The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “website” as:
“A place on the World Wide Web that contains information about a person, organization, etc., and that usually consists of many web pages joined by hyperlinks.”
In our What is the World Wide Web article, we compared the World Wide Web to a giant library. If we follow that comparison, then websites would be the World Wide Web’s equivalent of books. They’re collections of related information (which, appropriately for this metaphor, are called web “pages”) in a more-or-less contained spot (we’ll discuss what this means in a minute). And each of these pages is usually tied to the other by hyperlinks, just as the spine of a book binds the whole book together.
Continuing the book metaphor, though, websites aren’t like traditional books. Most traditional books are linear; that is, they make the most sense if you read each page in order from the beginning of the book to the end. Instead, websites are more like “choose-your-own-adventure” novels: depending on which hyperlinks you follow, you’ll end up at different web pages on a website, and may end up back at the same page more than once. You might even end up on another website entirely!
What a website is, for practical purposes
In our introduction to what a website is, we mentioned that it’s a collection of information in a more-or-less contained location on the Internet. It’s time to explain what we mean by that.
If you’ll recall from our What is a U.R.L. article, there are three major parts to an Internet address: the protocol, the domain, and the path. Basically, then, a website is a collection of all possible URLs that share the same domain. So, for example, any web page whose U.R.L. includes “techboomers.com”, regardless of what comes before or after, is part of the Techboomers website, including:
https://techboomers.com/t/yelp-alternatives (our “Yelp Alternatives” tutorial)
https://techboomers.com/p/facebook (our course for the website “Facebook”)
https://techboomers.com/c/entertainment (our “Entertainment” category of courses)
https://techboomers.com (our homepage)
Again, though, there are certain exceptions where a web page can have a slightly different domain but still not be part of a completely different website. For example, “https://www.stitch.net/about-us/” and “https://support.stitch.net/category/64-edit-your-profile” are still part of the website “stitch.net”, despite having slightly different domain types (general World Wide Web page vs. help page).
Examples of popular websites
There are over 175 million active websites (that is, ones people actually use) on the World Wide Web today. Some of the most popular ones in the world that we have courses for include:
Google Search is the world’s most popular search engine website. Just type a few keywords into Google’s search bar, click “Search”, and you’ll find all kinds of websites and web pages that have something to do with the words that you typed in. Google does lots of other stuff, too!
Our Google Search Course: https://techboomers.com/p/google-search
Facebook is one of the most popular social network websites out there. It lets you find people you know based on your hometown, job, school, or current city. You can also follow the activity of organizations, companies, and celebrities. Then you can let each other know how you’re doing, organize events, play games, and more!
Our Facebook Course: https://techboomers.com/p/facebook
Amazon is a popular online marketplace website that lets you buy all sorts of things from Amazon itself, or from people all over the world. Then, everything gets shipped right to your doorstep. You can even sell your own items, or trade them in to Amazon!
Our Amazon Course: https://techboomers.com/p/amazon
Wikipedia is an interesting website, in that it’s an encyclopedia written almost completely by the people who use the website, as opposed to the people who run it! Almost anyone who visits Wikipedia can add, edit, or remove an article, though sometimes this is restricted to people who are registered with the website. Is there a piece of knowledge that you can contribute?
Our Wikipedia Course: https://techboomers.com/p/wikipedia
Twitter is a website that allows people to broadcast short messages of what they’re doing or thinking about, up to 140 characters (letters, numbers, symbols, or spaces) in length. It’s a popular social network website, like Facebook, so you can also follow the activity of people, companies, and groups that you know.
Our Twitter Course: https://techboomers.com/p/twitter