HTML Void Elements


Not all HTML tags are of the same structure. While most elements require an opening tag, a closing tag, and contents, some elements - known as void elements - only require an opening tag as they themselves do not contain any elements. This topic explains and demonstrates the proper usage of void elements in HTML


A void element cannot have any content but may have attributes. Void elements are self-closing, so they must not have a closing tag.

In HTML5, the following elements are void:

  • area
  • base
  • br
  • col
  • embed
  • hr
  • img
  • input
  • keygen
  • link
  • meta
  • param
  • source
  • track
  • wbr

Void elements

HTML 4.01/XHTML 1.0 Strict includes the following void elements:

  • area - clickable, defined area in an image
  • base - specifies a base URL from which all links base
  • br - line break
  • col - column in a table [deprecated]
  • hr - horizontal rule (line)
  • img - image
  • input - field where users enter data
  • link - links an external resource to the document
  • meta - provides information about the document
  • param - defines parameters for plugins

HTML 5 standards include all non-deprecated tags from the previous list and

  • command - represents a command users can invoke [obsolete]
  • keygen - facilitates public key generation for web certificates [deprecated]
  • source - specifies media sources for picture, audio, and video elements

The example below does not include void elements:

    <a href="">
        <h3>Click here to visit <i>Stack Overflow!</i></h3>
    <button onclick="alert('Hello!');">Say Hello!</button>
    <p>My favorite language is <b>HTML</b>. Here are my others:</p>

Notice how every element has an opening tag, a closing tag, and text or other elements inside the opening and closing tags. Void tags however, are shown in the example below:

<img src="" />
<input type="number" placeholder="Enter your favorite number">

With the exception of the img tag, all of these void elements have only an opening tag. The img tag, unlike any other tag, has a self closing / before the greater than sign of the opening tag. It is best practice to have a space before the slash.