Design codes establish seismic site classifications to determine the seismic demand of a structure according to the response of the soil foundation under the action of earthquake ground motions; the site classification can even condition the feasibility of a project. The occurrence of great earthquakes in Chile has tested its design codes, generating much information and experience regarding the seismic design of structures that have allowed researchers to identify variations in seismic demands according to the kind of ground foundation and to propose seismic site classification methods in Chilean regulations since the 1930s; countries in the vanguard of seismic design, such as the USA, Japan, and New Zealand, proposed methods even earlier. In this document, the evolution of methodologies for seismic site classification according to the criteria in Chilean codes is analysed from their implementation in the 1930s to the most recently proposed design code NCh 433, 2018–2021. Although the distinctive features of each country shape the criteria in their design codes, clear knowledge of the evolution of established criteria from their origins is considered an important tool that contributes to the better understanding, interpretation and application of the seismic site classification methodologies contained in a design code with better criteria. Likewise, the review indicates a distinct need to conduct a continuous evaluation of the classification criteria supported by records of new earthquakes, as well as by physical and numerical models that allow incorporating variables which condition the response of the terrain such as topography, lateral heterogeneities, and basic effects.