Website

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The usap.gov website United States Antarctic Program website from 2018 02 22.png
The usap.gov website

A website (also written as web site) is a collection of web pages and related content that is identified by a common domain name and published on at least one web server. Notable examples are wikipedia.org, google.com, and amazon.com.

Contents

All publicly accessible websites collectively constitute the World Wide Web. There are also private websites that can only be accessed on a private network, such as a company's internal website for its employees.

Websites are typically dedicated to a particular topic or purpose, such as news, education, commerce, entertainment, or social networking. Hyperlinking between web pages guides the navigation of the site, which often starts with a home page.

Users can access websites on a range of devices, including desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. The app used on these devices is called a web browser.

History

The nasa.gov home page in 2015 NASA Website Homepage - April 25, 2015.png
The nasa.gov home page in 2015

The World Wide Web (WWW) was created in 1990 by the British CERN physicist Tim Berners-Lee. [1] On 30 April 1993, CERN announced that the World Wide Web would be free to use for anyone, contributing to the immense growth of the Web. [2] Before the introduction of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), other protocols such as File Transfer Protocol and the gopher protocol were used to retrieve individual files from a server. These protocols offer a simple directory structure which the user navigates and where they choose files to download. Documents were most often presented as plain text files without formatting or were encoded in word processor formats.

Overview

Websites can be used in various fashions: a personal website, a corporate website for a company, a government website, an organization website, etc. Websites can be the work of an individual, a business or other organization, and are typically dedicated to a 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, can be blurred.

Some websites require user registration or subscription to access content. Examples of subscription websites include many business sites, news websites, academic journal websites, gaming websites, file-sharing websites, message boards, web-based email, social networking websites, websites providing real-time stock market data, as well as sites providing various other services.

While "web site" was the original spelling (sometimes capitalized "Web site", since "Web" is a proper noun when referring to the World Wide Web), this variant has become rarely used, and "website" has become the standard spelling. All major style guides, such as The Chicago Manual of Style [3] and the AP Stylebook , [4] have reflected this change.

Static website

A static website is one that has web pages stored on the server in the format that is sent to a client web browser. It is primarily coded in Hypertext Markup Language (HTML); Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are used to control appearance beyond basic HTML. Images are commonly used to create the desired appearance and as part of the main content. Audio or video might also be considered "static" content if it plays automatically or is generally non-interactive. This type of website usually displays the same information to all visitors. 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. Simple forms or marketing examples of websites, such as classic website, a five-page website or a brochure website are often static websites, because they present pre-defined, static information to the user. This may include information about a company and its products and services through text, photos, animations, audio/video, and navigation menus.

Static websites may still use server side includes (SSI) as an editing convenience, such as sharing a common menu bar across many pages. As the site's behavior to the reader is still static, this is not considered a dynamic site.

Dynamic website

Server-side programming language usage in 2016. Server-side websites programming languages.PNG
Server-side programming language usage in 2016.

A dynamic website is one that changes or customizes itself frequently and automatically. Server-side dynamic pages are generated "on the fly" by computer code that produces the HTML (CSS are responsible for appearance and thus, are static files). There are a wide range of software systems, such as CGI, Java Servlets and Java Server Pages (JSP), Active Server Pages and ColdFusion (CFML) that are available to generate dynamic web systems and dynamic sites. Various web application frameworks and web template systems are available for general-use programming languages like Perl, PHP, Python and Ruby to make it faster and easier to create complex dynamic websites.

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. For example, when the front page of a news site is requested, the code running on the webserver might combine stored HTML fragments with news stories retrieved from a database or another website via RSS to produce a page that includes the latest information. Dynamic sites can be interactive by using HTML forms, storing and reading back browser cookies, or by creating a series of pages that reflect the previous history of clicks. Another example of dynamic content is when a retail website with a database of media products allows a user to input a search request, e.g. for the keyword Beatles. In response, the content of the web page will spontaneously change the way it looked before, and will then display a list of Beatles products like CDs, DVDs, and books. Dynamic HTML uses JavaScript code to instruct the web browser how to interactively modify the page contents. One way to simulate a certain type of dynamic website while avoiding the performance loss of initiating the dynamic engine on a per-user or per-connection basis is to periodically automatically regenerate a large series of static pages.

