A web portal, also known as a links page, presents information from diverse sources in a unified way. Apart from the standard search engine feature, web portals offer other services such as e-mail, news, stock prices, information, databases and entertainment. Portals provide a way for enterprises to provide a consistent look and feel with access control and procedures for multiple applications and databases, which otherwise would have been different entities altogether.
A personal portal is a site on the World Wide Web that typically provides personalized capabilities to its visitors, providing a pathway to other content. It is designed to use distributed applications, different numbers and types of middleware and hardware to provide services from a number of different sources. In addition, business portals are designed to share collaboration in workplaces. A further business-driven requirement of portals is that the content be able to work on multiple platforms such as personal computers, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and cell phones/mobile phones. Information, news, and updates are examples of content that would be delivered through such a portal. Personal portals can be related to any specific topic such as providing friend information on a social network or providing links to outside content that may help others beyond your reach of services. Portals are not limited to simply providing links. Information or content that you are putting on the internet creates a portal, or a path to new knowledge and/or capabilities.
Corporate web portals
As intranets grew in size and complexity, webmasters were faced with increasing content and user management challenges. A consolidated view of company information was judged insufficient; users wanted personalization and customization. Webmasters, if skilled enough, were able to offer some capabilities, but for the most part ended up driving users away from using the intranet.
A number of portals have come about that are specific to the particular domain, offering access to related companies and services, a prime example of this trend would be the growth in property portals that give access to services such as estate agents, removal firm, and solicitors that offer conveyancing.
Web portals have also expanded into the professional sports market. Fans of sports teams create a Sportal (sports portal), which brings all information about a professional sports team to one web portal.