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Websites

NASA_website_homepageA website (alternatively, Web site or web site) is a collection of Web pages, images, videos and other digital assets that is hosted on one or several Web server(s), usually accessible via the Internet, cell phone or a LAN.

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

All publicly accessible websites are seen collectively as constituting the “World Wide Web”.

The pages of websites can usually 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, academic journal sites, gaming sites, message boards, Web-based e-mail, services, social networking website, and sites providing real-time stock market data.

History

The first on-line website appeared in 1991. On 30 April 1993, CERN announced that the World Wide Web would be free to anyone.

Spelling

As noted above, there are several different spellings for this term. Although “website” and “web site” are commonly used (the former especially in British English), the Associated Press Stylebook, Reuters, Microsoft, academia, book publishing, The Chicago Manual of Style, and dictionaries such as Merriam-Webster use the two-word, initially capitalized spelling Web site. This is because “Web” is not a general term but a shortened form of World Wide Web. As with many newly created terms, it may take some time before a common spelling is finalized. (This controversy also applies to derivative terms such as “Web master”/”webmaster” and “Web cam”/”webcam”).

The Canadian Oxford Dictionary and the Canadian Press Stylebook list “website” and “web page” as the preferred spellings. The Oxford English Dictionary began using “website” as its standardized form in 2004.

Bill Walsh, the copy chief of The Washington Post’s national desk, and one of American English’s foremost grammarians, argues for the two-word spelling with capital W in his books Lapsing into a Comma and The Elephants of Style, and on his site, the Slot.

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