Does a website exist if nobody visits it?

You’ve no doubt heard the philosophical question, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”, to which the answer is, “Yes of course!” unless you’re heavily into Buddhist or Hindu philosophy, in which case causality flies out of the window and anything can happen.

More interesting is the supplementary question, “If a man speaks in a forest and there’s no woman around to hear him, is he still wrong?”

But I’m not going to answer that. Instead, here I’m posing the question, “Does a website exist if nobody visits it?”

You may be surprised to find out that the answer is “No!”

That’s because a website isn’t a thing, it’s more like a conversation. When you fire up your web browser (Internet Explorer / Google Chrome / Safari, etc) and type in the address of a web page, the browser looks up the address of the website and sends a request to the server that runs the site. The webserver then responds to the request by sending the HTML code that defines the web page and the web browser displays it on your screen.

The website isn’t waiting to be visited – it comes into existence when somebody visits it. So if nobody visits your web site, it simply doesn’t exist. Please help my blog to exist by visiting often!

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