log on - log in

Quique

New Member
Spain - Spanish
Hi,

I was reading some user documentation on a website and came across with some registration instructions talking about the user "log-on name".

I always thought the correct way was "log in" (log-in perhaps) but when I looked it up into the dictionary I saw they seem to be exactly the same.

Is there any difference in use?
Would you prefer one to the other?
Any nuance to mention?

Cheers
 
  • elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    "Log in" designates the action through which one may gain access to a service. You "log in" with your name and user password. "Log on" indicates not only the action of logging in but also the idea of using the service. It's really hard to explain, but when you say "I logged in" that could mean that you did that and then left, whereas "I logged on" implies that you logged in and stayed.
     

    rich7

    Senior Member
    Venezuela español
    Hello guys, i have a doubt regarding computing (net) language, i've heard that when you enter your username & password in a website i.e.www.hotmail.com, you're LOGGING IN or LOGGING ON. But a friend of mine has told me that LOGON TO is a way say ACCESS TO, it means to TYPE the URL into the address bar in your browser i.e. internet explorer, mozilla, etc.
    If i want to tell a friend just TO ACCESS to a web-site (not to enter their username or password) what do i have to tell them? LOGON TO or TYPE the web-site's address?

    Can you help me please? now i'm pretty confused about it...
     

    Old Novice

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I've never heard "logon" to refer to the act of getting to a web page. People can "enter", "type" or "copy" [either by highlighting the text with the mouse on the computer or by retyping from scratch] the web page address into the address bar on the browser.

    "Log on" or "log in" refer always, in my experience, to entering a username and password, either for access to the computer itself or to a site on the web.
     

    nelliot53

    Senior Member
    Spanish-[PR]; English-[US]
    I've never heard "logon" to refer to the act of getting to a web page. People can "enter", "type" or "copy" [either by highlighting the text with the mouse on the computer or by retyping from scratch] the web page address into the address bar on the browser.

    "Log on" or "log in" refer always, in my experience, to entering a username and password, either for access to the computer itself or to a site on the web.

    Saludos. The latter has also been my experience.

    But, where does the word "log" originate in computer jargon? Or putting another way, which meaning was borrowed, and from where?

    Thanks for your clarifications.
     

    rich7

    Senior Member
    Venezuela español
    Thanks a lot. It might as well be an american usage then, just because any time people, especially on tv, say "LOGON TO ...bla bla bla..yada yada.
     

    cyberpedant

    Senior Member
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    "Log" originally (or at least earlier) referred to a book in which daily records are kept (as, "a ship's log") and by extension, to write in a log. So perhaps "log in" means that you must write your name (and/or other unformation) into the website's log.
    If you want to tell your friend to access a given website, you can say "visit" or "go to" (the website).
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Although it does seem strange, log on to www. .... is not all that unusual. And it does not always mean that you have to enter a username and password.
     

    Old Novice

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    That's what I always hear on tv, and this is why I pose the question.......
    This is a great point. TV newscasters tell you to "log on" to their website to get information, for example, which is a usage I had not thought of in my earlier post.

    My interpretation is that they are shortening two steps into one: "log on to your internet service provider" and "then go to our website". They also say "go to our website" about as often as they say "log on to our website".

    But this is at least one instance in which people do use "log on" to mean "go to" for a specific web page.
     

    KON

    Senior Member
    Hi eveyone,

    I was wondering if there is a difference between "log in" and "log on". I've heard people use them both.

    For example, you log onto facebook but you log into your bank account.

    Can "log on" and "log in" be used interchangeably?

    Thanks in advance
     

    Ms Missy

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Although I think the two terms can be used interchangeably without causing any confusion, I'm wondering if one has to log in to an account or forum where a personal password is required before accessing or viewing. Perhaps that might be a bit different than the websites that one can log on to without being a member. Usually with that type, you have to log in, after you log on if you want to participate.

    Just a thought ...
     

    KON

    Senior Member
    Thanks cycloneviv, I must have missed it. I was reading elroy's reply in that thread, which says that log in indicates one gaining access to a service, while log on indicates gaining access to a service and also using it.

    When I clicked on "reply" to reply to your thread, a message appeared saying "thank you for logging in KON". I have gained access to the system therefore but I'm also using it.

    If this is the case, shouldn't you use log on at all times since once you gain access to a service or system, you will end up using it anyway?

