The correct spelling is website. Here’s why:

  • Evolution of Language: Language and technology evolve. “Web site” was the original spelling, but it has gradually given way to the single-word “website.”
  • Authority and Consistency: All major style guides (The Chicago Manual of Style, AP Stylebook, etc.) and dictionaries (Merriam-Webster, Oxford) now list “website” as the standard form.
  • Common Usage: “Website” is overwhelmingly more common in everyday and professional writing.

Is “Web site” ever correct?

While not the preferred spelling, “Web site” isn’t technically incorrect. Some very old-fashioned style guides or individuals may still use it.  If you are in a situation where the two-word version is specifically required (such as a niche publication), you’d need to comply, but in general, “website” is the safe choice.

The Historical Evolution of “Web Site” vs. “Website”

The early days of the Web: In the nascent years of the World Wide Web, the Internet was a wild and untamed frontier.  Technical terms were often fluid and open to interpretation, and “web site” emerged as the initial favored spelling to describe a collection of interlinked pages on the web. This two-word structure mirrored established phrases like “web page” and likely emphasized the concept of a website as a distinct “place” on the digital landscape.

Compound words in tech:  The evolution from “web site” to “website” follows a familiar pattern in the ever-changing world of technology. Consider how terms like “electronic mail” transitioned to the universally accepted “email” or how “homepage” gained widespread recognition. Just as these compound words fused into single terms for clarity and convenience, “website” rose in prominence.

The shift toward “website”:  While pinpointing the exact moment this transformation began is tricky, by the early 2000s, “website” started noticeably dominating in written text. Several factors likely contributed to this shift:

  • Ease of use: The single-word “website” is simply easier to type and read. This practical advantage played a significant role in its widespread adoption.
  • Linguistic evolution: Language is constantly evolving, and the compounding of frequently used terms is a natural phenomenon.
  • Growing familiarity: As the web became an integral part of daily life, the concept of a website needed less emphasis as a distinct “site” or “location.”

Authoritative Recommendations and Style Guides

Major style guides: When it comes to language rules and best practices, major style guides are the ultimate authorities. Both the Chicago Manual of Style and the AP Stylebook—trusted resources for writers and editors worldwide—officially endorse the use of “website.” This consistent guidance has helped solidify “website” as the standard spelling.

Dictionaries:  If style guides are the grammar referees, then dictionaries are the scorekeepers. Leading dictionaries like Merriam-Webster and Oxford English Dictionary have long recognized “website” as the primary spelling. Interestingly, some dictionaries may still list “web site” as an alternative but often indicate its declining usage.

The importance of consistency: While the occasional “web site” likely won’t raise many eyebrows, consistency is crucial for clear and professional communication. Whether you’re writing articles, crafting marketing materials, or developing website content, sticking to the widely accepted “website” spelling maintains a polished and cohesive style. Here’s why consistency matters:

  • Clarity: Inconsistent spelling can confuse readers, especially if both versions appear in a single piece of content.
  • Professionalism: Maintaining consistent spelling reflects attention to detail and demonstrates a grasp of current language standards.
  • Search optimization: While there’s no evidence that search engines penalize the use of “web site,” using the more common spelling can ensure your content aligns with how the majority of people search for web-related information.

Note: Some specialized technical publications or those adhering to older style guides might still use “web site.” It’s best to check with the specific publication for guidance in such cases.

Practical Usage Scenarios

Professional writing: Understanding how to use “website” correctly is essential for various types of professional writing:

  • Journalism: News outlets and publications generally abide by the AP Stylebook, making “website” the standard choice.
  • Academia: Scholarly papers and research materials often follow the Chicago Manual of Style or other academic style guides favoring “website.”
  • Business & Marketing: From company websites to marketing collateral, consistent spelling demonstrates professionalism and helps maintain a polished brand image.

Website domains: One area where you’ll always see “website” is in domain names (e.g., Domain names are part of the URL (Uniform Resource Locator), which is the address used to access a website. This technical requirement reinforces the dominance of single-word spelling.

Search engine optimization (SEO): A common question is whether the choice between “website” and “web site” affects a website’s ranking in search results. Search engines like Google are sophisticated enough to recognize both variations as referring to the same concept. Therefore, the spelling itself is unlikely to have a direct impact on SEO. However, focusing on creating high-quality, relevant content remains the best strategy for search engine success.

Branding and marketing: When creating marketing materials, aligning your website’s domain name with how you spell “website” in your content is recommended. This seamless presentation reinforces brand consistency and avoids any potential confusion for your audience.

Beyond the Basics: The Nuances of Web Terminology

Webpage vs. website: While the terms are sometimes used interchangeably in casual conversation, there’s a crucial distinction between a webpage and a website.

  • Webpage: A single document within a website, accessible by a unique URL. Think of it as a page in a book.
  • Website: A collection of related webpages hosted under a single domain name. The entire book, so to speak!

Understanding this difference can be especially helpful when discussing website navigation or for someone beginning to learn web design and development concepts.

Web server: Behind every website resides a powerful computer known as a web server. It’s responsible for storing the files that make up your website (HTML, images, etc.) and delivering them to visitors’ browsers upon request. While not directly related to the spelling debate, the concept of a web server illustrates the intricate technology supporting a website’s existence.

Other related terms: The world of the web is filled with a rich vocabulary. Here’s a quick introduction to some essential terms that often go hand-in-hand with discussions about websites:

  • Web browser: Software (like Chrome, Firefox, or Safari) that allows you to access and view websites.
  • URL (Uniform Resource Locator): The address of a website or a specific webpage.
  • HTML (Hypertext Markup Language): The standard coding language used to structure web pages.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Is “Web site” ever correct?

A: Technically, some older style guides or specialized publications might still accept “web site” as an alternative spelling. However, for the vast majority of modern writing, “website” is the standard and recommended choice.

Q: Does the spelling matter for my website’s success?

A: While using “web site” won’t necessarily break your website, it can signal a lack of awareness of current web conventions. Sticking with “website” ensures your content aligns with how most people understand and search for web-related information.

Q: What about other languages?

A:  Interestingly, the way “website” is translated and potentially combined into a single word varies across different languages. Some languages may have a direct equivalent to the single-word “website,” while others might maintain a separation between the two concepts.  This highlights the way language adapts alongside technology around the world.

Q:  Where can I find reliable information about current grammar and word usage?

A: Several resources offer up-to-date guidance:


The evolution of “web site” to “website” serves as a powerful reminder that language, like the technology it describes, is constantly changing.  While you might occasionally stumble across the older two-word version, “website” is now firmly established as the clear standard. By using the preferred spelling, you demonstrate your understanding of current web terminology and ensure your communication remains clear and professional.