Multimedia and interactive content

Early websites had only text, and soon after, images. Web browser plug ins were then used to add audio, video, and interactivity (such as for a rich web application that mirrors the complexity of a desktop application like a word processor). Examples of such plug-ins are Microsoft Silverlight, Adobe Flash, Adobe Shockwave, and applets written in Java. HTML 5 includes provisions for audio and video without plugins. JavaScript is also built into most modern web browsers, and allows for website creators to send code to the web browser that instructs it how to interactively modify page content and communicate with the webserver if needed. The browser's internal representation of the content is known as the Document Object Model (DOM).

WebGL (Web Graphics Library) is a modern JavaScript API for rendering interactive 3D graphics without the use of plug-ins. It allows interactive content such as 3D animations, visualizations and video explainers to presented users in the most intuitive way. [5]

A 2010-era trend in websites called "responsive design" has given the best viewing experience as it provides a device based layout for users. These websites change their layout according to the device or mobile platform thus giving a rich user experience. [6]

Types

Websites can be divided into two broad categories—static and interactive. Interactive sites are part of the Web 2.0 community of sites and allow for interactivity between the site owner and site visitors or users. Static sites serve or capture information but do not allow engagement with the audience or users directly. Some websites are informational or produced by enthusiasts or for personal use or entertainment. Many websites do aim to make money, using one or more business models, including:

There are many varieties of websites, 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:

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Type of WebsiteDescriptionExamples
Affiliate network A site, typically few in pages, whose purpose is to sell a third party's product. The seller receives a commission for facilitating the sale.
Affiliate agencyEnabled 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 (see Affiliate Agencies). Commission Junction, advertisers like eBay, or a consumer like 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. Internet Archive, Google Groups
Malware websiteA site created specifically to attack visitors' computers on their first visit to a website by downloading a file (usually a trojan horse). These websites rely on unsuspecting users with poor anti-virus protection in their computers.
Blog (weblog)Sites generally used to post online diaries which may include discussion forums. Many bloggers use blogs like an editorial section of a newspaper to express their ideas on anything ranging from politics to religion to video games to parenting, along with anything in between. Some bloggers are professional bloggers and they are paid to blog about a certain subject, and they are usually found on news sites. WordPress
Brand-building siteA site with the purpose of creating an experience of a brand online. These sites usually do not sell anything, but focus on building the brand. Brand building sites are most common for low-value, high-volume fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG).
Celebrity website A website the information in which revolves around a celebrity or public figure. These sites can be official (endorsed by the celebrity) or fan-made (run by a fan or fans of the celebrity without implicit endorsement). jimcarrey.com
Comparison shopping website A website providing a vertical search engine that shoppers use to filter and compare products based on price, features, reviews, and other criteria. Shopping.com
Crowdfunding websitePlatform to fund projects by the pre-purchase of products or by asking audience members to make a donation. Kickstarter
Click-to-donate site A website that allows the visitor to donate to charity simply by clicking on a button or answering a question correctly. An advertiser usually donates to the charity for each correct answer generated. The Hunger Site, Freerice
Content siteA site the business of which is the creation and distribution of original content wikiHow.com, About.com
Classified ads siteA site publishing classified advertisements gumtree.com, Craigslist
Corporate website Used to provide background information about a business, organization, or service.
Online dating service A site where users can find other single people looking for long-term relationships, dating, short encounters, or friendship. Many of them are pay per services, but there are many free or partially free dating sites. Most dating sites in the 2010s have the functionality of social networking websites. eHarmony, Match.com
E-commerce websiteA site offering goods and services for online sale and enabling online transactions for such sales. Amazon.com
Fake news website A site publishing fake news stories, intending to deceive visitors, and profit from advertising.BFNN, The Daily Stormer
Internet forum A site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages. SkyscraperCity, 4chan
Gallery website A website designed specifically for use as a gallery; these may be an art gallery or photo gallery and of commercial or non-commercial nature.
Government websiteA website made by the local, state, department, or national government of a country. Usually, these sites also operate websites that are intended to inform tourists or support tourism. USA.gov, Naenara, GOV.UK
Gripe site A site devoted to the criticism of a person, place, corporation, government, or institution.
Online game websiteWebsites where users can play online games Browser games, OGame, Travian,
Online gambling websiteA site that lets users play online games such as gambling.
Humor site Satirizes, parodies, or amuses the audience. The Onion, National Lampoon digital archive, Encyclopedia Dramatica
Information siteMost websites fit in this category to some extent. They do not necessarily have commercial purposes.Most government, educational and nonprofit institutions have an informational site.
Media-sharing siteA site that enables users to upload and view media such as pictures, music, and videos YouTube, DeviantArt
Mirror site A website that is the replication of another website. This type of website is used as a response to spikes in user visitors. Mirror sites are most commonly used to provide multiple sources of the same information and are of particular value as a way of providing reliable access to large downloads.
Microblog websiteA short and simple form of blogging. Microblogs are limited to certain numbers of characters and work similarly to a status update on Facebook. Twitter
News site Similar to an information site, but dedicated to dispensing news, politics, and commentary. cnn.com

