A website is a collection of web pages, typically common to a particular domain name or subdomain on the World Wide Web on the Internet.

A web page is a document, typically written in HTML, that is almost always accessible via HTTP, a protocol that transfers information from the website's server to display in the user's web browser.

All publicly accessible websites are seen as constituting a mammoth "World Wide Web" of information.

The pages of a website will 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, gaming sites, message boards, Web-based e-mail services, and sites providing real-time stock market data.

A website may be the work of an individual, 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 program called a Web browser, also known as an HTTP client. 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.

A static website, is one that has content that is not expected to change frequently and is manually maintained by some person or persons using some type of editor software. There are three broad categories of editor software used for this purpose which are

  • Text editors. such as Notepad or TextEdit, where the HTML is manipulated directly within the editor program
  • WYSIWYG editors. such as Microsoft FrontPage and Macromedia Dreamweaver, where the site is edited using a GUI interface and the underlying HTML is generated automatically by the editor software
  • 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.

A dynamic website is one that has frequently changing information or interacts with the user from various methods (HTTP cookies or database variables e.g., previous history, session variables, server side variables, e.g., environmental data) or direct interaction (form elements, mouseovers, etc.). When the Web server receives a request for a given page, the page is automatically retrieved from storage by the software in response to the page request. 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.

There is a wide range of software systems, such as ColdFusion (CFM), Active Server Pages (ASP), Java Server Pages (JSP) and the PHP programming language 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.

Reference: Wikipedia
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