Can't see the wood for the trees




Take a gentle stroll through the Wild Windy Woods and you’ll soon come across several different spellings of website, Web site, web site, web-site, etc. There seems to be little consistency. Even a quick search of the W3C’s own site shows that seemingly even they can’t agree on its use.

Presumably WWW is a proper noun, so surely the ‘w’ should be capitalized (ie Web site or Website), but many people seem to prefer lower case (ie website, or some even web site).

As regards the space, just as I wouldn’t use Webserver/webserver, Webpage/webpage, Webhost/webhost, etc, so I feel a bit uncomfortable about using Website/website.

You may well ask, “Does it really matter?”. Well, I tend to think that in a world where standards are important then it does matter. Whilst it may not be as important as conforming to code standards, I think the use of this word should at least be consistent on pages throughout any given Web site (or should that be website, … ?). Groan.

Anyway, you get the picture. I think correct spelling of words and consistency on Web pages is important. So, what do you think (ie other than that perhaps I’m being overly pedantic)?


That doesn’t make sense. First of all, “web” describes its nature - it is like a spider web. So a web site is just a spider web. The WWW is a particular collection of spider webs - it is the collection of spider webs accessible over the Internet. You seem to be saying that since F.B.I. is capitalized we should always capitalize the word “federal” in the term “federal agent”. Not all federal agents are part of the F.B.I.

Can one call an FTP site an “ftpsite” ? Or an IRC server an “ircserver” ? People will tend to compound words unless it seems unnatural to do so such as the case of acronyms and abbreviations.

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Thanks for your reponse.

Agreed, a generic site on any old spider’s web would be a web site, or website, but surely a site that is specifically on the WWW is a Website, or Web site. Yes, “web” describes its nature, but surely when one refers to the World Wide Web, shouldn’t one use Web, rather than web? Does it not then follow that a site on the Web is a Website, rather than a website (or web site)?

Certainly in natural languages words are sometimes concatenated to create new ones, or abbreviated and clearly English evolves with the usage of new words as they spring up. However, wouldn’t you agree that most people think it makes sense to follow a spelling convention? What I’m tying to establish here is what that convention is (or should be) in this particular case.

Are you saying that it really doesn’t matter and people should just use whatever they want to? Don’t you think an agreed convention would better? At least, do you not think it should be used consistently?


What about a website that’s not on the Web?

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Well, presumably a generic site on any old spider’s web is either a web site, web-site or website. Looking around on the Web, the consensus seems to be either web site or website, perhaps weighted more towards website. BTW - Are we having a webdiscussion here? There are code standards and conventions for machine languages, so why not a webconvention or webstandard for the word(s) used to describe (a) site(s) on the Web? I still think the Devil’s Advocate would argue in favour (or should that be favor) of consistency, whatever the convention. I don’t see any evidence that chaos serves any good purpose, except to provide pedants like me with light entertainment. Or, pehraps becorse un-like macheens wee cun handel variationz witth eese wee shood contineu as wee r. Meanwhile, I suppose I’d better make sure that it’s consistently spelt website on my sites before any of you start throwing stones.


Hey, language develops, and the more frequently words and phrases are used, the faster they evolve.

What I was implying though, was that private sites on intranets (vs. the Internet), might not be considered WWW sites.

IIRC, things were originally called WWW sites and WWW servers, etc.

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As the Urban Dictionary proves on a daily basis. :slight_smile:



Yup, very true!

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Yep. Which is one of the reasons that English has become lingua franca and has such a vast and very rich vocabulary, unlike the French language that has its l’Académie française which vainly attempts to preserve the purity of the language.

As I implied, private sites on intranets should probably be referred to in their generic form as websites.

Given that many native English speakers appear unable/unwilling to conform to spelling and grammar conventions, I suppose it’s hardly surprising that so many variations have sprung up. Personally, I really don’t mind what evolution throws up, but just wish people would be a bit more consistent with its usage on their sites, as I think such inconsistencies together with misspellings make sites look unprofessional.

I’m as guilty as any, as I’m sure I used ‘website’ in my first site which I built back in 97 and there have surely been misspellings and typos in my sites ever since. I have experimented with other variations as I’ve come across the numerous other Web related phrases. Actually, I’ve now come back to favouring ‘website’. It’ll be interesting to see how things develop during coming years.


The Urban Dictionary is great. If you are interested in this sort of thing then you might enjoy

Now back to my trivial topic, do you generally use ‘website’? Which other Web, or computer, phrases do you think might eventually evolve into a single word? There seem to have been quite a few, such as ‘backup’, ‘online’, etc.


Thanks for the link, and I apologize for wandering “off topic” :wink: .

I always used to use “Web site”, but I admit that for the last few years I have been slipping into using “website” more often than not.

“backup”, “online”, “email”, etc. are also steadily creeping into my usage patterns.



This entire thread is probably “of topic”. I’m kind of surprised - but glad - that it hasn’t been moved.

Well that’s interesting. I’d noticed the increased usage of “email”, but meanwhile been doggedly persisting with “e-mail”. Sometimes I’ve used “e-Mail” at the beginning of a sentence, as I think it looks a bit odd beginning a line in lower case, particularly under a line beginning “Tel”. I expect I’ll eventually succumb and switch to using “email”.

Perhaps it’s all the time spent battling with syntax, validating code, etc that makes one so pernickety. If, like me, you stemomies get you tierd of cnshiag lterets aornud, try tihs one: