View Full Version : Why do we call them websites anyway?
05-08-2007, 12:07 AM
I'm starting to write a blog post about the language of the web, and I'm wondering if anyone knows the background to "website".
How/why did "site" become accepted instead of some other word?
When I use my English / Norwegian dictionary, there is no translation of site to Norwegian. By the way, page = side in Norwegian, so it is very easy to confuse site with side, since both are used in Norwegian, that is site about a domain and side about a page.
According to "The concise Oxford Dictionary" site is given the following meaning
The ground chosen or used for a town or building.
A place where some activity is or has been conducted (camping site, launching site).
I think of a site or a web domain as eProperty, and then the above defintions give meaning to the word.
Search Wikipedia. (http://www.wikipedia.org/) I get 447746 results, where the first is:
"A site is the location of an event, structure, object, or other thing, whether actual, virtual, abandoned (eg. an archaeological site), extant, or planned".
that is also meaningful.
An internet site is the location of your ePropery.
05-09-2007, 01:34 AM
I'm wondering why "site" was chosen, instead of any one of a number of other terms that indicate location, or containment into an area. For example, "webplace" would have worked just as well.
I've looked in Wikipedia, W3C and Tim Berners-Lee's pages and haven't found anything about the origin of the word.
Perhaps it was just an arbitrary choice of terminology that stuck; perhaps the origin lies in the earlier history of the Internet.
05-09-2007, 02:46 AM
Perhaps it was just an arbitrary choice of terminology that stuck
I agree here.
05-09-2007, 06:59 AM
I think I've got the answer, courtesy of Myridon at Wordorigins.org
Apparently it's in the military origins of the Internet and use of "site" to describe an installation, e.g. "missile site". Each place on ARPANET with a computer was considered a site.
Here's my post at Wordorigins with the full reply (http://www.wordorigins.org/index.php/forums/viewthread/207/).
05-09-2007, 12:20 PM
You'd be correct in the last. Installations are still called "sites" and at the time of ARPANET, a site, or server location, was a very important thing.
Also consider the fact that in the beginning of this thing, there were people who knew the IP address for every computer on the Internet, and where that machine was physically located.