    Apologies if I'm baffling you right now....:)
     

    Ms Missy

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I posted the one above before seeing the link that CYCLONE provided, so after reading that thread, I'm even more convinced that the two terms are not entirely interchangeable. The http:www.logonnow/ seems to be the log on part, and then once you're logged on, you log in by entering your user name and password. (Again, I'm not saying that there definitely is a difference, but if there is one, then I think that's probably it)!

    PS. I got this error message when I tried to post my reply. Notice it says to log in. (I was already logged on, so I just had to enter my user name and password in order to log in).

    The following errors occurred with your submission
      1. You do not have permission to perform this action. Please refresh the page and login before trying again.
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    KON

    Senior Member
    I think you have a pretty good point here. I checked it on a couple of websites which require usernames and passwords in order to proceed with in them, such as on e-banking websites and none of them use the "log on" command when you input your security details etc.
     

    Ms Missy

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Thanks for the feedback KON. Although I was able to present very little technical evidence to support my position, it's very gratifying to know that the point I was trying to make was clear enough to be understood.

    Missy
     

    ebedj6922

    New Member
    English - French - Haitian Creole
    Well, I have been using both terms and I believe they are different, though they are often used interchangeably.

    Log in: Instruction on a website to someone already online to access a certain content while log on is used to give a verbal or written indication to go to the web to access a certain content.

    for example, if I can call my friend and tell him to log on to aaaaa.com. If I place that same information on a website I would say log in because the person would already be on the website and doesn't need to log on but may need to log in to, perhaps, a secure area.

    Hope this helps.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    "Log in" sounds like registering on a ship or clocking in at a factory. "Log on" was more common when computer systems were not publicly accessible. "Log in" is more common in the days of the internet.

    Now I think that whether one logs on or in depends on where one wishes to be: online, on a computer system, in an application, on the internet, in a website, on a web page, etc. And the preposition reflects how we think of the "place": if we see a website as a destination to arrive at or as something like a construction site on the Earth, we say "on" the website, but if we see it as an enclosed space or a room in cyberspace, we say "in" the website.
     

    Ms Missy

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Okay, I think we're all saying more or less the same thing here. For example, to get to the WordReference Forums website, the first thing you have to do is go on the Internet and LOG ON to the site (URL). Then once you're logged on, you have to LOG IN if you're already a member, or register to become a member, before you can participate by posting, responding, or starting a new thread.

    Sometimes I LOG ON to this site just to read some of the messages that have been posted. However, if I happen to come across a message that I'd like to respond to, I have to LOG IN with my user name and password. (No user name or password is required in order to log on to a website).
     

    Useroz

    New Member
    Spanish - Venezuelan
    Hi,

    I know this is an old thread but it worth to keep it alive.

    I can see the difference between login and logon. But When you create an account in Active Directory there is a parameter that you can set and it says" User must change password at next logon".

    If login is to use your username and password whether is in a webpage or a system, is that sentence wrong?

    Cheers.
     

    MarlaSingerLooksForTyler

    New Member
    Spanish-Mexico
    I think rich7 meant 'log onto'. I live in London and I've heard many times people saying 'log onto' as opposed to 'log in'.
    [I'm aware that this is a VERY old post but I stumbled across it whilst looking for clarity on the use of 'log in' vs. 'log on'. I understand now both meanings although I'm curious on whether 'log onto' is also correct or not.]
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Welcome to the forum, Marla.

    "Logging" meaning "gain access to a computer" is a relatively recent activity as such, one just has to consider common usage, rather than self-appointed authorities.

    Both "in" and "on(to)" are used and I wouldn't worry about the choice between them.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    I think rich7 meant 'log onto'. I live in London and I've heard many times people saying 'log onto' as opposed to 'log in'.
    [I'm aware that this is a VERY old post but I stumbled across it whilst looking for clarity on the use of 'log in' vs. 'log on'. I understand now both meanings although I'm curious on whether 'log onto' is also correct or not.]
    Do you mean "log onto" as opposed to "logon to" or "log on to"?

    We do sometimes put the main stress on "log", which makes "log onto" perfectly acceptable.

    Since the main stress in the phrase is usually on "on", I would expect "to" to usually be written separately.

    I suspect lots of people think "on to" is meant to be written "onto" and would never write the adverb and preposition separately, but to me "on to" and "onto" have distinct meanings in many contexts (like "cannot", meaning "can't", as opposed to "can not", meaning something more like "do(es)n't have to").

    "Log into" seems wrong to me, as opposed to "login to" or "log in to", since I have never heard this phrase with the main stress on "log".
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top