What is CSS and how does it work?

HTML code on a black screen.
(Image credit: Pixabay)

Chances are, if you've spent any time coding, you've come across CSS. But what is CSS, exactly? In short, CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is a language that determines the style of a web document. This includes everything from the colors and fonts used to the spacing and layout of the page. 

In other words, CSS is what makes a web page look good. While the default styles provided by web browsers are fine in a pinch, they're usually not enough to create a truly unique and visually stunning website. 

That's where CSS comes in. With CSS, you can control every aspect of your website's appearance, giving you the power to create completely custom looks for your site. 

What is CSS? 

CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets, is a style sheet language used for describing the presentation of a document written in a markup language. A style sheet is a collection of rules that tells a web browser how to display a document written in HTML or XML. 

CSS is used to style all HTML tags, including the document's body, headings, paragraphs, and other pieces of text. CSS can also be used to style the display of table elements, grid elements, and images. 

CSS is one of the three core technologies of World Wide Web content production; the other two are HTML and JavaScript

How does CSS work? 

CSS is a language that is used to style HTML documents. This language can be used to create both simple and complex websites. In order to understand how CSS works, it is important to understand the basics of HTML. 

HTML is a markup language that is used to structure content on a web page. HTML elements are the building blocks of an HTML document. These elements are represented by tags. For example, the tag can be used to create a paragraph element. The tag defines a hyperlink, which allows you to link to other web pages. The tag defines a heading element. There are many other HTML tags that are used to structure content on a web page. 

CSS instructions are added to HTML documents in order to style the document. These instructions are added within the tag. The tag must be placed within the head element of an HTML document. There can only be one element per document. The element contains one or more CSS rules. Each rule consists of a selector and a declaration block. 

The declaration block contains one or more declarations. Each declaration consists of a property and a value. The property identifies which aspect of the element you want to style and the value specifies how you want to style the element. 

For example, you could use the color property to change the text color of an element or the font-family property to change the font of an element. Declarations must always end with a semicolon. Multiple declarations can be added within the same declaration block by separating each declaration with a semicolon. 

What is CSS used for in website hosting? 

CSS is used in website builder services and web hosting to make a website look nicer without having to change the actual HTML code. This means that if you want to make a small change to the way your website looks, you can do so without having to edit the HTML code itself. This can save a lot of time, especially if you need to make a lot of small changes. 

In addition, using CSS can help to keep your HTML code clean and organized. If your website has a lot of styling information included in the HTML code, it can be difficult to read and edit. By keeping the styling information in a separate CSS file, it will be much easier to read and edit your HTML code. 

Finally, using CSS can make it easy to change the look of your entire website by changing just one file. For example, if you want to change the colors of all the text on your website, you can do so by editing your CSS file instead of having to edit each individual web page. This can save a ton of time.

What is the difference between HTML and CSS? 

HTML is a markup language that consists of tags enclosed in angle brackets. These tags tell the browser how to render the page's content. For example, the <p> tag indicates that the enclosed text should be treated as a paragraph. The <h1> tag indicates that the text should be rendered as a heading, with the h1 being the most important heading. All HTML tags must be closed, either with a closing tag (e.g., </p>) or by using what's known as an empty element tag, which doesn't require a closing tag (e.g., <br />). 

CSS is a stylesheet language that is used to describe how HTML elements should be displayed on a page. CSS rules are made up of selectors and declarations. A selector is used to target an HTML element, while declarations contain rule properties and values that are applied to the targeted element. For example, the selector could be all <h1> tags on a page, while the declaration could be "font-size: 24px." This would make all <h1> heading elements have a font size of 24 pixels. 

It's important to understand the difference between HTML and CSS because they are two very different languages that serve two very different purposes. A well-designed website will use both HTML and CSS code to create a site that is both informative and visually appealing. 

What are the different types of CSS? 

Inline CSS

Inline CSS is used to apply a unique style to a single HTML element. To use inline CSS, you simply add the style attribute to the relevant HTML element. The style attribute can contain any CSS property, such as color, font-family, etc. Inline CSS is added using the following format: 

Internal CSS

Internal CSS is used to apply a unique style to an entire HTML document, or section of an HTML document. Internal CSS is added within the <style> element, which is located in the <head> section of an HTML document. The <style> element can contain any CSS property, such as color, font-family, etc. 

External CSS   

External CSS is used to apply a unique style to an entire website. External CSS files are saved with .css file extension and linked to from within an HTML document using the <link> element (which is located in the <head> section).

Ruby has been a freelance technology writer for over four years and has a passion for information technology and the Internet in its entirety. She has a wide range of specialities including web hosting, streaming (Firestick, Kodi, and APKs), VPN, information technology, and affiliate marketing. Ruby is a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Commerce from the University of the Philippines, and regularly codes in her free time.