Is there a convention for the spelling of the name of the main page of a website? Should it be home page, with a space between the two words; or homepage, all one word?
closed as general reference by MετάEd, kiamlaluno, Matt Эллен, tchrist, Kristina Lopez Apr 23 '13 at 17:36
This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.
"Home page" was used first, but "homepage" followed soon after, is also acceptable and I prefer.
These style guides use homepage:
These style guides use home page:
(More style guides here.)
The OED has home page from August 1993, and homepage from 1997, however I found homepage in Usenet as early as July 1993.
The first uses both homepage and home page in the same paragraph.
12th July 1993 - sci.astro.hubble - "NASA's Project STELAR announces WWW server for public access" - Archie Warnock:
The next, from the next day, uses Homepage.html as a filename and also as a standalone noun.
13th July 1993 - comp.infosystems.www - "A possible feature for WWW Options" - Jonathan B. Marder:
Home page can also be antedated in Usenet. The earliest computing use I found is in reference to HyperCard. According to Wikipedia:
18th March 1991 - rec.radio.amateur.misc - "Hypercard HamStack Articles Part 2 of 8" - Diana L. Syriac:
The first WWW use I found is from the following year.
Home page vs homepage falls into the same category as website and Web site as well as motor home and motorhome. Originally, the words homepage, website, and motorhome did not exist, but after so much usage over the years it has become acceptable to combine the two words into one.
In other words, either way is fine.
The poster mentions Merriam-Webster's in a comment responding to Hugo's excellent answer:
I should note first that MW lists words as it finds them: When compiling and updating a dictionary for publication, it identifies what it perceives to be the preponderant spelling of a particular word among the published sources it has collected that use the term; subsequently it alters that spelling to match reality if conditions change in the wild world of actual usage. So while it may be authoritative in some sense, MW isn't committed to a particular spelling when popular usage goes a different way.
To my knowledge, home page debuts in the 1999 printing of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition; it doesn't appear in the 1997 printing of the same edition. In 1999, most publications (including the computer magazines where I work) used the two-word spelling. More recently, however, homepage has become increasingly common. Our magazines made the switch from home page to homepage within the past two years—and we are by no means early adopters of streamlined spellings of technology terms.
Elsewhere, the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition (2000) gives the spelling as "homepage or home page," with the closed-up spelling in the position of precedence.
I'll be surprised if the next edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (the Twelfth) doesn't include both home page and homepage as common alternative spellings. And in the long run, as people grow accustomed to seeing (and instantly recognizing the meaning of) the character string homepage, I expect the closed-up spelling to push the two-word spelling toward obsolescence.