A website (alternatively, web site or Web site, a back-construction from the proper noun World Wide Web) is a collection of Web pages, images, videos or other digital assets that is hosted on one or more web servers, usually accessible via the Internet.

A Web page is a document, typically written in (X)HTML, that is almost always accessible via [], a protocol that transfers information from the Web server to display in the user's Web browser.

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.


The first online website appeared in 1991. On 30 April 1993, CERN announced that the World Wide Web would be free to anyone.

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.

Website styles

Static Website

A Static Website is one that has web pages stored on the server in the same form as the user will view them. It is primarily coded in HTML (Hyper-text Markup Language).

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:

  • Text editors, such as Notepad or TextEdit, where the HTML is manipulated directly within the editor program
  • WYSIWYG offline editors, such as Microsoft FrontPage and Adobe Dreamweaver (previously Macromedia Dreamweaver), where the site is edited using a GUI interface and the underlying HTML is generated automatically by the editor software
  • WYSIWYG Online editors, where the any media rich online presentation like websites, widgets, intro, blogs etc. are created on a flash based platform.
  • Template-based editors, such as Rapidweaver and iWeb, which allow users to quickly create and upload websites to a web server without having to know anything about HTML, as they just pick a suitable template from a palette and add pictures and text to it in a DTP-like fashion without ever having to see any HTML code.

Dynamic website

A Dynamic Website is one that does not have web pages stored on the server in the same form as the user will view them. Instead, the web page content changes automatically and/or frequently based on certain criteria. It generally collates information on the hop each time a page is requested.

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

Software systems

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.

Plugins are available to expand the features and abilities of Web browsers, which use them to show active content, such as Flash, Shockwave or applets written in Java. Dynamic HTML also provides for user interactivity and realtime element updating within Web pages (i.e., pages don't have to be loaded or reloaded to effect any changes), mainly using the DOM and JavaScript, support which is built-in to most modern Web browsers.

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.

Types of websites

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:

  • Affiliate: enabled portal that renders not only its custom CMS but also syndicated content from other content providers for an agreed fee. There are usually three relationship tiers. Affiliate Agencies (e.g., Commission Junction), Advertisers (e.g., Ebay) and consumer (e.g., Yahoo).
  • Archive site: used to preserve valuable electronic content threatened with extinction. Two examples are: Internet Archive, which since 1996 has preserved billions of old (and new) Web pages; and Google Groups, which in early 2005 was archiving over 845,000,000 messages posted to Usenet news/discussion groups.
  • Blog (or web log) site: sites generally used to post online diaries which may include discussion forums (e.g., blogger, Xanga).
  • Content site: sites whose business is the creation and distribution of original content (e.g., Slate,
  • Corporate website: used to provide background information about a business, organization, or service.
  • Commerce site (or eCommerce site): for purchasing goods, such as, CSN Stores, and
  • Community site: a site where persons with similar interests communicate with each other, usually by chat or message boards, such as MySpace.
  • City Site: A site that shows information about a certain city or town and events that takes place in that town. Usually created by the city council or other "movers and shakers".
  • Database site: a site whose main use is the search and display of a specific database's content such as the Internet Movie Database or the Political Graveyard.
  • Dating site: A web site where single people could find dates by using social networking like technologies.
  • Development site: a site whose purpose is to provide information and resources related to software development, Web design and the like.
  • Directory site: a site that contains varied contents which are divided into categories and subcategories, such as Yahoo! directory, Google directory and Open Directory Project.
  • Download site: strictly used for downloading electronic content, such as software, game demos or computer wallpaper.
  • Employment site: allows employers to post job requirements for a position or positions and prospective employees to fill an application.
  • Fan site: A web site created and maintained by fans of and for a particular celebrity, as opposed to a web site created, maintained, and controlled by a celebrity through their own paid webmaster.May also be known as a Shrine in the case of certain subjects, such as anime, and manga characters.
  • Game site: a site that is itself a game or "playground" where many people come to play (e.g. MSN Games and
  • Gambling site: A site in which you can do non-sports related gambling.
  • Geodomain refers to domain names that are the same as those of geographic entities, such as cities and countries. For example, is the geodomain for Richmond, Virginia.
  • Gripe site: a site devoted to the critique of a person, place, corporation, government, or institution.
  • Humor site: satirizes, parodies or otherwise exists solely to amuse.
  • Information site: contains content that is intended to inform visitors, but not necessarily for commercial purposes, such as:, Free Internet Lexicon and Encyclopedia. Most government, educational and non-profit institutions have an informational site.
  • Java applet site: contains software to run over the Web as a Web application.
  • Mirror (computing) site: A complete reproduction of a website.
  • News site: similar to an information site, but dedicated to dispensing news and commentary.
  • Personal homepage: run by an individual or a small group (such as a family) that contains information or any content that the individual wishes to include. These are usuall uploaded using a web hosting service such as Geocities.
  • Phish site: a website created to fraudulently acquire sensitive information, such as passwords and credit card details, by masquerading as a trustworthy person or business (such as Social Security Administration, PayPal) in an electronic communication (see Phishing).
  • Political site: A site on which people may voice political views.
  • Porn site - a site that shows sexually explicit content for enjoyment and relaxation, most likely in a form of a internet gallery, dating site, blog, or video sharing.
  • Rating site: A site on which people can praise or disparage what is featured.
  • Review site: A site on which people can post reviews for products or services.
  • School site: a site on which teachers, students, or administrators can post information about current events at or involving their school. U.S. websites generally uses k12 in the URL such as
  • Video sharing: A site that enables user to upload videos, such as YouTube and Google_video.
  • Search engine site: a site that provides general information and is intended as a gateway or lookup for other sites. A pure example is Google, and the most widely known extended type is Yahoo!.
  • Shock site: includes images or other material that is intended to be offensive to most viewers (e.g.
  • Warez: a site designed to host and let users download copyrighted materials illegally.
  • Web portal: a site that provides a starting point or a gateway to other resources on the Internet or an intranet.
  • Wiki site: a site which users collaboratively edit (such as Wikipedia and Wikihow).

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.


The Webby Awards are a set of awards presented to the world's best websites, a concept pioneered by Best of the Web in 1994.

See also


External links

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