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How To Use the rel Attribute for Link Tags in HTML

Published on September 12, 2016 · Updated on September 23, 2020
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    By Alligator.io

    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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