bbc.com/news

Personal website Websites about an individual or a small group (such as a family) that contains information or any content that the individual wishes to include. Such a personal website is different from a celebrity website, which can be very expensive and run by a publicist or agency.
Phishing websiteA 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, a bank) in an electronic communication (see Phishing).
Photo sharing websiteA website created to share digital photos with the online community. (see Photo sharing). Flickr, Instagram, Imgur
p2p/Torrents website Websites that index torrent files. This type of website is different from a Bit torrent client which is usually a stand-alone software. Mininova, The Pirate Bay, IsoHunt
Political siteA site on which people may voice political views, provide political humor, campaign for elections, or provide information about a certain candidate, political party or ideology. Rhino Party of Canada website
Question and Answer (Q&A) site Answer site is a site where people can ask questions & get answers. Quora, Yahoo! Answers, Stack Exchange Network (including Stack Overflow)
Religious site A site in which people may advertise a place of worship, or provide inspiration or seek to encourage the faith of a follower of that religion.
Review site A site on which people can post reviews for products or services. Yelp, Rotten Tomatoes
School website a site on which teachers, students, or administrators can post information about current events at or involving their school. U.S. elementary-high school websites generally use k12 in the URL
Scraper site a site that largely duplicates the content of another site without permission, without actually pretending to be that site, in order to capture some of that site's traffic (especially from search engines) and profit from advertising revenue or in other ways.
Search engine A website that indexes material on the Internet or an intranet (and lately on traditional media such as books and newspapers) and provides links to information as a response to a query. Google Search, Bing, DuckDuckGo, Ecosia
Shock site Includes images or other material that is intended to be offensive to most viewers Goatse.cx, rotten.com
Showcase website Web portals used by individuals and organisations to showcase things of interest or value
Social bookmarking siteA site where users share other content from the Internet and rate and comment on the content. StumbleUpon, Digg
Social networking service A site where users could communicate with one another and share media, such as pictures, videos, music, blogs, etc. with other users. These may include games and web applications. YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn [7]
Social news A social news website features user-posted stories that are ranked based on popularity. Users can comment on these posts, and these comments may also be ranked. Since their emergence with the birth of web 2.0, these sites are used to link many types of information including news, humor, support, and discussion. Social news sites allegedly facilitate democratic participation on the web. Reddit, Digg, SlashDot
Warez A site designed to host or link to materials such as music, movies, and software for the user to download. The Pirate Bay
Webcomic An online comic, ranging in various styles and genres unique to the World Wide Web. Penny Arcade , xkcd , Gunnerkrigg Court
Webmail A site that provides a webmail service. Hotmail, Gmail, Protonmail, Yahoo! Mail
Web portal A site that provides a starting point or a gateway to other resources on the Internet or an intranet. msn.com, msnbc.com, Newgrounds, Yahoo!
Wiki siteA site in which users collaboratively edit its content. Wikipedia, wikiHow, Wikia

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 e-commerce site or business site (that is, it is trying to sell memberships for access to its site) or have social networking capabilities. A fansite 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 Facebook, 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. As of early 2011, Facebook utilized 9 data centers with approximately 63,000 servers.

In February 2009, Netcraft, an Internet monitoring company that has tracked Web growth since 1995, reported that there were 215,675,903 websites with domain names and content on them in 2009, compared to just 19,732 websites in August 1995. [8] After reaching 1 billion websites in September 2014, a milestone confirmed by NetCraft in its October 2014 Web Server Survey and that Internet Live Stats was the first to announce—as attested by this tweet from the inventor of the World Wide Web himself, Tim Berners-Lee—the number of websites in the world have subsequently declined, reverting to a level below 1 billion. This is due to the monthly fluctuations in the count of inactive websites. The number of websites continued growing to over 1 billion by March 2016 and has continued growing since. [9] Netcraft Web Server Survey in January 2020 reported that there are 1,295,973,827 websites and in April 2021 reported that there are 1,212,139,815 sites across 10,939,637 web facing computers, and 264,469,666 unique domains. [10] However, 85 percent of all websites are reportedly inactive and only 10-15 percent are in use. [11]

