Should “Web” be capitalized?

By on October 1, 2002

Should the word “Web,” as in “World Wide Web” be capitalized? Is it common enough to be “web,” or should it be “Web” because it’s a shortened version of the proper noun “World Wide Web.” I’m collecting opinions on the subject, and I’ll add them here whenever I find them.

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Comments

  1. Deane says:

    Looking in the refer logs, we get a LOT of traffic to this article from people searching for information on this topic. I looked over this, and it's just excerpts, so I want to add another two cents here (and perhaps the most obvious):

    "Web" is a proper noun. It's a shortened form of "World Wide Web." Like "Internet" is a proper noun, but "net" just refers to a general network. Same concept. "Web" is refering to something specific.

    As for "Web site" being one word or two...I say two. Why? Just looks better to me.

  2. Vikram Tayde says:

    Out of the four ways in which it can be written, I think, 'web site' is definitely wrong because 'Web' being a proper noun (standing for World Wide Web or WWW), the 'W' needs to be capitalized. So, if it's two words, it has to be 'Web site'. Continuing with closed forms like homepage, online, and printout, 'Website' seems to be accepted more and more every new day. But I think the real fight is between 'Web site' and our fourth contender, 'website', as people argue that 'website' not being a proper noun, the 'w' need not be capitalized: like in "Sun being a star". So, is 'website' a common noun? Not yet, at least. So, for the time being, we can stick to using 'Web site' which seems to be the most correct form... :)

  3. Deane says:

    That's a good page. For the record, it's split between "Web site" and "website." I still maintain that "Web" is short for "World Wide Web," a proper noun, hence the capitlization.

  4. Alexis says:

    Check out this WordBiz.com page where 65 percent of the readers voted for website and 35 percent for Web site. The vote is still open though...

    http://www.wordbiz.com/newsletter/websitespelling.html

  5. Chad says:

    I view the word "website" in the same way I view the words "address" and "location."

    If designing an ad for a bank. I may say 'come see us at our new location' or 'come see us at our new Roadname Rd location.' Thus it is a small step to tell customers to 'find additional information on our website.'

    I suppose others could use the same argument to say that capitalizing "Roadname" means we should split "Web" and "site."

    I find it funny that some use both "Web site" and "website" in the same ad; so that their site is a "Web site" but competitors only have "websites" in the same way that that Bible translations differentiate between "God" and "gods." More than a little pretentious dontchathink?

  6. I capitalize the following on my website: Web, Intranet and Internet. It is reassuring to find that at least capitalizing Web is correct.

    -- http://www.capehostpro.com

  7. Another good gauge of what is most suitable is a Google search using quotes. Searching for "website" results in 1.15 billion pages, while "web site" results in "only" 927 million. Unfortunately, I haven't figured out a way to get Google to differentiate between "Internet" and "internet."

  8. Josh says:

    I don't think anyone will argue that the Web should be capitalized. However, a "website" is just a "site" on the Web. As a comparison, do we capitalize sunspot? Of course not. A sunspot, while a spot on the Sun, is not a proper noun and should not be capitalized. Another example is earthling. This is a habitant of the Earth and is not capitalized. Similarly, a website may be part of the Web, but it is not a proper noun itself.

  9. Alec says:

    Josh, I think you've got that spot-on (pardon the pun)!

  10. Ross says:

    Sorry, but I don't see why "Web" should be capitalized. If you say "World Wide Web," then that is a title, a proper name. Web is a subset of that title and doesn't need the caps treatment. We don't capitalize "Radio", "Televsion", "Phone Book", what makes "Web" any different.

  11. Matt says:

    I'm with Josh, but there's no arguing with the powers that be--my department's public information officer has a fit every time I write website...

  12. Alex says:

    I think website is best....

    But, if we agree that Web should be capitalized, does this mean it should be capitalized EVERY time that word is paired with another word, as long as it is referring to the World Wide Web (Web design, Web presence, Web world, Web tracking, etc.)?

    Or should they be web design, web presence, etc?

  13. Lisa says:

    I just ran accross Web-based on a web page I'm fixing some web content on and figured I would look up the use of the capital W for web. I love this little web blog because it spans nearly 8 years and I'm wondering if you're all on facebook.

    Anyway, I thought I would add what I found on wikipedia.

    A website (also spelled Web site[1]; officially styled website by the AP Stylebook) is a collection of related web pages, images, videos or other digital assets that are addressed relative to a common Uniform Resource Locator (URL), often consisting of only the domain name, or the IP address, and the root path ('/') in an Internet Protocol-based network. A web site is hosted on at least one web server, accessible via a network such as the Internet or a private local area network.

  14. I don't think it matters what we think personally, it depends on what standards are being followed. This issue is very tedious and there should be a more "official" guideline for spelling these words. Hopefully in the future a common standard will be defined, although it's not very realistic looking at the IT world today.

  15. When referring to the World Wide Web consortium, Web should be capitalized. However, when referring to web design, web page, website (web site), web presence, etc, the word web is not a proper name but just a noun and does not need capitalization.

    As in:

    I just passed by the white house. Verus... I just passed by the White House.

  16. badkungfu says:

    Lots of great opinions here, but no definitive answers. :) Everyone seems to agree that "World Wide Web" should be capitalized, and as for myself, anytime I talk about "the Web" or "Web-based", I capitalize. I do prefer "website", though. The term "web site" seems to imply a location where Web things happen- a la "construction site".

    There are many "intranets" and "networks" but only one "Internet"- a specific, global communication network- and one "Web"- a specific network of public, interlinked HTTP pages.

    Seeking guidance from above, I looked up the NY Times grammar blog's FAQs: http://topics.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/04/13/faqs-on-style/

    Alas, there is no specific answer to my question, but I do notice that they used "Web-oriented" and capitalize "Web" in all cases- although, it's always "the Web".

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