15 Stunning HTML Websites in 2024 [+ How They Work]

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Colin Newcomer
Colin Newcomer

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Building even a simple HTML website can feel overwhelming if you haven’t done it before. In my experience, diving into examples can help make it feel less daunting.

person looking at html websites and HTML page example options

A successful HTML page example provides inspiration as you craft your own site and an example of what a successful site looks like in practice. That’s why it’s worthwhile to take a look. 

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One of the cool things about learning HTML is that you can take inspiration from any of the millions of public websites up and running right now. And not just that — you can also peek at the underlying HTML of these websites to find out how they’re built, then use those same techniques to build your own projects.

In this post, I‘ll share some stunning website examples that leverage HTML to its fullest potential. Beyond that, you’ll also learn about the basics of HTML websites, how to build your own simple HTML website, and some ideas for different types of websites you might want to create. By the end of this post, you’ll have a robust understanding of the best HTML page examples as you embark on your journey to craft your own. 

Understanding the Basics of HTML Websites

HTML, which stands for Hypertext Markup Language, is the primary language of the World Wide Web. An HTML document sets the content and structure of a web page. When you view a page in your browser, what you’re looking at is your browser’s interpretation of an HTML file that was retrieved from a web server.

HTML is almost always used in conjunction with two other front-end languages: CSS and JavaScript. CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is a language that controls the styling of a web page, including colors, fonts, and layouts. JavaScript is a programming language that enables more complex client-side features like interactive elements and animations.

The most recent numbered release of HTML is HTML5. Released in 2008, HTML5 notably contained several improvements to handle multimedia content like audio and video and semantically rich elements to describe page structure.

Going forward, there will be no more numbered version numbers for HTML. That means there will be no HTML6, and HTML5 is now called “HTML.” However, a number of improvements and enhancements have been released since HTML5 came out in 2008.

If you want to know more about HTML and how to write it, I recommend starting with our ultimate guide to HTML. You’ll learn everything you need to know to understand this post in its entirety.

Because every website is written in HTML, regardless of the complexity of the site or the number of technologies involved, it’s a good idea to immerse yourself in it. And yes, this is true even if the website uses server-side languages like PHP (such as WordPress). With a tool like WordPress, the web server will process the PHP and query the site's database to generate the finished HTML document to deliver to visitors' browsers.

You can take any page and lift up the hood to see the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code that bring it to life. 

Later in this post, I’ll review some of the ways designers and developers harness HTML in their creative works.

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A Few Ideas for HTML Websites

To get comfortable with HTML (along with CSS and JavaScript), I think it’s a good idea for you to create a website or two from scratch.

Even building a relatively simple HTML website can help you learn how HTML works and provide you with a solid foundation before you move on to more advanced projects.

Here are some ideas for beginner-friendly simple HTML projects you can create: 

To get started creating your first HTML site, I recommend following this excellent tutorial from freeCodeCamp.

As you grow more comfortable with HTML basics, you can begin to branch out into bolder, more unique design choices. But still, even elaborate websites can often be boiled down to a handful of HTML features working together to make a cohesive experience.

Next, I’ll walk you through examples of HTML websites that use elements creatively. I’ll also help unpack what makes them tick.

1. Gloutir

Gloutir: html page example

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What I like: Gloutir is a design and development studio based out of Houston, Texas, that features a vibrant, immaculately crafted website. While the hero section isn‘t anything too crazy, you’ll experience tons of interesting effects as you scroll down the page.

At first glance, this site may look technically complex. However, you can achieve most of the effects with plain HTML and CSS. While there’s an occasional JavaScript-powered effect (for instance, animated text and a card slider), a lot of this site’s appeal comes down to smart choices of colors, fonts, and images.

It’s worth digging into the page's source code if you’re curious. For example, when I checked out the code, I could see that Gloutir used Webflow to build its site and some of the different HTML techniques that the site relies on.

Check out our guide to the “inspect element” tool to learn how you can do the same.

If you want to inspect the code of a website, my experience is that Chrome offers the best developer tools (like “inspect element”). However, most other browsers also offer developer tools.

Pro Tip: Need help choosing a color scheme for your site? Here are a few I love. 

2. Joshua's World

Joshua's World: HTML page example

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What I like: Joshua is an interactive designer who uses his own interactive Joshua‘s World website to connect with potential clients. Visitors start on a simple welcome screen but can then enter the much more engaging Joshua’s World interface.

