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Why is 'index.html' the Default Name for HTML Homepages?

Why people name index html when creating the homepage of website?  In fact, there's a world of alternatives waiting to be explored, like 'main.html,' 'home.html,' or even 'homepage.html.'

The best filename for naming homepages in HTML is typically "index.html" because web servers are configured by default to recognize and serve "index.html" as the default landing page when a user accesses a directory. This convention ensures that your website's homepage is automatically displayed when someone visits your site without specifying a specific page in the URL.

There's a curious and persistent naming convention that often piques the curiosity of newcomers: 'index.html.' This unassuming name carries a significant role in the world of the web. But have you ever wondered why 'index.html' is the default filename for web homepages? Let's delve into this fascinating piece of web history.

The Roots of the Convention

The practice of naming the homepage 'index.html' dates back to the early days of the World Wide Web. In those nascent times, web servers needed a standard way to identify the main page of a website. 'Index.html' was chosen as the default name for a few practical reasons.

1. Historical Significance

The term 'index' has a historical significance in the context of libraries and directories. An 'index' typically serves as a guide or a starting point. On the web, the homepage, or 'index,' performs a similar function—it's the gateway to the rest of the site.

2. Default Filename

Web servers needed a consistent name for the default page when a visitor accessed a website without specifying a particular page. By designating 'index.html' as the default, servers could reliably serve the homepage.

3. Compatibility

In the early days of the web, various web server software and operating systems had different conventions for default filenames. By standardizing on 'index.html,' web developers ensured cross-compatibility.

Read more: Learning Coding on W3School or Udemy?

Persistence in Modern Times

Surprisingly, despite the evolution of web technologies and standards, the 'index.html' convention has endured. It's not just a relic of the past; it's still widely used today. Many web servers automatically look for 'index.html' as the default page when a user navigates to a directory.

Variations and Alternatives

While 'index.html' is the most recognized default homepage, there are variations based on server configurations and technologies. For example, 'index.htm,' 'default.html,' and 'home.html' are among the alternative default filenames you might encounter.


So, the next time you see 'index.html' as the homepage of a website, you'll understand the historical significance and practical reasons behind the name. It's a small but enduring piece of web development lore, a testament to the web's history and its commitment to user-friendliness.

While modern websites can have intricate backends and dynamic content, it's always fascinating to peek into the origins of web conventions like this one. 'Index.html' is a digital time capsule, a reminder of the web's humble beginnings, and a testament to its ongoing evolution."

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