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Web design & development evolves each passing day with new updates, languages, and common practices. Professionals are often desired but not always practical for start-ups with a low budget. Luckily, website builders continue to gain popularity and have been embedded all over the internet. From web hosts to all-in-ones like Squarespace, there’s no shortage of options for that click-to-build method of web design & development.

These website builders may be crucial and extraordinarily useful for those on a budget. Still, not all of your specific plans may be possible without some basic knowledge of HTML and CSS. In this article, we try to aid your quest to learn the basics of web development and even web design…yes, they are two entirely different subjects. Here is a handy list of options to learn HTML, CSS, and maybe a bit more. Just to be safe, we want you to understand that this article is only meant for beginners. If you are a professional, you may wish to look elsewhere unless looking to reestablish your basic foundation.

Learn Basics of Web Development


Treehouse introduction video screen

Treehouse is a paid tutorial service with a demo and free trial. Courses span from $25 – $49 per month for on-demand video courses, interactive practice sessions, and community access. If you are ever feeling confident enough with your newfound skills, Treehouse also offers certifications for $199. 

There’s no better way to test a service than to experience it yourself. Here’s an example lesson with limited access. Without signing up for a plan, you’ll only have access to 30 seconds of each video, but that is a perfect amount to see Treehouse’s production quality. Furthermore, scroll down the pages, play with the tabs, and truly get a feel for what Treehouse has to offer.

Treehouse Course Topics

Treehouse course topics

Code Academy

Code Academy Options

After signing up for a free plan, you’ll be greeted with the two images above. The option on your left appears to be useful for beginners, but after selecting “I have never coded or only know the basics,” the system offered a “pro” course that no novice programmer should ever start with. For that reason, we highly recommend choosing the right option, “I want to explore on my own.” This way, you can browse all of the courses and choose HTML on your own.

The academy’s code editor is completely interactive. View instructions and then use the editor as a playground to edit and immediately check the results. There are many comparable courses out there, but Code Academy’s editor is solid.  

Code Academy's code editor

As mentioned, it is completely free to sign up. You can complete courses related to HTML, CSS, and Java. Once you’ve gotten a hold of the introductory courses, you’ll have to upgrade to the Pro Plan for $19.99. If you are a student or wish to educate your whole staff, there are even more options for you!

Don’t be afraid to check around the site regardless of whether you wish to continue with Code Academy or not. As you can see here, they have an active community with support, tips & resources, and even 30-day challenges.


It would almost be absurd to create a list of useful HTML tutorials without mentioning W3Schools. Founded in 1998, W3Schools has been responsible for educating a majority of today’s IT professionals. Even if not being used as a main educational source, W3 is still a fantastic option for a quick reminder if you ever end up forgetting a piece of information. Why? Because like Wikipedia, their tutorials often show up first…and for good reason. The website’s simplicity in explaining the basics of web development is unmatched but often copied.

The best part about W3Schools is that their courses are FREE. This “freemium” service offers hundreds if not thousands of tutorials and exercises for HTML, CSS, Java, Python, PHP, JQUERY…the list goes on. Even if you end up preferring an alternative source of education, you should absolutely add this helpful website to your bookmarks.

To be fair, W3Schools is no longer completely free, but it is still incredibly cheap! For just $4.99 per month, you gain access to their new video series! They seem to carry on their minimalist approach in the videos, so if you enjoy the appeal of their traditional courses, you’ll probably love these as well. 

The Odin Project

An introduction glossary from The Odin Project

The Odin Project is openly sourced, meaning there are many volunteer contributors developing the project as a whole. What does this mean for you? Completely FREE. There is a page that mentions ways you can support the project, but it is very much optional. 

The courses offered by The Odin Project are not unlike textbook material. Unlike some of the other programs mentioned in this article, these lessons contain wordy explanations along with images, videos, and assignments at the end. The system trusts you to acknowledge your comprehension of each lesson. You may also easily push ahead and skip any material you may already know and understand.

Learn the foundation basics of web development, which The Odin Project considers to be HTML, CSS, Flexbox, Javascript, and frameworks.

Free Code Camp

Learn HTML by building a cat photo app

Students who “learn by doing” would love Free Code Camp. This site full of mini projects are listed in order of skill level and will all teach you something new about responsive web development. Much like Code Academy and W3Schools, Free Code Camp allows you to play around in their code editor to create the projects the lessons teach you.

Editor from Free Code Camp

Between your lessons, be sure to check out your free access to the Free Code Camp forums, which are quite active and useful. The website even hosts a blog called News and a calming lofi Radio that pumps out relaxing music while you learn and code. At the time of writing this article, there were over 100 listeners, so you may even make some friends on Free Code Camp!

Google Courses

Courses offered by OpenClassrooms

Some of us live and die by Google. If this sounds like you, Google offers various tutorials through other popular paid educational services like Coursera and OpenClassrooms. Google’s HTML & CSS course uses the latter, and it very much comparable with other courses. Google’s contains four modules and will take most people around 10 hours to complete. You may easily complete what you can in your own time, as there is no time limit or cost.

Learn Basics of Web Design

Admittedly, we are a bit more focused on coding for the purposes of this article. Still, we would like to offer a few sources for some interesting design concepts. 

Hack Design

One building block at a time. Hack Design isn’t a traditional course by any means, but after subscribing, you will receive one design-based lesson in your inbox each week. This should provide enough time for you to comprehend and practice on your own. If you are in a rush to cram as much as you can, then look no further than their Lessons page for 50 free lessons!

Web Design Ledger

Set up like a newspaper website, Web Design Ledger offers plenty of news, articles, interviews, examples, and more. This is a fantastic source for a web designer of any level. Simply browse the website and select the topics that interest you most.

Test your skills with Reddit…

Reddit hosts a subreddit called /r/52WeeksOfDesign. This forum was more or less abandoned in 2016, but there’s no reason not to use it. It’s simply a list of 52 different challenges to help you advance in design. If completed correctly, you’ll even end up with a good-sized portfolio if you ever wish to make it a career. The only downside of the subreddit being unofficially abandoned is that subscribers are unlikely to offer assistance or critique your work. Even so, this is a great option for anyone who wishes to utilize it. 

Hire a Professional

We hope this article was helpful in some small way. Web design & development can be time-consuming, expensive, and tricky. If you ever struggle, there is a whole Google of tutorials and helpful forums out there to hold your hand. If you ever need professional assistance, we hope you’ll let us get to know you a bit better. Let’s Get Started!