Visitors can then “ride” around the world on a bicycle while checking out Joshua‘s various projects and learning more about his experience. I think it’s much more engaging than a traditional portfolio that lists projects as thumbnails. And, given that Joshua is an interaction designer, I love how the design really shows off what he can do. 

While most of the basic content on Joshua‘s website is powered by pure HTML, the interactive elements rely on JavaScript. Joshua also uses the Sanity content management system to help him manage his site’s content.

Overall, I think that this is a great example of how you can use your website's concept to reinforce what your website is trying to achieve. Rather than just telling people about his skills as an interactive designer, Joshua shows people his skills.

Pro Tip: Consider working with a web designer to create bespoke designs for your HTML site. 

3. Ruby on Rails

Ruby on Rails: HTML page example

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What I like: Ruby on Rails is a popular open-source development framework developers can use to build server-side web applications. The Ruby on Rails website does a great job of communicating that with a clean, modern design.

I especially like how the website is able to keep things interesting with its color and typography choices, rather than relying on more complex animations. The red headings give a pop of color, while the actual design is simple.

The entire site is pretty much just pure HTML with CSS styling. None of the effects that you see require JavaScript. For example, the Ruby on Rails site creates interesting hover effects using basic CSS.

I think that it‘s a great reminder that you don’t need fancy CSS and JavaScript effects to build a great HTML website. Those elements can help in certain situations, especially with engagement and storytelling (as many of my other examples show). However, they are not a requirement to build an engaging website.

Pro Tip: Make your website more engaging with thoughtful CSS animations. Here are some I love. (Don’t worry — it’s not too tricky to learn!) 

4. Understanding Neurodiversity

understanding neurodiversity: html page example

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What I like: Project Lima is an inclusive design initiative that launched its Understanding Neurodiversity project to educate the public about neurodivergent individuals, how they operate in society, and some common myths associated with these individuals.

I recommend giving this experience a full watch if you have the time. It’s a touching blend of illustration, visual texture, music, sound effects, and meaningful storytelling to provide a better understanding of neurodiverse people.

In particular, the website’s use of scalable vector graphic (SVG) artwork is stunning and adds a visual framework for communicating the site’s information. Each screen transitions smoothly to the next with animated graphics. As far as online storytelling goes, I think this is as good as it gets.

Pro Tip: Don’t forget that copy plays into the experience your users have on your site. This is something Understanding Neurodiversity does exceptionally well. 

5. Intelligent Video Solutions

intelligent video solutions: html page example

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What I like: The HTML5 video element was another major step in making HTML more robust, with the goal of becoming the standard for playing video on web pages.

Today, many websites employ this element for auto-playing videos, fullscreen videos, and video backgrounds. Take this great example from Intelligent Video Solutions — its homepage meets you with a full-width video background and overlays text, graphics, and a gradient to smoothly transition you down the page.

If you want to achieve a similar effect on your site, the HTML5 video element is the best way. I think that it’s a much cleaner alternative to, say, an embedded iframe from YouTube on your page. 

Pro Tip: For accessibility reasons, it’s a good idea to let users pause videos and also to let them choose whether or not the video plays sound.

6. Caffeine Post

caffeine post: html page example

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What I like: Caffeine Post is a post-production video studio that, as you might guess, also makes great use of the HTML video element. I love how the homepage immediately confronts you with a chaotic but immersive video montage of the company’s work and dares you to watch more.

The selected works page is a series of thumbnails, each itself a video element. You can hover your cursor over a thumbnail to watch it play in a loop and click on it to watch a longer video preview with sound. Plus, you can filter the works by category (commercial, film, etc.).

For such an impressive website, it might seem surprising that you can build many of its key features with just pure HTML. I think it just shows how far even simple web technologies have come over the past decade.

Pro Tip: Don’t neglect the power that video can have in immersing your users in the world of your site. The best part is adding video to an HTML page example is easy. 

7. Dumpling Delivery

dumpling delivery: html page example

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What I like: Microsites allow brands to experiment with new web design techniques while promoting a product. Mailchimp’s Dumpling Delivery website is a prime example of this: Visitors can play nine holes of virtual miniature golf in an attempt to deliver dumplings to hungry customers.

Just about the entire experience is built around HTML canvas, with some JavaScript magic happening in the background to make the game dynamics possible. Dumpling Delivery showcases the limits of what you can accomplish with HTML and JavaScript with some expert help.

The only thing that I don't like is that the website can take a little longer to load on slower connections. However, this is expected, given how much interactivity is going on with the site.

Pro Tip: Love this site? I do, too. For more inspiration, take a look at some of our favorite interactive websites.

