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A portal is

the starting point, or a gateway through which users navigate the World Wide Web, gaining access to a wide range of resources and services, such as e-mail, forums, search engines, and shopping malls.[1]
a website that provides at least three essential functions: a search engine, e-mail, and personalized news. A portal is intended to be the site a user first connects to whenever they log onto the Internet. It attracts users by providing personalized and customized services (e-mail and news) and providing search services which are frequently used to find and access other sites.


A portal is

[a] high-level remote access architecture that is based on a server that offers teleworkers access to one or more applications through a single centralized interface.[2]


Portals began as 'super' web sites but are technically no different from traditional web sites. While they may contain original content, web portals generally function as web sites that provide a starting point or gateway to other existing web resources and are generally created in HyperText Markup Language (HTML) and read by web browsers. A portal is a single Uniform Resource Locator (URL) that points to a variety of other existing URLs.

Portals provide:


  1. ITU Glossary of Mobile Cellular Terms 3 (1999) (full-text).
  2. NIST, Guide to Enterprise Telework and Remote Access Security, at A-1 (NIST Special Publication 800-46) (June 2009) (full-text).
  3. Implications of Recent Web Technologies for NARA Web Guidance.