I often like to start my projects from scratch and stray away from using frameworks. HTML5 Boilerplate is a really great resource for creating a style-agnostic web project foundation; all your bases will be covered. However, it's much more than I need for a standard project, and I'd waste more time deleting what I don't need than I'd save for the convenience.

A minimal index.html file should always contain a few things, though.

Declare the document type

  • <!doctype html> - HTML5.

Define the character coding

  • <meta charset="utf-8"> - UTF8.

Define the width of the viewport

  • <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1"> Optimize for mobile and prevent zoom/horizontal scroll.
  • css/style.css and js/scripts.js are acceptable paths.

Use the latest Internet Explorer rendering mode (optional)

Basic index.html

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
    <meta charset="utf-8" />
    <meta http-equiv="x-ua-compatible" content="ie=edge" />
    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1" />

    <link rel="stylesheet" href="css/main.css" />
    <link rel="icon" href="images/favicon.png" />

    <script src="js/scripts.js"></script>