What Is a Website?

A website is a collection of interlinked web pages accessed via the Internet. Typically, websites have a central theme that is reflected in the site name and the pages it contains, but there are also many sites that cover a broad range of topics (Wikipedia is an example). Websites are hosted on servers, which are physical or virtual machines that store the website files. When a user types the website address into a browser, the server sends the files to the computer or mobile device requesting them, allowing the user to view the website.

There are billions of websites on the Internet. Each one can be broken down into categories based on the type of content it provides and the purpose for which it was built. The most popular websites provide information, social networking and ecommerce services to visitors. Others offer entertainment, news and education. Some websites are free to use while others require subscription or payment to access the content.

Most websites contain text, but some may include audio or video files. The majority of users do not read entire pages of a website; they simply skim the content and search for what they are interested in. Therefore, it is important that the website author write content as concisely as possible. Novelists paint pictures with words; journalists report the news with dramatic flair; academicians explain complex ideas in context with citations.

The first website was created on August 6, 1991, by Tim Berners-Lee at CERN, a physics lab in Switzerland. The website was the first publicly accessible resource on the World Wide Web. Berners-Lee used HTML to create the website and HTTP to make it work. The first website was simple and included information about the lab, but it quickly grew to become a hub of information on a variety of topics.

Today, almost all businesses and organizations have a website to communicate with customers and the public. In addition, a large percentage of consumers and students research products or services online before making a purchase or enrolling in a class. It is estimated that over a billion websites are currently online, with more being added every day.

Creating a website is no longer expensive or difficult. There are several software programs that allow users to build websites without having advanced computer programming skills or knowledge of web design. These applications are sometimes known as Content Management Systems, or CMS. The most popular is WordPress, which powers more than 40% of all websites on the Internet.

A website should be available to visitors around the clock, and should be updated regularly. Outdated information confuses users and degrades their trust in the website. Updated websites also increase the amount of time users spend on a website, which helps to improve search engine ranking results. Websites can also be optimized for mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets. The ability to display websites on mobile devices is a key factor in improving the user experience and increasing conversions.