What Is a Website?
A website is a collection of interlinked web pages that deliver information, entertainment or services via the Internet. Users access a website by typing its uniform resource locator, or URL, into the address bar of their web browsers on desktop computers and mobile devices. Websites are hosted on servers, physical or virtual machines that store the files that make up a website. When a user enters a website’s URL into their web browser, the domain name system (DNS) sends a request to the server where the site’s files are stored and the website is displayed.
Websites exist for many purposes, including providing news and information, ecommerce, entertainment and social networking. Most websites consist of a mix of text and other media, such as photos or videos. They are typically organized around a homepage that links to other pages on the site using hyperlinks.
Some websites allow users to interact with the website through forums, bulletin boards or chat rooms. These types of sites are often referred to as community websites. Others are designed to share or display content that can be used offline, such as an artist’s portfolio website or a resume website for someone seeking employment.
The most common reason for a business to create a website is to generate leads or sales. This type of website typically attracts prospects or clients to the business by displaying its products and services in a way that highlights the value customers will realize from making a purchase or submitting a service request. The website may also include a contact form or other mechanism for allowing prospects to submit their information to the business, which then follows up with them through email or telephone.
In addition to generating revenue, a website can be used to provide education or training. For example, a company’s website might include technical documents or tutorials on how to use the company’s software. Alternatively, a website can provide information about a specific topic such as health, politics or sports.
A website can also be a repository for personal or professional data, such as an online journal or digital scrapbook. This type of website is commonly known as a blog. A blog is an informational website that consists of discrete, often informal diary-style, entries posted in reverse chronological order, with the most recent entry appearing first on the home page. In some cases, blogs are organized into categories that help visitors find relevant information.
Websites can be created with a variety of tools and technologies, from simple scripts to complex programming languages. Generally, the more complicated a website is, the more expensive it is to develop and host. Some websites, such as social media or news websites, are free to use but require a subscription to access certain types of content. Other websites are ad-supported and rely on contextual advertising for revenue. Still other websites require a fee to subscribe or access premium content, such as a financial trading website or a website that provides real-time stock market data.