HTML DOCTYPE Declaration

The <!DOCTYPE> declaration should be the very first line in your HTML document, before the <html> tag.

The <!DOCTYPE> is not an HTML tag; It is an instruction to the web browser about what version of HTML the page is serving in.

HTML5 is not based on SGML, and therefore does not require a reference to a DTD.
In HTML 4.01, the <!DOCTYPE> declaration refers to a DTD, because HTML 4.01 was based on SGML. The DTD specifies the rules for the markup language, so that the browsers render the content correctly.

Common DOCTYPE Declarations:

HTML 5

<!DOCTYPE html>

HTML 4.01 Strict
This DTD contains all HTML elements and attributes, but does NOT INCLUDE presentational or deprecated elements (like font). Framesets are not allowed.

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

HTML 4.01 Transitional
This DTD contains all HTML elements and attributes, INCLUDING presentational and deprecated elements (like font). Framesets are not allowed.

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

HTML 4.01 Frameset
This DTD is equal to HTML 4.01 Transitional, but allows the use of frameset content.

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

XHTML 1.0 Strict
This DTD contains all HTML elements and attributes, but does NOT INCLUDE presentational or deprecated elements (like font). Framesets are not allowed. The markup must also be written as well-formed XML.

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

XHTML 1.0 Transitional
This DTD contains all HTML elements and attributes, INCLUDING presentational and deprecated elements (like font). Framesets are not allowed. The markup must also be written as well-formed XML.

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

XHTML 1.0 Frameset
This DTD is equal to XHTML 1.0 Transitional, but allows the use of frameset content.

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

XHTML 1.1
This DTD is equal to XHTML 1.0 Strict, but allows you to add modules (for example to provide ruby support for East-Asian languages).

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

Above information is taken from w3schools.com. Visit this site for more information.



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