Internet Users

In 2009 there were reportedly 1.73 billion users worldwide with Asia taking leading with 738,257,230 users. [12] Other internet users by region and continent include;

Following modernization, better access to computers, growth in smartphones technology and use, social media popularity, and cheaper access to the internet, the number of internet users worldwide increased tremendously to 3.97 in 2019. [13] This represents over 51 percent of the global population, with Asia remaining the continent with the most internet users as it accounts for 50 percent of the total number of internet users worldwide. China has the most internet users in the Asian continent, accounting for 25 percent of users in Asia. Also, China has more internet users than any other country in the world with over 934 million monthly users as at 2020. This number is more than double the number of internet users in the US which ranked third with 284 million monthly online users. India ranked second with about 687 million internet users accessing the internet either through mobile devices or computers. [14] One of the most popular activities online is social networking. In 2020, Facebook, a social networking site founded by Mark Zuckerberg recorded over 2.7 billion monthly active users. This number accounts for over half of global internet users, making Facebook the most popular online social network. [15]

See also

Related Research Articles

Dynamic HTML, or DHTML, is a collection of technologies used together to create interactive and animated websites by using a combination of a static markup language, a client-side scripting language, a presentation definition language, and the Document Object Model (DOM). The application of DHTML was introduced by Microsoft with the release of Internet Explorer 4 in 1997. Today, references to unobtrusive JavaScript coding have replaced the usage of the term DHTML.

Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is an extension of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). It is used for secure communication over a computer network, and is widely used on the Internet. In HTTPS, the communication protocol is encrypted using Transport Layer Security (TLS) or, formerly, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). The protocol is therefore also referred to as HTTP over TLS, or HTTP over SSL.

Server-side scripting is a technique used in web development which involves employing scripts on a web server which produce a response customised for each user's (client's) request to the website. The alternative is for the web server itself to deliver a static web page. Scripts can be written in any of a number of server-side scripting languages that are available. Server-side scripting is distinguished from client-side scripting where embedded scripts, such as JavaScript, are run client-side in a web browser, but both techniques are often used together.

World Wide Web System of interlinked hypertext documents accessed over the Internet

The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly known as The Web, is an information system where documents and other web resources are identified by Uniform Resource Locators, which may be interlinked by hyperlinks, and are accessible over the Internet. The resources of the Web are transferred via the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), may be accessed by users by a software application called a web browser, and are published by a software application called a web server. The World Wide Web is not synonymous with the Internet, which pre-dated the Web in some form by over two decades and upon which technologies the Web is built.

Web server Computer software that distributes web pages

A web server is computer software and underlying hardware that accepts requests via HTTP, the network protocol created to distribute web pages, or its secure variant HTTPS. A user agent, commonly a web browser or web crawler, initiates communication by making a request for a specific resource using HTTP, and the server responds with the content of that resource or an error message. The server can also accept and store resources sent from the user agent if configured to do so.

Web design encompasses many different skills and disciplines in the production and maintenance of websites. The different areas of web design include web graphic design; user interface design ; authoring, including standardised code and proprietary software; user experience design ; and search engine optimization. Often many individuals will work in teams covering different aspects of the design process, although some designers will cover them all. The term "web design" is normally used to describe the design process relating to the front-end design of a website including writing markup. Web design partially overlaps web engineering in the broader scope of web development. Web designers are expected to have an awareness of usability and if their role involves creating markup then they are also expected to be up to date with web accessibility guidelines.

The HTTP 404, 404 Not Found, 404, 404 Error, Page Not Found or File Not Found error message is a Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) standard response code, in computer network communications, to indicate that the browser was able to communicate with a given server, but the server could not find what was requested. The error may also be used when a server does not wish to disclose whether it has the requested information.

Proxy server Computer server that makes and receives requests on behalf of a user

In computer networking, a proxy server is a server application or appliance that acts as an intermediary for requests from clients seeking resources from servers that provide those resources. A proxy server thus functions on behalf of the client when requesting service, potentially masking the true origin of the request to the resource server.

Web application Application that uses a web browser as a client

A web application is application software that runs on a web server, unlike computer-based software programs that are run locally on the operating system (OS) of the device. Web applications are accessed by the user through a web browser with an active network connection. These applications are programmed using a client–server modeled structure—the user ("client") is provided services through an off-site server that is hosted by a third-party. Examples of commonly-used web applications include: web-mail, online retail sales, online banking, and online auctions.