8. Make Your Move (Adidas)

make your move: html page example

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What I like: Adidas made this microsite to promote the company’s global World of Sports headquarters in Herzogenaurach, Germany. I like how it leverages video and crisp images to help you experience the space from every angle.

The website does a good job of putting visitors on a pretty defined path for the whole experience, starting with a video (displayed with the HTML5 video element) and following up with an image slideshow to highlight the best parts of working for the company.

I also like that there's no scrolling down — everything happens with side-to-side movement, which I noticed creates a linear feel to the storytelling experience.

Pro Tip: Sometimes, a larger site doesn’t necessarily mean a better one. This is a great example of using an HTML microsite can help tell a structured, digestible story about your brand. 

9. Take a Ride With Me

take a ride with me: html page example

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What I like: Some websites use video to show, while others, like this example, use it to immerse. Created by Danish videographer Nikolaj Juhlsen, the Take a Ride With Me website experience drops you on the seat of a mountain bike as you’re taken down treacherous trails across Europe.

This site is about as close as you can get to a real mountain biking experience through your desktop, and it’s accomplished with HTML video alone. If the quality of your content is high enough, you don’t need wild effects to pull off a great site.

That said, the homepage of this site does layer on some interesting cursor effects and scrolling effects for some added flair. For example, when you first land on the site, the “Play” button follows your mouse cursor around, which I think creates an interesting engagement effect (and also makes it easy for visitors to start the experience).

Pro Tip: Experiment with different cursor effects to determine if adding one is intuitive for your site or if you’d be better off leaving it alone. 

10. Ayako Taniguchi

ayako taniguchi: html page example

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What I like: As we saw with the Understanding Neurodiversity website, music can add a layer of emotional depth to any browsing experience. Let’s now turn to another example in which music is the focus: The website for composer Ayako Taniguchi.

The HTML5 audio element allows websites to embed music and other sounds into web pages. You can also set audio to play on a loop and provide controls for users to control the playback of the sounds, as is the case with this site.

Each music sample is visualized with an interactive canvas background. The canvas was configured to react to both the music and cursor movements, which I think gives the music more of an emotional impact than a simple pause or play button.

It‘s a great example of how you can combine visual and audio effects to create or enhance a certain "feeling" in your website’s visitors.

Pro Tip: I love how the music automatically pauses if a user opens another window, which I think reinforces how interactivity is an integral part of the experience.

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11. Earth Eclipsed

earth eclipsed: html page example

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What I like: Here is another shining example of the HTML audio element in action: Earth Eclipsed is an award-winning science fiction podcast with an award-winning website — both were designed to transport you to a different place.

I think this site's main highlight is its unique player interface. The progress bar is laid out in a circle, and the time is displayed as a countdown over a looping video background of a rippling globe. This creates an extraterrestrial atmosphere to accompany the audio.

The website also incorporates many engaging scroll and video effects, including a fun video of all the Earth Eclipsed team members clapping.

Pro Tip: Combining audio and video can give your site a competitive edge in a space saturated by so many engaging websites. 

12. Pencilvania

pencilvania: html page example

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What I like: Pencilvania is a digital project that shows you the latest dogs that have been put up for adoption in the US and Canada.

The entire site is a draggable canvas that updates daily with new data and will hopefully encourage a visitor or two to adopt. I like how it also includes engaging audio effects, with a cute dog bark sound when visitors select one of the new arrivals.

In my opinion, this unique concept plays a big role in why the Pencilvania website received an Honorable Mention at Awwwards.

I think that you can easily translate this simple concept to other kinds of websites. You could have visitors explore your own virtual town, look for treasure, or feature different “landmarks” on your canvas that link out to other pages on your site or to your different projects. In my opinion, the Joshua's World website from above is another great example of these tactics.

Pro Tip: If you want your site to shine, offer users something they haven’t seen or experienced before. Yes, you can do this with simple HTML — the concept matters most! 

13. Mas Oyama

mas oyama: html page example

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What I like: This website for this martial arts dojo displays mastery in controlling each design element to create an atmosphere. The designers have achieved harmony between each element by employing web textures, color gradients, parallax scrolling effects, and a fascinating full-screen background animation on the homepage.

I think that this site is also notable for its in-depth storytelling, detailing the history of the full-contact martial art of Kyokushin Karate and its founder, Mas Oyama. Of course, you don’t need programming experience to know how to tell a great story. But, when combined, they make for a powerful website.

Again, I think that this is a great example of how you can use HTML elements to enhance your website's storytelling and connect with visitors.

