English can be a somewhat confusing language, no more so when trying to work out what preposition to use, particularly when so many of them seem similar. On this page, we will discuss the correct preposition to use alongside ‘the website’.
Is It ‘In The Website’ or ‘On The Website’?
If you are browsing a website, you will likely use the term ‘on the website’. If you are looking at something possessed by the website, you would use ‘in the website’ e.g. ‘in the website’s code’ or ‘in the website’s menu’.
People assume it can be ‘in’ and ‘on’ here because both of these prepositions relate to place. They struggle to wrap their heads around why it can be one and not the other. There isn’t really any reason behind it. The concept of websites is a fairly new thing (springing up in the 90s), and somebody decided to go with ‘on the website,’ and that was that.
The only time you should be using ‘in the website’ is if you are discussing something possessed by the website or if you are going through the file directory of a site. If you are merely browsing a site, then it is always ‘on’.
‘In the website’ and ‘on the website’ cannot be used interchangeably.
To further demonstrate how ‘in the website’ is rarely the correct usage, you can look at Google Ngram Viewer. This shows that ‘in the website’ is barely ever used by people. So, if you are ever talking about something related to using a website, try to use ‘on the website’ if you are unsure what to use. Most of the time, you will be correct.
In The Website
‘In the website’ is a phrase that barely gets any use. It is often used when discussing file directories on a site or perhaps components of a website, e.g., the menu of the site. If you are generally browsing a site, this is unlikely to be a phrase you would use.
You are ‘on’ the website when you are at a website. You aren’t diving deep inside of the site (i.e., the website’s code). Think of it as similar to in/on the sea. You are ‘on’ the sea if you are on a boat. You would be ‘in’ the sea if you dived under the water.
You can use ‘in the website’ if you are discussing something ‘on’ the site but possessed by the site e.g., a site menu or footer.
To demonstrate what we mean, here are a few examples that will show you how ‘in the website’ can work in a sentence:
- PHP was written in the website’s code
- You can find it in the website’s navigational menu.
- There was a change in the website’s code.
- There was a new developer in the website’s team.
- There were ads in the footer of the website.
On The Website
In almost all cases, ‘on’ is the preposition you should use when you are on a website. So, ‘on the website’ means that you are navigating a website or interacting with it. If you read something on a site, then that text is ‘on the website.’
The phrase ‘on the website’ means that something is literally ‘on’ a website. No deep dives into menus or the site’s code. If you are navigating a website or something is located on a site, then you will always use the term ‘on the website.’. This means ads will be on a website. It means content will be on a website. It means a contact form will be on a website.
Here are some more examples of how to use ‘on the website’ in a sentence:
- I am on the website.
- Go on the website if you want to find the latest football scores.
- There are ads on the website.
- There is a contact form on the website.
- He told me to go on the website.
What Other Prepositions Can Be Used With ‘The Website’?
‘On’ and ‘In’ are not the only prepositions that can be used with ‘the website.’. Let’s take a look at a couple more of them. This means telling you how ‘at the website’ and ‘to the website’ work.
At The Website
‘At the website’ is sometimes used when you are guiding somebody towards a website, i.e., telling them that is where you can find something specific (e.g., a product or contact form) or sharing the URL. You may find the phrase used in advertisements.
‘At the website’ can often be substituted for ‘on the website’. In most cases, the latter term is the preferred one, so try to use that wherever possible.
Here are a few examples so that you can see how ‘at the website’ can work in a sentence.
- You can find the contact form at the website
- You can search Google at the website URL www.google.com
To The Website
‘To the website’ is a phrase that can be used when you are guiding somebody toward a site, e.g., ‘head to the website’ or ‘head to the website’s URL at…’ The term is very infrequently used, with most people preferring ‘on’ as the preposition.
Here are some examples of how to use ‘to the website’ in a sentence:
- Head to the website today
- Head to the website at www.google.com.
You may also like: Search “In Google” or “On Google”? (What To Say Instead)
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.