Web 2.0 World Wide Web sites that use technology beyond the static pages of earlier Web sites

Web 2.0 refers to websites that emphasize user-generated content, ease of use, participatory culture and interoperability for end users.

Ajax is a set of web development techniques using many web technologies on the client-side to create asynchronous web applications. With Ajax, web applications can send and retrieve data from a server asynchronously without interfering with the display and behaviour of the existing page. By decoupling the data interchange layer from the presentation layer, Ajax allows web pages and, by extension, web applications, to change content dynamically without the need to reload the entire page. In practice, modern implementations commonly utilize JSON instead of XML.

Dynamic web page Type of web page

A server-side dynamic web page is a web page whose construction is controlled by an application server processing server-side scripts. In server-side scripting, parameters determine how the assembly of every new web page proceeds, including the setting up of more client-side processing.

In computing, the same-origin policy is an important concept in the web application security model. Under the policy, a web browser permits scripts contained in a first web page to access data in a second web page, but only if both web pages have the same origin. An origin is defined as a combination of URI scheme, host name, and port number. This policy prevents a malicious script on one page from obtaining access to sensitive data on another web page through that page's Document Object Model.

Push technology, or server push, is a style of Internet-based communication where the request for a given transaction is initiated by the publisher or central server. It is contrasted with pull/get, where the request for the transmission of information is initiated by the receiver or client.

Browser sniffing is a set of techniques used in websites and web applications in order to determine the web browser a visitor is using, and to serve browser-appropriate content to the visitor. It is also used to detect mobile browsers and send them mobile-optimized websites. This practice is sometimes used to circumvent incompatibilities between browsers due to misinterpretation of HTML, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), or the Document Object Model (DOM). While the World Wide Web Consortium maintains up-to-date central versions of some of the most important Web standards in the form of recommendations, in practice no software developer has designed a browser which adheres exactly to these standards; implementation of other standards and protocols, such as SVG and XMLHttpRequest, varies as well. As a result, different browsers display the same page differently, and so browser sniffing was developed to detect the web browser in order to help ensure consistent display of content.

Web template system System in web publishing that lets web designers and developers work with web templates to automatically generate custom web pages

A web template system in web publishing lets web designers and developers work with web templates to automatically generate custom web pages, such as the results from a search. This reuses static web page elements while defining dynamic elements based on web request parameters. Web templates support static content, providing basic structure and appearance. Developers can implement templates from content management systems, web application frameworks, and HTML editors.

A static web page is a web page that is delivered to the user's web browser exactly as stored, in contrast to dynamic web pages which are generated by a web application.

Web page Content provided by a website

A web page is a hypertext document provided by a website and displayed to a user in a web browser. A website typically consists of many web pages linked together in a coherent fashion. The name "web page" is a metaphor of paper pages bound together into a book.

Content Security Policy (CSP) is a computer security standard introduced to prevent cross-site scripting (XSS), clickjacking and other code injection attacks resulting from execution of malicious content in the trusted web page context. It is a Candidate Recommendation of the W3C working group on Web Application Security, widely supported by modern web browsers. CSP provides a standard method for website owners to declare approved origins of content that browsers should be allowed to load on that website—covered types are JavaScript, CSS, HTML frames, web workers, fonts, images, embeddable objects such as Java applets, ActiveX, audio and video files, and other HTML5 features.

A web beacon is a technique used on web pages and email to unobtrusively allow checking that a user has accessed some content. Web beacons are typically used by third parties to monitor the activity of users at a website for the purpose of web analytics or page tagging. They can also be used for email tracking. When implemented using JavaScript, they may be called JavaScript tags.

References

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  2. Cailliau, Robert. "A Little History of the World Wide Web" . Retrieved 16 February 2007.
  3. "Internet, Web, and Other Post-Watergate Concerns". University of Chicago. Retrieved 18 September 2010.
  4. AP Stylebook [@APStylebook] (16 April 2010). "Responding to reader input, we are changing Web site to website. This appears on Stylebook Online today and in the 2010 book next month" (Tweet). Retrieved 18 March 2019 via Twitter.
  5. "OpenGL ES for the Web". khronos.org. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  6. Pete LePage. "Responsive Web Design Basics | Web". Google Developers. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  7. Perrin, Andrew; Anderson, Monica (10 April 2019). "Social media usage in the U.S. in 2019 | Pew Research Center". PewResearch.Org. Pew Research. Retrieved 20 July 2019. graphic *Study was quoted in Forbes.
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  9. A total number of Websites | Internet live stats. internetlivestats.com. Retrieved on 14 April 2015.
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