Pro Tip: The eye-catching branding especially stands out on this website. This demonstrates how critical it is to have branding that feels intuitive to your brand. 

14. DD.NYC

ddnyc: html page example

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What I like: DD.NYC is a creative design agency located in New York City, hence the name. True to its creative agency roots, the DD.NYC website uses lots of interesting animations and scroll effects to create a more engaging experience for visitors.

For example, I love how the cross lines and “innovating your industry” text follow the user's cursor. It creates an interesting effect but without being annoying, like some other cursor effects can be.

The DD.NYC also has a certain “Easter egg”-type feature, where you can trigger a special dark mode by clicking the boxy heart icon with the text “Don't press this heart.” It also uses this interesting clickable button design in other site areas, such as the “Send” button for the DD.NYC contact form.

Pro Tip: This offers an excellent example of how you can use small effects and Easter eggs to create a more engaging web experience for your visitors.

15. La Guía de Cirugía Cardíaca

La Guía de Cirugía Cardíaca: html page example

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What I like: Let’s end with something truly unique: La Guía de Cirugía Cardíaca is a Spanish-language website that teaches patients and their loved ones about heart operations. The goal is to guide the visitor through the process and alleviate any concerns they may have.

The site presents a lot of its information on animated cards, which are created with SVG files controlled with JavaScript. I think that the site does an excellent job of presenting these cards logically, from when a patient first receives their diagnosis to when they return home after treatment.

Pro Tip: I love how the website uses some interesting scroll effects and cursor effects to keep visitors engaged once they scroll past the cards. Further down the page, it also includes playable audio episodes for visitors who prefer an auditory experience, which is another great example of the HTML audio element.

How to Make Your Own Simple HTML Website

If you've made it this far, you might be wondering how you can create your own HTML website, like some of the examples above.

While many of the more advanced HTML page example options require a more in-depth mastery of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, you still have options to build an engaging website, even if you're just getting started with learning these technologies.

Here are two routes that you can use to make your first HTML site:

Static HTML Website Generator

If you don‘t want to write all of your site’s HTML code from scratch, there are lots of static HTML website generator tools that you can use to create a basic HMTL site. 

If you still don't feel totally comfortable working with code, I think that the easiest option for most people is to use WordPress and a static site generator plugin like Simply Static.

You can build your website with WordPress, including using WordPress themes to control the design of your site. You'll also still be able to use a lot of WordPress plugins (though some plugins won't work as a static HTML site). Then, you can export your finished website as a static HTML site using the Simply Static plugin.

All you need to do is upload those HTML files to a static web host like Cloudflare Pages or Netlify, and you will have a simple HTML website that people can access from anywhere in the world.

If you don't want to use WordPress, there are also lots of other static HTML site generator tools with varying levels of complexity — here are some of my favorites:

  • Webflow (like WordPress, it gives you an option to export your site as a static HTML site)

  • Jekyll

  • Hugo

  • Gridsome

  • Eleventy

  • Pelican

Code From Scratch (or Use a Simple HTML Website Template)

If you feel comfortable working with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for your entire site, you can also code your website from scratch. 

Building a simple HTML website using HTML and CSS is also a great way to teach yourself these fundamental web development languages, as I mentioned earlier.

You can use HTML code editors like Sublime Text or Atom to build your website on your local computer. Then, you just need to upload your site's static files to your favorite static website hosting service to make it live.

To help you save time, you can use a simple HTML website template or library. For example, I think the popular Bootstrap library makes it a lot easier to build a great-looking website, as it offers tons of pre-built components. This can save you from having to write every single line of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript from scratch.

I recommend checking out our guide to Bootstrap if you're interested. We also have posts on Bootstrap Buttons, building Bootstrap web forms, and overriding Bootstrap CSS when needed.

HTML Page Example 

Creating an HTML site doesn't have to be complex — and by taking a look at some HTML page examples, you can see that for yourself. 

Here's an HTML page example I love that demonstrates getting started isn't as tricky as you think it will be. 

See the Pen Untitled by HubSpot (@hubspot) on CodePen.

On Codepen, I created an example of how you can get started building an HTML page. As you can see, it's rather intuitive. 

Craft Your Perfect Website with HTML

We spend so much time on websites that we may not realize what goes on behind the scenes. But, if you understand the frameworks for your favorite websites, this gives you invaluable insight into how the best online experiences are made. With that knowledge, you can build your own online experiences that engage, captivate, and delight your new audience.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in May 2023 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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