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Difference Between Link & Anchor Tag In HTML

What is the difference between the two? Can they be interchanged with one another? We will explore these queries in this article.

HTML provides us with 2 different tags called the Anchor tag (represented by <a>) and the Link tag (represented by <link>). But what is the difference between the two? Can they be interchanged with one another? We will explore these queries in this article.

What is an HTML Anchor tag?

An anchor tag is used in an HTML file to help us link our HTML file’s texts to certain other web pages. In other words, it helps in the creation of hyper texts (<a>these are the hyper texts</a>) in HTML documents.

These other web pages that is linked into by the anchor tags can be present within the same website, or can be residing in a different website on a different web server altogether. But what is important is that the Anchor tags <a></a> are responsible for linking different web documents together through hyper texts and help user navigate from one web page to other in a simple mouse click!

It must be noted that all anchor tags are present only within the <body></body> section of an HTML page. They are never used in the <head></head> section of the HTML page. This is because the primary function of the Anchor tags <a></a> is to let web page users to move from one page to the other page. As the web page users can never see the content of <head> section, anchor tags are never used there!

So, in other words, we can say that Anchor tags <a> are used in the user visible part of an HTML web page so that the web page user can click on the Hyper Texts created by these Anchor tags and move from one web page to another.

What is an HTML Link tag?

On the other hand, our web page is not just made up of HTML web pages, but consists of one or more of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) that are used to style the web page. It also consists of one or more Javascript files to provide interactive functionalities to the web page. These CSS files and the Javascript files are thus part and parcel of the web page and hence need to be linked to the web page. This is achieved using the <link> HTML tag.

The <link> HTML tag is hence used to link up all external resources such as CSS and Javascript files associated with a web page. This linking does not need to be seen by the final user as he only needs to get an integrated HTML web page rendered. As a result, the linking of these files, done through the use of <link> tag is done in the <head> meta section of the web page.

So these were the difference between Link tag Vs Anchor tag in HTML. Each of these tags have very unique functionalities to fulfill in their own roles and cannot be used interchangeably as we suspected in the beginning of the article.

With this, hope it became clear on the differences between Link and Anchor tags’ purpose in the creation of an HTML document. If you have any more queries or doubts between Link and anchor tags, let me know in the comments below and I will try to clarify your doubts.

Until next time, happy coding! 🙂

By Amar Nath

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