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What are HTML Iframes? A Beginner's Guide

What are HTML Iframes? A Beginner's Guide

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at iframes, how they work, and how you can use them effectively.

Check out this insightful video on Web Development for Beginners.


What is an iframe?

What is an iframe

An iframe (short for “inline frame”) is an HTML element that creates a frame within a web page to display another HTML document. You can use an iframe to embed content from one website onto another. A video, a map, a form, or an advertisement are all examples of content that can be embedded. Iframes enable you to display dynamic content without having to rebuild it.

You should not overuse iframes as it can cause your page to load slowly and offer a security concern, especially if you include content from a suspect domain. Consider an iFrame to be a component of your content rather than a component of your website. For example, if you want to include a YouTube video to engage your readers, you can do so by inserting an iFrame element into that article.

How do iframes work?

An iframe (short for inline frame) is an HTML element that allows another HTML document to be embedded into the current HTML document. When you embed an iframe in a website, it generates a window within the website that displays the contents of another website.

Here’s how iframes work

  1. create an iframe element in your HTML document using the <iframe> tag.
  2. Using the “src” element, indicate the source URL of the webpage you want to display within the iframe.
  3. The browser loads the source webpage within the iframe and displays it within the iframe element’s window.
  4. You can adjust the height and width of the iframe window using the “height” and “width” attributes.
  5. Other properties, such as “name” and “id,” can be added to the iframe element to allow it to be referenced in JavaScript or CSS.

By default, any links or forms within the embedded webpage will open and submit within the iframe window. You can use the “target” attribute with the value “_parent” to make them open in the parent window.

It’s important to remember that iframes can have security consequences if you’re not alert about the content you embed. To prevent click-jacking and other attacks, only embed authorized sources and set proper security headers.

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How to use iframes in HTML

To use an iframe in HTML, create an iframe element and define its characteristics, such as the content’s source, width, and height, as well as a name to identify the iframe. You can also use CSS styles to change the appearance of the iframe. Once the iframe is in place, you can load any form of material from a different source into your web page, such as a movie, a map, or even a social media feed.

  • Decide what content you want to display– You must first decide what content you want to display in an iframe before adding it to your website. This could range from a motion picture to a map, or anything else of your liking.                  N                                                                    
  • Add the iframe element to your HTML code– To add an iframe on your website, utilize the <iframe> element in your HTML code. Using the “src” attribute, you must indicate the source of the material you want to display within the iframe element.                   
  • Customize the iframe– CSS can be used to change the appearance of the iframe. This includes adjusting the width and height, as well as the border and other aesthetic options.
  • Test the iframe– After you’ve put the iframe into your website, test it to ensure it is operating properly. This ensures that the content is displayed appropriately, that any links within the iframe function properly, and that the iframe is responsive on various screen widths.        

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Types of iframes in HTML

Types of iframes in HTML

There are mainly two types of iframes in HTML – inline frames and floating frames.

  • Inline Frames– A rectangular section within a web page that can contain another HTML document is known as an “inline frame.” Inline frames are generated in HTML using the <iframe> element, and the iframe’s content is loaded from a different file or URL indicated in the iframe’s source attribute. The inline frame appears as a block element on the page and can be scaled, positioned, and styled with CSS.
  • Floating Frames– A floating frame is a type of iframe that is not limited to a specific section of the web page and can be positioned anywhere on the page using absolute positioning. The <frame> element in HTML is used to build floating frames, which can be used to create a navigation bar, a banner, or any other form of content that needs to be displayed in a fixed position on the page.

Unlike inline frames, floating frames are not fully integrated into the web page and are displayed independently of the website’s main content. This means that they can be used to construct more complicated layouts, but if not handled correctly, they can also pose accessibility and usability concerns.

Overall, both inline frames and floating frames have unique applications in web design and development. It is critical to select the appropriate type of iframe depending on the demands of your website and to utilize them in a way that enhances rather than distracts from the user experience.

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How to use iframes on your website

How to use iframes on your website

Here are some practical examples of how you can use iframes on your website

  • Embedding a video– You can use an iframe to embed a YouTube video on your website. Simply copy the YouTube embed code and paste it into an iframe on your website.
  • Embedding a form– You can use an iframe to embed a form on your website. Simply create a form on the other website, select “Share,” and then “Embed form.” Copy the following embed code and paste it into an iframe on your website.
  • Embedding a map– You can embed map directions from Google Maps on your website. Simply go to Google Maps, search for the location you want to embed, click the “Share” button, and then choose “Embed map.” Copy the following embed code and paste it into an iframe on your website.

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Using iframes for cross-domain communication

As developers, we have all encountered cross-domain access problems while developing online apps. These challenges arise whenever the application wishes to make calls from the browser to a page hosted on a different domain.

The capacity to interact across domains is one of the most powerful characteristics of an iframe. If you embed an iframe from another domain, you can communicate between the two domains using the “postMessage” API. This can be useful for things like embedding a payment form from a third-party provider onto your website.


In summary, iframes are a powerful HTML element that allows you to embed content from one website into another. They can be used for a wide range of purposes, from embedding videos and maps to creating payment forms. If you’re looking to add dynamic content to your website without having to rebuild it from scratch, iframes are definitely worth considering.

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About the Author

Techical Research Analyst - Front End Development

As a Technical Research Analyst, Kislaya specializes in Front End Development. He is a Full Stack Developer, known for crafting scalable architectures and user-centric interfaces. He has a massive international client base and is an expert in cloud computing, Linux, and Java Script, personifying a commitment to quality and information sharing.