a few cool features have been added, but it's only an alpha release. Do NOT use for production, you WILL loose data. The Linux version comes first. A Windows build has just been added but it's untested. Update: two Micosoft DLLs are missing in the kompozer-20090206-win32.zip archive, please use kompozer-20090206a-win32.zip instead."

The other kompozer download is kompozer-20090206.tar.gz. I assume this one's for Linux?

"A Windows build has just been added but it's untested." Right. They didn't even attempt to START it let alone test it. :o)

Has anyone gotten the windoes ver. up and running?
Any ideas as to what I'm doing wrong?

Deemarie

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