Skip to main content

CSS Versions and Browser Support

As web technology has evolved, so has CSS. Different versions of CSS offer new features and capabilities, but it's crucial to consider browser support when using these features. In this tutorial, you will learn about CSS versions and browser support, along with simple explanations and sample code to help you ensure compatibility in your web projects.

CSS versions

Cascading Style Sheets has gone through several versions, each introducing new features and improvements:

  • CSS1: The first version of CSS, released in 1996, focused on basic styling capabilities such as fonts, colors, and margins.
  • CSS2: Released in 1998, CSS2 expanded on CSS1, introducing features like positioning, z-index, and table layout control.
  • CSS2.1: An update to CSS2, CSS2.1 was released in 2004 and fixed several issues, providing more clarity on the specification.
  • CSS3: The latest version of CSS, CSS3, is modular and introduces many new features like animations, transitions, and media queries. CSS3 is still under development, with individual modules being released as they are completed.

Browser support

Most modern browsers support CSS3 features, but some older browsers may have limited or no support for certain features. This can lead to inconsistent appearance and functionality across different browsers.

To check browser support for specific CSS features, you can use resources like Can I use or the MDN Web Docs.

Ensuring browser compatibility

When using advanced CSS features, it's essential to ensure compatibility with as many browsers as possible. Here are some techniques to help you achieve this:

  • Use vendor prefixes: Some CSS properties may require browser-specific prefixes to work correctly. You can add these prefixes to your CSS code to ensure support in different browsers. For example:
/* Apply a linear gradient background with vendor prefixes */
button {
background: -webkit-linear-gradient(top, red, blue); /* For Safari 5.1 to 6.0 */
background: -o-linear-gradient(top, red, blue); /* For Opera 11.1 to 12.0 */
background: -moz-linear-gradient(top, red, blue); /* For Firefox 3.6 to 15 */
background: linear-gradient(to bottom, red, blue); /* Standard syntax */
  • Use feature detection: Use JavaScript libraries like Modernizr to detect whether a browser supports specific CSS features. Based on the detection, you can provide alternative styles or functionality for unsupported browsers.

  • Use CSS fallbacks: Provide fallback styles for older browsers that do not support certain CSS features. This ensures that your content remains accessible and visually appealing even in older browsers. For example:

/* Fallback background color for browsers that don't support gradients */
button {
background-color: blue;
background: linear-gradient(to bottom, red, blue);


In this tutorial, you learned about CSS versions, browser support, and how to ensure compatibility in your web projects. With this knowledge, you can create websites that look and function consistently across various browsers, providing a better user experience for your audience.