How to add images with the img tag in HTML

The img tag allows you to easily add images to your website. It supports numerous formats and a variety of attributes can enhance the img tag in HTML even further.

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What is the img tag needed for?

The HTML tag “img” inserts images and graphics into websites. The img tag functions as a placeholder, whereby the stored src attribute links to the actual storage location of the graphic when a website is accessed. The image is then embedded into the website. An alt attribute is required in addition to the src attribute. This will store an alternative text in case the image cannot be displayed. JPEG, GIF, PNG, and several others are supported by the img tag in HTML.

What is the img tag syntax?

The img tag syntax is straightforward and only requires a few components. The simplest variant is:

<img src="redcar.png" alt="small red car at a traffic light">

To ensure the graphic is displayed correctly, it is a good idea to include the image’s height and width on the website when using the img tag. These settings can be found in HTML attributeswidth and height. The code should look like this:

<img src="redcar.png" width="500" height="200" alt="small red car at a traffic light">

The loading attribute is also recommended when using the img tag in HTML. This ensures that the corresponding graphic is only loaded when users scroll to the corresponding position. Set the value of the loading attribute to lazy for this feature. This is how it should look in code:

<img src="redcar.png" width="500" height="200" alt="small red car at a traffic light" loading="lazy">

Which attributes can be used in the img tag in HTML?

In addition to the width, height, and loading attributes, there are several other attributes which are supported by the img tag in HTML. These include all global, event, and other specific attributes. Below is an overview of the attributes which can be used with the img tag:

Attribute

Value

Description

old

"Text"

Mandatory; specifies an alternative text for the image.

crossorigin

anonymous, use-credentials

Specifies which third-party websites can access the corresponding image with a script.

decoding

auto, sync, async

Defines how and whether an image can be decoded.

height

Pixel or percent

Sets the image’s height on the website.

ismap

true, false

Controls image’s access to a server-side image map.

loading

car, eager, lazy

Determines when an image should load.

referrerpolicy

no-referrer, no-referrer-when-downgrade, origin, origin-when-cross-origin, unsafe-url

States whether the image comes from an unsafe source.

sizes

sizes

Defines image sizes for different page layouts.

src

URL

Mandatory; specifies the image’s URI address.

srcset

URL lists

Stores a list of images for different purposes, e.g. different devices and sizes.

usemap

#mapname

Links the element to a specific image map.

width

Pixel or percent

Specifies the image’s width.

While the above attributes are commonly used in img tag, there are other attributes which have become outdated since HTML5 and HTML 5.1, such as align, border, hspace, longdesk, and vspace.

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