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news and thoughts on and around the development of the iCite net
by Jay Fienberg

When did websites become part of the web?

posted: Jun 27, 2005 6:55:38 PM

I have a question to you who know things: at what point in the history of the web did the concept of the website (and the term: website) get introduced?

I'm getting ready to post more about web idioms and different webs, and I'll be talking a bit about the concept of the website, which is a classic web idiom. It's also an important concept to explore when looking at the difference between the web idea and different webs.

So, as a little background, I remember browsing and creating a web before there were websites as we know them today—when there were just web pages. I think the term website first started being used to describe an HTTP server (e.g., like FTP site) or the root / index page on that HTTP server (which, actually, was maybe just the home page—still proceeding the concept of the website).

But, at some point, the website began to take on its web idiomatic features (that I'll describe more in an upcoming entry), such that, today, we have a relatively cultural perception and idiomatic definition of what is a website.

Anyway, I wanted to see if others remembered the web before websites, and had some memories or ideas about how and when the website came into prominence.

Also, as an interesting read, see the Wikipedia entries on World Wide Web and Website, and click through to the original WWW descriptions by Tim Berners-Lee (like this WorldWideWeb - Executive Summary from 1991)—note the absence of the term website from these early documents!

Also, looks like this is considered (by Wikipedia) as the first website—but it's still just a web page.

Also, I found The Big Fish: Ten years later, the story of, the first great website (via WaxyLinks) an interesting read in the context of looking back at the early web history. was created at a pretty early point (circa 1995) after the website had begun its evolution into a web idiom.

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