Why was Stack Overflow named Stack Overflow?

Of course the stack overflow is a concept in programming, but I think there's more to it than that. What are the other reasons that this particular name was chosen for this QA site?

Also, how is is SO financially supported?


2 Answers 2


It was actually decided upon by reader's of Jeff Atwood's blog. There was naming contest and Stack Overflow was the winner.

Not only is the name a specific programming error, but the general public has an idea of what a stack that is overflowing would look like (the general concept).

Second question: Stack Overflow is was fully ad supported, but it has also received millions in venture capital investment.

  • 2
    Man, the website is so old!! They grow up so fast!!! I remember back when it was in beta! Feels like yesterday. Where did time go???
    – jjnguy
    Jul 9, 2009 at 12:51
  • jinguy: Are you sure He Who Shall Not Be Named didn't slip you some rufees?
    – TheTXI
    Jul 9, 2009 at 14:20
  • Those would be the strongest rufees in the history of the universe. Maybe I just have amnesia.
    – jjnguy
    Jul 9, 2009 at 20:59
  • I hardly see any ads, where are the ads?
    – TheTechGuy
    Nov 4, 2011 at 18:03
  • 1
    @Dave, a benefit of reaching 200 in rep is reduced advertising. Your SO account is above this threshold. Also note that since this answer was provided, SE has secured venture capital, so there are more resources than just advertisements at work. Nov 4, 2011 at 18:15

It's witty...and appropriate. I mean, we're talking about tens of thousands of developers pouring their thousands of years of collective-experience into a single resevoir...whoa.


In software, a stack overflow occurs when too much memory is used on the call stack. In many programming languages, the call stack contains a limited amount of memory, usually determined at the start of the program. The size of the call stack depends on many factors, including the programming language, machine architecture, multi-threading, and amount of available memory. When too much memory is used on the call stack the stack is said to overflow; typically resulting in a program crash. This class of software bug is usually caused by one of two types of programming errors.

  • 1
    You ever tried to fix something, but the fix you found is itself a problem to get working? And as you're trying, you just run into more and more issues upon issues, and before long you lose sight of what you were trying to accomplish in the first place? I'd say that frustration is pretty much the exact human equivalent of a stack overflow error.
    – Sparkette
    Jun 6, 2019 at 14:53

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