9 Best Free HTML Editors for Windows for 2023

Excellent HTML editors for web pages don't have to cost a lot

Although any text editor works for Hypertext Markup Language documents, some HTML editors optimize for the language's specific syntax. We identified nine of the best free editors for Windows, based on customizability, features, and functionality.

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Best for Web Designers and Front-End Developers: Notepad ++

Notepad++ with HTML document open on Windows 10
What We Like
  • Small download and program size.

  • Loads fast and runs light.

  • Auto-completion for words and functions.

  • Plug-in options to extend functionality.

What We Don't Like
  • May be less useful for languages like Java.

Notepad++ is a favorite free note-taking app and code editor. It's a more robust version of the Notepad software you find available in Windows by default.

Notepad++ includes features such as line numbering, color coding, hints, and other helpful tools the standard Notepad application doesn't have. These additions make it an ideal choice for web designers and front-end developers.

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Best Open-Source, Free Editor: Komodo Edit

Komodo Edit on Windows 10
What We Like
  • Extensible through plug-ins.

  • Customizable appearance.

  • Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

  • Excellent for XML editing.

What We Don't Like
  • No WYSIWYG editor.

  • Not the best editor for beginners.

There are two versions of Komodo: Komodo Edit and Komodo IDE. Edit is open source and free to download. It's a trimmed-down version of IDE.

Komodo Edit includes many great features for HTML and CSS development. Additionally, it allows you to add extensions for more language support or other helpful features, such as special characters.

Komodo doesn't shine as the best HTML editor. Still, it's great for the price, especially if you build in XML, where it truly excels.

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Best for Web Application Development: Aptana Studio 3

Aptana Studio 3 Download Page
What We Like
  • Good for JavaScript.

  • Multiplatform support (Windows, Mac, and Linux).

  • Plug-ins expand supported languages.

What We Don't Like
  • Lack of major updates over the last few years.

  • Bulkier and sometimes slower than some other editors.

Aptana Studio 3 offers an interesting take on web page development. Instead of focusing on HTML, it focuses on JavaScript and other elements that allow you to create rich internet applications.

Aptana Studio 3 may not be the best fit for simple web design needs. But, if you're looking more toward web application development, its toolset may be a great fit.

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Best if You Write Java and Web Pages: Apache NetBeans

Apache Netbeans window open with HTML document
What We Like
  • Version control functionality.

  • Customizable appearance.

  • Specialized for Java.

What We Don't Like
  • Takes some time to learn.

  • Consumes a lot of system resources while running.

  • Can be slow to execute commands.

Apache NetBeans features a Java IDE that can help you build robust web applications.

Like most IDEs, Apache NetBeans has a steep learning curve because it doesn't often work in the same way as other web editors. Once you get used to it, however, you'll find it very useful.

The IDE's version control feature and developer collaboration features are especially useful for people working in large development environments. If you write Java and web pages, this is a great tool.

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Best for Getting Started With Application Creation: Microsoft Visual Studio Community

Microsoft Visual Studio open on Windows 10
What We Like
  • Well-supported with updates and the addition of new features.

  • Supports a range of programming languages.

  • Nice, beginner-friendly design.

What We Don't Like
  • Premium features come with a high price tag.

  • Heavy program that consumes significant memory and processing power.

  • Bit of a learning curve for new users.

Microsoft Visual Studio Community is a visual IDE to help web developers and other programmers create applications for the web, mobile devices, and the desktop. You may have used it previously, but Visual Studio Community is the software's latest version.

Microsoft offers a free download, as well as paid versions (that include free trials) for Professional and Enterprise users.

Microsoft Visual Studio Code is a free coding-only app that's part of the Visual Studio suite but stands alone. It's an excellent standalone code editor for dozens of coding and scripting languages.

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Best WYSIWYG Editor: BlueGriffon

BlueGriffon HTML environment open on Windows 10
What We Like
  • Multiplatform support (Windows, Mac, and Linux).

  • WYSIWYG editor with previews.

  • Good for beginners.

What We Don't Like
  • Can suffer lag during use.

  • Lots of options may bewilder new users.

BlueGriffon is the latest in the series of web page editors that started with Nvu, progressed to Kompozer, and now culminates in BlueGriffon. It's powered by Gecko, the Firefox rendering engine, so it does a great job of showing how work would be rendered in that standards-compliant browser.

It's available for Windows, macOS, and Linux and in a variety of languages. 

This is the only true WYSIWYG editor that made this list. As such, it's more appealing for beginners and small business owners who want a visual way to work, as opposed to a code-focused interface.

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The Bluefish Logo
What We Like
  • A fast and lightweight program.

  • Multiplatform support (Windows, Mac, and Linux).

What We Don't Like
  • Primarily a code editor without a WYSIWYG interface.

  • Lacks an easy FTP upload feature.

Bluefish is a full-featured HTML editor that runs on various platforms, including Windows, macOS, and Linux.

Noteworthy features include code-sensitive spell check, autocomplete of many languages (HTML, PHP, CSS, and more), snippets, project management, and autosave.

Bluefish is primarily a code editor, not specifically a web editor. This means it has flexibility for web developers who write in more than HTML. However, if you're a designer and want more of a web-focused or a WYSIWYG interface, Bluefish may not be for you.

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Best for Creating Complex Web Applications: Eclipse

Eclipse IDE on Windows 10
What We Like
  • Plug-in design makes adding new languages simple.

  • Open source with a large community that makes problem-solving easier.

What We Don't Like
  • Not as light as other editors.

  • Consumes considerable system resources, especially on large projects.

Eclipse is a complex development environment that's perfect for people who do a lot of coding on various platforms and languages. It's structured in a plug-in design, so if you need to edit something, find the appropriate plug-in, and go to work.

If you create complex web applications, Eclipse has many features to make your project easier to build. It offers Java, JavaScript, and PHP plug-ins, as well as a plug-in for mobile developers.

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Best for Web Design Beginners: CoffeeCup Free HTML Editor

CoffeeCup Free HTML Editor
What We Like
  • Website server management is easy.

  • Good for HTML and CSS editing.

  • User-friendly and a good option for beginning designers.

What We Don't Like
  • Many features are only available with the paid version.

  • No WYSIWYG editor (unless you purchase).

  • Not the best editor for coding languages beyond web design.

The CoffeeCup HTML editor has a free version as well as a paid, full version. The free offering is a good product, but be aware that many of this platform's best features require that you buy the full version.

CoffeeCup also offers an upgrade called Responsive Site Design 2 that supports responsive web design. This version can be added to a bundle with the full version of the editor.

Many sites list this as a free WYSIWYG editor. However, when we tested it, it required the purchase of CoffeeCup Visual Editor to enable WYSIWYG support. The free version is a very nice text editor only.

This editor scored as well as Eclipse and Komodo Edit for web designers but didn't rate as high for web developers. However, if you're a beginner at web design and development, or you're a small business owner, this tool has more features appropriate to you than either Komodo Edit or Eclipse.

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