Is it Website or Web Site?
The two different spellings of “website” and “web site” are both commonly used in professional content and amateur scribings alike but surely one of them is correct and the other is less so? Which is the right one then? With the unprecedented access to publishing that the common person now has, it turns out that it’s not an easy question to answer. But we tried anyway.
Test 1 – What are the Google search results for each?
Using the number of Google search results as validation of a spelling is a bit like “Ask the Audience” on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, often the majority will correctly know the answer and point you to the win. Sometimes however, they are all under the same misunderstanding and following them leaves you looking stupid in front of millions of viewers . We decided to test anyway.
“Website” – 1,100,000,000 results in Google
Over a billion websites reference the spelling “website”. That’s a pretty compelling number. If each one of those pages had been created by a single human, it would be representative of just under 1/6 of the earth’s population, and just under the earth’s estimated 1,733,993,741 internet users.
“Web site” – 340,000,000 results in Google
Okay, it’s quite a lot less than “website” but still when you’re in the hundreds of millions surely there’s reason to question whether we’re in fact spelling it correctly?
(Note that we used quotation marks when searching for the phrase because we only wanted results with the words “web” and “site” in that order and with no other words in-between.)
Test 2 – What does Wikipedia say?
Wikipedia doesn’t help much. It states both as being correct in the first line and then, to prove it, goes ahead to use both within the one article. Is that because of the different views of the collaborators, or because one writer wanted to make a point?
The pages of a website can usually be accessed from a simple Uniform Resource Locator called the homepage
Hmmn, still not clear.
Test 3 – What does the Dictionary say?
Maybe we need big brother to tell us the right answer. We checked the most common dictionaries to get an unbiased spread of results:
At last a conclusive result. “Website” not found.
Er, well why reference it in the results for “web site” then?
Oxford English Dictionary
As expected from the grand-daddy of dictionaries, there’s no wishy washiness here. Oxford English Dictionary says NO for “web site”…
..and YES for “website”
Merriam Websters wasn’t so sure and said that both are accurate.
Well the dictionaries haven’t been that conclusive after all. With each offering a different opinion, I’m still no closer to knowing which is the correct spelling.
Test 4 – Feedback from YOU!
Since popularly used new phrases make it into the dictionary every year for exactly that reason, i.e. because they are popular, shouldn’t you be the ones to decide what the correct spelling is? Now some might cite the addition of “threequel” as the perfect reason why we need a big brother choosing correct language for us but as far as I’m concerned, if you choose to put “muggle” in the Oxford Dictionary, you can make a simple decision over how to spell website.
So which is it? Please let me know.