Idrottslaget Hødd was founded on 1 August 1919. The name derives from Höðr, which was a gifted archer in Norse mythology, and means “battle” or “fight”. Before the Second World War, the football team was not competitive with the two big clubs in the region, Rollon and Aalesund. Hødd was first promoted to the Landsdelserien (second tier) in 1950, and was close on promotion to Hovedserien in both the 1951–52 season and the 1958–59 season, but lost the promotion in the play-off against Ranheim and Brage respectively. Hødd also reached the third round of the Norwegian Football Cup on several occasions during the 1950s, where they were eliminated by first-tier teams.
Hødd was promoted to the 1. divisjon for the first time in the 1965 season when they won their 2. divisjon group ahead of Rosenborg and Brann on goal difference, after Rosenborg lost 2–1 against Brann in the decisive match while Hødd won 8–2 against Kvik Trondheim on Lerkendal Stadion. With Kjetil Hasund as the most notable star on the small team from a small place in the outskirts of Norway, the national media predicted that Hødd would relegated in its first season in the top-flight. The pundits were right and Hødd were relegated from the 1966 1. divisjon, but the team performed well and was only one point short of avoiding relegation. All the players stayed at the club after the relegation, and were again promoted to the top-flight in the 1968 season.
When Hødd was back in the 1. divisjon, the team had learned its lesson and for the next three season the team had a miraculous ability to avoid relegation. As favourites to be relegated, Hødd won 3–1 against Sarpsborg in the last match of the 1969 season while Start won 2–0 against Lyn. These results saved Hødd from relegation as they finished level on points but with better goal difference then Start and Lyn, who were relegated. That Lyn was relegated was quite a surprise, as the team had won the double in the previous season and played the quarterfinal of the 1968–69 European Cup Winners’ Cup against Barcelona. Hødd reached the quarter-final of the Norwegian Football Cup for the first time in 1969, where they lost 1–3 against Fredrikstad. The next season, Hødd again avoided relegation with better goal difference then the relegated team, after Hødd won 6–0 against Pors while Skeid lost 1–0 against Strømsgodset in the decisive match, and Skeid was relegated. In the 1971 season, Hødd won 5–0 against Frigg in the penultimate match and avoided relegation two points ahead of Frigg. After four seasons in the first-tier league, Hødd were relegated in 1972.After playing in the 2. divisjon in the 1970s, Hødd were relegated in the 1980 season and were playing at the third tier for the first time since 1964. With Terje Skarsfjord as head coach the team won promotion to the 2. divisjon and reached the quarterfinal of the 1981 Norwegian Football Cup. The third-tier team met the defending Norwegian Football Cup champions Vålerenga in the quarterfinal at Høddvoll, and Hødd scored the first goal before Vålerenga turned the match into a 2–1 victory. The match was watched by 12,300 spectators, which is the club’s record attendance. Jan Åge Fjørtoft and Børre Meinseth had their breakthrough in the 1985 season, but Hødd were relegated in 1987 and were playing at the third tier in 1988 and finished behind the local team Hareid before Hødd won promotion to the second tier the next season.Hødd reached the quarter-final of the 1994, where they lost 3–5 after extra time against Lyn, and won the 1994 1. divisjon and was promoted to Tippeligaen with Erik Brakstad as head coach. Hødd eliminating the defending Norwegian Cup winners Molde in the fourth round of the 1995 Norwegian Football Cup with 2–0 at home after goals from Tommy Sylte. The team went on to reach the semi-final where they lost 7–1 on aggregate against Rosenborg after losing 5–0 in the first leg at home. The team was however relegated after only one season, as they finished 12th in the 1995 Tippeligaen. With the exception of 2000, Hødd played in the 1. divisjon until 2006 when the club was relegated to the 2. divisjon, and is the club with the most seasons at the second tier since 1963. Hødd hired Sture Fladmark, who won Tippeligaen coach of the year in 2002, as the new head coach ahead of the 2007 season, to win promotion back to the 1. divisjon. Hødd won promotion to the First Division in 2007, and started the 2008 season with a win against Sarpsborg Sparta before the team collected six points in the next 16 matches. With nine points and seven losses in a row Hødd fired Fladmark in August 2008.
Einar Magne Skede and Lars Arne Nilsen replaced Fladmark, but could not prevent the team from relegation. Skede and Nilsen continued as head coaches in 2009, when Hødd finished third in the 2. divisjon, before Nilsen continued as the sole head coach in 2010 when the team won promotion to the 1. divisjon. The newly promoted team impressed in the 2011 season, and managed to go 29 matches without losing until they lost away against Sandefjord on 22 May 2011. Hødd was positioned at second place half-way through the season, before finishing the season at eighth place.
The next season did not start as good, and after eight matches Hødd had three points with 21 conceded goals, before they went unbeaten for the next six league-games. Hødd remained in the relegation-zone throughout the season and avoided relegation with better goal difference then Tromsdalen.
In 2012, Hødd won its first Norwegian Football Cup. The feat was according to pundit Arne Scheie the biggest upset in the history of the Norwegian Cup, as Hødd was a second-tier team who had in fact been fighting against relegation up until the last round in the league. Despite their troubles in 1. divisjon, Hødd defeated the first-tier teams Haugesund and Brann, qualifying them to their first ever cup final. Their opponent in the final was Tromsø, who finished fourth in Tippeligaen. After regular time, the score was 1–1, and no goals were scored in extra time. In the penalty shoot-out, Hødd won 4–2. Ørjan Nyland was named man of the match, while Fredrik Aursnes became the youngest ever Norwegian Cup winner aged 16 years and 351 days.
Hødd failed to defend the Norwegian Cup title, as the team was eliminated by the defending Tippeligaen winners Molde in the third round of the 2013 Norwegian Football Cup, after a penalty shoot-out where Hødd’s former goalkeeper Ørjan Nyland, who had transferred to Molde after the previous season, saved two penalties. As a result of the Norwegian Cup win, Hødd qualified for the first time in a European competition, Europa League. They debuted with a 1–0 victory at home against Aktobe, but the European adventure ended after a 2–0 loss in the second leg.