What is Hypertext and Why does the Web Need it?

what is hypertext

What is hypertext? This question is a good starting point for anyone who is planning to start coding. Hypertext is text that is displayed on the Internet, which you can view on your electronic devices, that is connected by links. It’s basically the underlying construction of the World Wide Web. Hypertext allows you to jump from website to website using links. This explains how you can start looking for puppy videos and end up reading about conspiracy theories while surfing the web.

How Does Hypertext Work?

This article on hypertext is itself hypertext. You, the reader of this article, can move throughout the web by links in this hypertext. These links can take you to videos, pictures, and other websites. It does not work like regular text, such as in a book, which is linear. It works like a web, hence the name World Wide Web. Links connect websites that seem to not have anything in common with each other.

Why is Hypertext Important?

Why is hypertext important? Well, it is the building block of the Internet. Have you ever heard of HTTP? That stands for hypertext transfer protocol. This is what allows you to get to the website you typed in the address bar. Hypertext is also important for coding language. The computer language, HTML, stands for hypertext markup language. It uses hypertext to build websites. HTML is the most basic language out there, but it is also the basic building block for websites.   

What is Hypertext Used For?

Besides being used to get from website to website, another use of hypertext is art. Surprisingly, the art world uses it a lot. Electronic literature, also known as E-Literature, uses it to produce a narrative. You can read a story in hypertext. People have also created hypertext-generated poetry using code.


Overall, hypertext creates the structure of the World Wide Web. It’s an easy-to-use and easy-to-learn code created to share information over the Internet.