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Homepage of the website of the German language Wikipedia , November 2013

A website ([ ˈvɛpsaɪ̯t ], also [ ˈwɛpsaɪ̯t ] or English [ ˈwɛbˌsaɪt ]), also a web presence , website , website or website , is the presence of a telemedia provider in the worldwide network ( World Wide Web ), which can be reached at an individual web address . It is created with web technologies, for example HTML , and can be displayed with a user agent , for example a browser . The web presence includes websites and optionally available downloadable documents. In other words: A web presence is a virtual place in the World Wide Web, where there are usually several websites, files and other resources that are usually linked to one another by a standardized navigation ( using hypertext processes).

The English name website or web site is derived from site (German 'Ort', 'Platz', 'Stelle'), this in turn from the Latin situs (German 'Lage', 'position'). The other German terms Internet presence , Internet presence and Internet offer are less precise, since the focus on the World Wide Web (as part of the entire Internet) is not expressed in these terms. The term homepage , which is also frequently used , equates the entry page of the website , actually referred to as the homepage , with the entire website.


Since the web presence includes all websites grouped under a certain domain and belonging to a provider and any downloadable documents on the World Wide Web, it is the preferred - if not the only - medium with which providers and users can come together via the Internet .

The shortening of the long term World Wide Web Site to a single lowercase word website reflects a typical development of technical terms. Leading news agencies such as Reuters and The Chicago Manual recommend the collapsed spelling website in English , as do dictionaries and encyclopedias such as the Canadian Oxford Dictionary.

The use of the spelling website can be seen in large internet companies such as Google and Apple . Microsoft, on the other hand, uses both spellings, both website and web site .

The terms site , website , internet platform , website and website are used interchangeably in general. In professional discourse is sometimes website ( web applications + services / daemons as FTP and e-mail ) broader than web presence (only Web applications). While internet platform is generally used interchangeably with website , web platform is often only used interchangeably with website in some cases .


The first website to go online was created and published on November 13, 1990 by CERN scientist Tim Berners-Lee . On April 30, 1993, CERN announced that the World Wide Web would be freely accessible to everyone. A copy of this website is back online today.


In the simplest case, a website consists of at least one HTML file that is located in a directory in the path of a domain . In general, however, it is now made up of numerous HTML files which can also be accommodated in a nested directory structure. It should also be noted that an HTML file itself usually consists of a file with the extension .htmlor .htmand a directory of the same name, in which the non-HTML-compliant elements (images, media, etc.) are stored; this includes files about the CSS class typing and various script files ( JavaScript ).

At least that is how it looks when the displayed page is saved by the browser on the visitor's hard drive. The provider can, however , have generated them dynamically from templates and database contents, so that the existence of a real file is only faked (partly because it promises better positions in search engines). CSS and JavaScript files are typically specified centrally for a website and, in the case of mass hosts, are even specified by the provider for the entire web space.

A homepage is the page of a website that is designed as a central hub. The start page (also entry page , index page ) is the first page called up on a website. In most cases, the home page is also the home page of a website. In special cases, however, it is preceded by an intro page , usually because a frame solution is then shown that is often not optimally captured by search engines. The intro should then provide the necessary information about the content and keywords that are invisible to the visitor and intended for search engines, provided that the following pages remain invisible to them. Therefore the intro often appears extremely spartan and says nothing for the visitor; it is often perceived as a nuisance and an obstacle. Attempts are often made to counter this with Flash animations, which, however, are also viewed by many visitors as an imposition and a waste of time. In response to this, a link to skip is usually offered.

Technical implementation

Websites are mainly written in the platform-independent markup language HTML or XHTML , in order to ensure that they can be displayed by as many browsers as possible. Today, websites are designed with CSS , because they allow easy design of content that has been structured with HTML or XHTML. In the case of more complex websites, the HTML source text is usually generated using server-side script ( PHP , Perl , Python , Ruby , VBScript ) or programming languages ( Java ) which, among other things, also allow the use of database systems ( MySQL , PostgreSQL , Oracle ). Often times, client-side scripting languages ​​such as JavaScript are also used, which are typically used more for user interaction than for the full creation of a website. Server-side scripts or programs preferably generate HTML text as output, which is then rendered by the user's browser . The website is stored on a web server , which is often operated in a data center by a so-called web host and rented to the owner of the website.

The development of websites is known as web design or web authoring .


With the help of a variety of communication offers, a website builds a relationship between the provider, the operator and the user of the website. For example, Wikipedia as a whole is a website that is stored on one or more host computers ( servers ) on the Internet , while what is displayed in the browser is specifically viewed as a single document . The website of the German language Wikipedia as an example currently comprises over five million websites .

Websites serve a number of purposes:

  • Purely private self-presentation in which someone presents himself with his personal information (name, address, birthday, etc.), his interests, photos, an online diary and a guest book, in which visitors submit their comments on the design and content of the offer can. The fact that criminals could misuse such information for their own goals speaks against giving overly personal data.
  • Semi-private presentation in so-called weblogs , which are mostly of a private nature and resemble an open online diary, in which visitors can contribute to the content of the site, as well as in forums that deal with very specific subject areas and where everyone has their questions , Answers and opinions in the public space of the Internet. In both forms, emphasis is placed on being polite. If the rules of decency are violated repeatedly or too severely, exclusion from the forum is possible.
  • Purely informative presentation of a business or private nature, with which either an organization or a company presents itself and the associated field of activity or a private person presents their qualifications and previous activities ( applicant website ), with particular emphasis on the various contact options (telephone, fax, e-mail, etc. .) is placed. See also Wikibooks applicant homepage .
  • Sales-related websites of companies whose main field of activity is online trading , such as B. online auction houses , mail order companies , online shops or online insurance companies. Such websites present products and services on the web in order to make offers to visitors and to receive or place orders .
  • Topic-related web offers that serve to provide comprehensive information about a specific content, such as B. Legal texts, cultural programs or lexicons . However, the technical advantage of easier updating compared to printed offers is not always used. It can ghost sites arise.
  • News websites that provide the latest news either generally or only for a specific area of ​​society. Often times, web feeds can also be found on these pages . Websites are often financed by advertisements .

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Website  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wikibooks: Handbook Web Design  - Learning and Teaching Materials
Wikiversity: Web Design  Course - Course Materials

Individual evidence

  1. a b cf., Lemma "Website"
  2. cf. Section 2a (1) of the barrier-free information technology regulation
  3. What is a website - overview - accessed on November 14, 2013.
  4. Canoonet Dictionary of Meanings - synonyms and term "website" - accessed September 23, 2019.
  5. ^ First website: " - home of the first website" , accessed on November 28, 2014.