All publicly accessible websites are seen collectively as constituting the "World Wide Web".
The pages of websites can usually be accessed from a common root URL called the homepage, and usually reside on the same physical server. The URLs of the pages organize them into a hierarchy, although the hyperlinks between them control how the reader perceives the overall structure and how the traffic flows between the different parts of the sites.
Some websites require a subscription to access some or all of their content. Examples of subscription sites include many business sites, parts of many news sites, academic journal sites, gaming sites, message boards, Web-based e-mail, services, social networking websites, and sites providing real-time stock market data. Because they require authentication to view the content they are technically an Intranet site.
Before the introduction of HTML and HTTP other protocols such as file transfer protocol and the [protocol] were used to retrieve individual files from a server. These protocols offer a simple directory structure which the user navigates and choses files to download. Documents were most often presented as plain text files without formatting or encoded in word processor formats.
Organized by function a website may be
It could not be the work of an individual, because its harder to do a business or other organization and is typically dedicated to some particular topic or purpose. Any website can contain a hyperlink to any other website, so the distinction between individual sites, as perceived by the user, may sometimes be blurred.
Websites are written in, or dynamically converted to, HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) and are accessed using a software interface classified as an user agent. Web pages can be viewed or otherwise accessed from a range of computer-based and Internet-enabled devices of various sizes, including desktop computers, laptop computers, PDAs and cell phones.
A website is hosted on a computer system known as a web server, also called an HTTP server, and these terms can also refer to the software that runs on these system and that retrieves and delivers the Web pages in response to requests from the website users. Apache is the most commonly used Web server software (according to Netcraft statistics) and Microsoft's Internet Information Server (IIS) is also commonly used.
A static website is also called a Classic website, a 5-page website or a Brochure website because it simply presents pre-defined information to the user. It may include information about a company and its products and services via text, photos, Flash animation, audio/video and interactive menus and navigation.
This type of website usually displays the same information to all visitors, thus the information is static. Similar to handing out a printed brochure to customers or clients, a static website will generally provide consistent, standard information for an extended period of time. Although the website owner may make updates periodically, it is a manual process to edit the text, photos and other content and may require basic website design skills and software.
In summary, visitors are not able to control what information they receive via a static website, and must instead settle for whatever content the website owner has decided to offer at that time.
They are edited using four broad categories of software:
There are two meanings for a dynamic website. The first is that the web page code is constructed dynamically, piece by piece. The second is that the web page content displayed varies based on certain criteria. The criteria may be pre-defined rules or may be based on variable user input.
A dynamic website is also called a Web Application, a Data-driven website or an oCRAFT website because it presents variable information that is tailored to a particular user. It may accept a user's input and respond to the request. For example, a user can enter text into a login form or keyword search, which prompts the website to fulfill the request and return a unique result. In addition, the user may be able to perform tasks that may alter the website itself, such as post a comment or update a user profile. Examples of task-based websites include, online banking, shopping, e-learning, and social networking. Furthermore, the website may be able to make instant decisions on the fly in various situations, such as online quiz scoring or credit card processing.
This type of website usually displays different information depending on the visitor, thus the information is dynamic. Similar to talking to a customer service representative on the telephone, a dynamic website will provide personalized, real-time information and take the appropriate action intended to serve the customer's needs immediately. The website usually requires advanced programming and a database, and it often includes admin tools for the website owner to update the website content frequently and easily.
In summary, visitors are able to control what information they wish to receive via a dynamic website, instead of settling for only static content that the website owner has decided to offer. In addition, a visitor may be able to manipulate the content of the website and perform a multitude of tasks.
The term oCRAFT website stands for Online Customer Request and Fulfillment Tools. A website that accepts user input is said to have a customer request tool, such as a form. A website that generates dynamic results, makes decisions or enables a user to perform tasks is said to have a customer fulfillment tool, such as logins, searches, update/edit/post user data, banking, shopping, e-learning and social networking.
