Website or Web Site – Which is Correct?

The coming of the digital age happened so quickly that English barely had time to react. English users had to invent or adapt new terms for an entire area of knowledge that sprang into being almost from nowhere.

In the ensuing confusion, many terms have not been standardized, and there are many spelling variants for certain terms. Website is one such term.

  • Is website one word?
  • It website capitalized?

When languages evolve so quickly, dictionaries, style guides, and other language authorities can lag behind common usage. The words used by the majority of English users might not reflect the prescribed usage in these books.

As we will see, that is where we stand with website.

What is the Difference Between Website and Web Site?

In this article, I will compare website vs. web site and out which term is the better choice for your writing.

After that, I will show you a helpful memory tool that you can use as a reminder of whether to use web site or website when you are writing about online content.

When to Use Website

web sites or websitesIs website one word? The word website is a noun. A website is a page or collection of pages on the Internet.

These days, most companies, governments, and organizations have websites. Even individual people have their own website sometimes, in addition to pages on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter.

Here are some usages of website in a sentence,

  • The company’s new website features sunny pictures of the main building and pictures of workers smiling in hard hats and safety goggles on the shop floor.
  • For more information, call us at the number on your screen or visit our website.
  • Facebook is testing a new tool designed to help media companies sell video advertising on their own websites, apps and other digital properties in a more automated fashion, the company said Tuesday. –The Wall Street Journal

When to Use Web Site

Define web site and define websiteIs web site two words? The term web site is an alternate form of website. It means the same thing as its single-word counterpart, and, up until recently, it was used almost often as website.

Some writers and style guides capitalize both forms, as well, forming Website and Web site.

  • Log on to our Web site for more information.

This is clearly a dated spelling.

Having this many options leads to unnecessary confusion. The following chart shows the usage of all four variants in English: web site vs. website vs. Web site vs. Website.

website versus web site

As you can see, the term is fairly new, only gaining prominence around the 1990s, coinciding with the Internet boom. The capitalized two-word form Web site was the first-word to gain widespread use and was the dominant spelling until it began to drop in popularity in the early-2000s.

Given the short history of this term and the incomplete nature of the data, this chart should not be considered scientifically accurate or exhaustive. It doesn’t take into account website or blog themselves, as it only looks at books being published.

Given the continued surge of website, it is almost certain that the one-word, un-capitalized website is going to quickly and completely outpace Web site.

Trick to Remember the Difference

Definition of web site definition and definition of website definitionAlthough Web site is used with approximate frequency as website (in books at least), it is clearly a dated spelling that is destined to die out with the continued proliferation of the Internet.

Many style manuals, The Chicago Manual of Style, The AP Stylebook, and Garner’s Modern English Usage, all recommend website, while popular dictionaries are still split on the spelling.

Since the word is so new, it isn’t surprising that multiple spellings exist because writers haven’t yet consolidated around a single, standard spelling. After all, this word was basically nonexistent 25 years ago.

Since website and webpage are each spelled as a single word with no capitalization, you can use the similarity between these terms as a reminder that website is the correct spelling variant here.

Summary

Is it website or web site? Website, website, Web site, and website are all variants of the same noun, which means a page on the Internet.

Until recently, Web site has been the preferred spelling—by a large margin (in books). This preference seem to be waning, however, and website appears to have taken over as the predominant spelling in the last 10 years.

These days, most stylebooks recommend website.

[i]
[i]