Originally published in February, 2014, this article has been updated as of February 2018 to ensure that all the HTML editors listed are still available for free download. Any new information on latest versions has been added to this list.
During the original testing process, over 100 HTML editors for Windows were evaluated against more than 40 different criteria relevant to both professional and beginning web designers and web developers, as well as small business owners. From that testing, ten HTML editors that stood above the rest were selected. Best of all, all of these editors also happen to be free!
Notepad++ is a favorite free editor. It is a more robust version of the Notepad software that you would find available in Windows by default. That being the case, this is a Windows-only option. It includes things like line number, color coding, hints, and other helpful tools that the standard Notepad application does not have. These additions make Notepad++ an ideal choice for web designers and front end developers.
There are two versions of Komodo available – Komodo Edit and Komodo IDE. Komodo Edit is open source and free to download. It is a trimmed down counterpart to IDE.
Komodo Edit includes a lot of great features for HTML and CSS development. Additionally, you can get extensions to add language support or other helpful features, like special characters.
Komodo doesn’t outshine as the best HTML editor, but it’s great for for the price, especially if you build in XML where it truly excels. 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.
Eclipse (the latest version is dubbed Eclipse Mars) is a complex development environment that is perfect for people who do a lot of coding on various platforms and with different languages. It is structured as plug-ins, so if you need to edit something you just find the appropriate plug-in and go to work.
CoffeeCup Free HTML Editor
The CoffeeCup Free HTML comes in two versions – a free version as well as a full version which is available for purchase. The free version is a good product, but be aware that a lot of the features this platform offers do require you to buy the full version.
CoffeeCup now also offers an upgrade called Responsive Site Design that supports Responsive Web Design. This version can be added into a bundle with the full version of the editor.
One important thing to note: Many sites list this editor as a free WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor, but when I tested it, it required the purchase of CoffeeCup Visual Editor to get WYSIWYG support. The free version is a very nice text editor only.
This editor scored as well as Eclipse and Komodo Edit for Web Designers. It ranks fourth because it didn’t rate as highly for web developers. However, if you are a beginner to web design and development, or you’re a small business owner, this tool has more features appropriate to you than either Komodo Edit or Eclipse.
One concern about Aptana is the lack of updates that the company has done over the past few years. Their website, as well as their Facebook and Twitter pages, announce the release of version 3.6.0 on July 31, 2014, but there have been no announcements since that time.
While the software itself tested great during initial research (and it was originally placed 2nd in this list), this lack of current updates must be taken into consideration.