I have evaluated over 130 HTML editors for Windows against over 40 different criteria relevant to professional web designers and developers. The following editors are the 10 best free HTML editors for Windows, both WYSIWYG and text editors, in order from best to worst.
Each editor below will have a score, percentage, and a link to a more detailed review. All reviews were completed between September and November 2010. And this list was compiled on November 7, 2009.
If you’re still not sure which editor to choose, then fill in my questionnaire: Web Design Software: Which One is Right for You?
See all the free web editor reviews.
1. Komodo Edit
Komodo Edit is hands down the best free XML editor available. It includes a lot of great features for HTML and CSS development. Plus, if that isn't enough, you can get extensions for it to add on languages or other helpful features (like special characters). It's not the best HTML editor, but it's great for for the price, especially if you build in XML. I use Komodo Edit every day for my work in XML and I use it a lot for basic HTML editing as well. This is one editor I'd be lost without.
Score: 215 / 69%
Score: 183 / 59%
NetBeans IDE is a Java IDE that can help you build robust web applications. Like most IDEs it has a steep learning curve because they don’t often work in the same way that web editors do. But once you get used to it you’ll be hooked. One nice feature is the version control included in the IDE which is really useful for people working in large development environments. If you write Java and web pages this is a great tool.
Score: 179 / 58%
Bluefish is a full featured web editor for Linux. And the 2.0 release adds a lot of great new features. There are also native executables for Windows and Macintosh. There is code-sensitive spell check, auto complete of many different languages (HTML, PHP, CSS, etc.), snippets, project management, and auto-save. It is primarily a code editor, not specifically a web editor. This means that it has a lot of flexibility for web developers writing in more than just HTML, but if you’re a designer by nature you might not like it as much.
Score: 166 / 54%
The CoffeeCup Free HTML editor is a text editor with a lot of potential. A lot of the features it has in the menus require that you buy the full version. The free version is a good HTML editor, but I would recommend you purchase the full version of the editor to get the real juice from this product. One important thing to note: many sites list this editor as a free WYSIWYG editor, but when I tested, you had to buy the full version to get WYSIWYG support. The free version is a very nice text editor only.
Score: 166 / 54%
HTML-Kit is a free text editor with a lot of features. It’s one of the more popular text editors available for Windows. It has tag completion and HTML and CSS validation and a lot of features you wouldn’t expect in free software. The only issue I have with it is that it doesn’t default to HTML, you have to convert your documents to that. Many of the About.com Guides use HTML-Kit because it is so easy to extend and make macros for. It is also one of the only free editors I’ve found with support for accessibility validating.
Score: 164 / 53%
Score: 157 / 51%
SeaMonkey is the Mozilla project all-in-one Internet application suite. It includes a web browser, email and newsgroup client, IRC chat client, and composer — the web page editor. One of the nice things about using SeaMonkey is that you have the browser built-in already so testing is a breeze. Plus it's a free WYSIWYG editor with an embedded FTP to publish your web pages.
Score: 139 / 45%
Alleycode is a free web editor that focuses on search engine optimization. There are a lot of built-in features and links to the Alleycode website so that you can check your site ranking, optimize your meta data, and otherwise improve your search rankings. While I don't recommend sites that “guarantee” top-level ranking like Alleycode does, that doesn't mean that their web editor isn't any good. One feature I really like is the conversion tool to convert HTML tags and text from upper to lowercase and back. Very handy.
According to their website: Alleycode will no longer be supported or upgraded after January 1, 2010.
Score: 136.5 / 44%
Amaya is the W3C web editor. It also acts as a web browser. It validates the HTML as you build your page, and since you can see the tree structure of your web documents, it can be very useful for learning to understand the DOM and how your documents look in the document tree. It has a lot of features that most web designers won’t ever use, but if you’re worried about standards and you want to be 100% sure that your pages work with the W3C standards, this is a great editor to use.
Score: 135 / 44%