A website (also written as web site) is a collection of web page
s and related content that is identified by a common domain name
and published on at least one web server
. Notable examples are wikipedia.org
, and amazon.com
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
ing between web pages guides the navigation of the site, which often starts with a home page
can access websites on a range of devices, including desktops
, and smartphone
s. The software application
used on these devices is called a web browser
The World Wide Web
(WWW) was created in 1990 by the British CERN physicist Tim Berners-Lee
On 30 April 1993, CERN
announced that the World Wide Web would be free to use for anyone.
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
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
'' and the ''AP Stylebook
have reflected this change.
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 include
s (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.
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
(CFML) that are available to generate dynamic web systems and dynamic sites
. Various web application framework
s and web template system
s are available for general-use programming language
s like Perl
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
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 in
s 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 applet
s written in Java
. HTML 5
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
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.
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:
* Posting interesting content and selling contextual advertising
either through direct sales or through an advertising network.
: products or services are purchased directly through the website
* Advertising products or services available at a brick and mortar business
: basic content is available for free but premium content requires a payment (e.g., WordPress
website, it is an open-source platform to build a blog or website.)
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:
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 paper
s. 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. 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. A total number of Websites | Internet live stats
internetlivestats.com. Retrieved on 14 April 2015.
* Link rot
* Lists of websites
* Site map
* Web content management system
* Web design
* Web development
* Web development tools
* Web hosting service
* Web template
* Website governance
* Website monetization
* World Wide Web Consortium (Web standards)
Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
The Internet Society (ISOC)