Many commonly known modules are oCRAFT tools, such as Forums, Blogs, Wikis, photo galleries, calendars and more. Others include: data banks, directories, listings, profiles, surveys, questionnaires, quizzes/tests, registration/entry forms, order/quote requests, financial calculators, graphs/charts, event management, order tracking, inventory control, product catalog, checkout, e-commerce, auctions, classifieds, social networking, match-making, job boards, portfolio, logins, subscriptions, memberships, affiliate programs, e-learning, course registration/scheduling, delivery/service/appointment scheduling, task tracking, support ticket system, reservations, approval process/work flows, member services, account/profile management, investment account management, lead capture/response/routing, chat, email and much more.
oCRAFT can also be used internally and for company intranets, with tools such as employee/shift scheduling, project management, forecasting/analysis, client relationship management (CRM), content management system (CMS), sales force automation, work order and service request system, workforce training and more.
The main purpose behind a dynamic site is that it is much simpler to maintain a few web pages plus a database than it is to build and update hundreds or thousands of individual web pages and links. In one way, a data-driven website is similar to a static site because the information that is presented on the site is still limited to what the website owner has allowed to be stored in the database. The advantage is that there is usually a lot more information stored in a database and made available to users.
A dynamic website would call various bits of information from a database and put them together in a pre-defined format to present the reader with a coherent page. It interacts with users in a variety of ways including by reading [cookies|cookies] recognizing users' previous history, session variables, server side variables etc., or by using direct interaction (form elements, mouseovers, etc.). A site can display the current state of a dialogue between users, monitor a changing situation, or provide information in some way personalized to the requirements of the individual user.
Some countries, for example the U.K. have introduced legislation regarding web accessibility
There is a wide range of software systems, such as Java Server Pages (JSP), the PHP and Perl programming languages, Active Server Pages (ASP), YUMA and ColdFusion (CFM) that are available to generate dynamic Web systems and dynamic sites. Sites may also include content that is retrieved from one or more databases or by using XML-based technologies such as RSS.
Static content may also be dynamically generated either periodically, or if certain conditions for regeneration occur (cached) in order to avoid the performance loss of initiating the dynamic engine on a per-user or per-connection basis.
Turning a website into an income source is a common practice for web-developers and website owners. There are several methods for creating a website business which fall into two broad categories, as defined below.
1. Content based sites
Some websites derive revenue by selling advertising space on the site (see contextual ads).
2. Product or service based sites
Some websites derive revenue by offering products or services. In the case of e-commerce websites, the products or services may be purchased at the website itself, by entering credit card or other payment information into a payment form on the site. While most business websites serve as a shop window for existing brick and mortar businesses, it is increasingly the case that some websites are businesses in their own right; that is, the products they offer are only available for purchase on the web.
Websites occasionally derive income from a combination of these two practices. For example, a website such as an online auctions website may charge the users of its auction service to list an auction, but also display third-party advertisements on the site, from which it derives further income.
As noted above, there are several different spellings for this term. Although "website" and "web site" are commonly used (the former especially in British English), the Associated Press Stylebook, Reuters, Microsoft, academia, book publishing, The Chicago Manual of Style, and dictionaries such as Merriam-Webster use the two-word, initially capitalized spelling Web site. This is because "Web" is not a general term but a shortened form of World Wide Web. As with many newly created terms, it may take some time before a common spelling is finalized. (This controversy also applies to derivative terms such as Web master/webmaster and Web cam/webcam).
The Canadian Oxford Dictionary and the Canadian Press Stylebook list "website" and "web page" as the preferred spellings. The Oxford English Dictionary began using "website" as its standardized form in 2004.
Bill Walsh, the copy chief of The Washington Post's national desk, and one of American English's foremost grammarians, argues for the two-word spelling with capital W in his books Lapsing into a Comma and The Elephants of Style, and on his site, the Slot.
There are many varieties of Web sites, each specializing in a particular type of content or use, and they may be arbitrarily classified in any number of ways. A few such classifications might include:
Some websites may be included in one or more of these categories. For example, a business website may promote the business's products, but may also host informative documents, such as white papers. There are also numerous sub-categories to the ones listed above. For example, a porn site is a specific type of eCommerce site or business site (that is, it is trying to sell memberships for access to its site). A fan site may be a dedication from the owner to a particular celebrity.
Websites are constrained by architectural limits (e.g., the computing power dedicated to the website). Very large websites, such as Yahoo!, Microsoft, and Google employ many servers and load balancing equipment such as Cisco Content Services Switches to distribute visitor loads over multiple computers at multiple locations.
In January 2007, Netcraft, an Internet monitoring company that has tracked Web growth since 1995, reported that there were 106,875,138 Web sites with domain names and content on them in 2007, compared to just 18,000 Web sites in August 1995.