How To Use the rel Attribute for Link Tags in HTML

Updated on September 23, 2020

    Alligator.io and Matt Abrams

    How To Use the rel Attribute for Link Tags in HTML


    The rel attribute inside link tags (<link>) describes the relation of a linked resource. rel can take one of these 16 values. Let’s examine them all.


    Here are the 16 values that the rel attribute can accept inside <link> tags:

    • alternate: Alternate version of the document.
    • author: Author of the document.
    • dns-prefetch: The DNS lookup and handshake should be prefetched for the linked resource.
    • help: A resource for help on about the whole document.
    • icon: An icon resource.
    • license: License and legal information.
    • manifest: Web App Manifest document.
    • next: Next document in the series.
    • pingback: External resource called for pingbacks in the comments.
    • preconnect: The connection should be opened in advance.
    • prefetch: The resource should be prefetched.
    • preload: The resource should be preloaded.
    • prerender: The resource should be prerendered.
    • prev: Previous document in the series.
    • search: A document meant to perform a search in the current document.
    • stylesheet: The most commonly used value. Linking to an external stylesheet.

    Note that dns-prefetch, preconnect, prefetch, preload, and prerender are simply hints to the browser and are currently experimental. They are not supported in all browsers, and you can refer to the Can I Use? page for more information about browser support. Here’s also a summary about the difference between the different behaviors for these resource hints.

    Here’s a typical scenario where we’ll see the rel tag in use:

    <link rel='stylesheet' href='style.css' type='text/css'>

    stylesheet is the most commonly used value.


    The rel attribute inside <link> tags is an important feature of HTML. You can check out our related tutorial on the rel attribute inside <anchor> tags.

    Or, for a more comprehensive review of the HTML5 markup language, explore our series, How To Build a Website in HTML.

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