A web portal is most often one specially designed web site that brings information together from diverse sources in a uniform way. Usually, each information source gets its dedicated area on the page for displaying information (a portlet); often, the user can configure which ones to display.
Portals are often the first page the web browser loads when users get connected to the Web or that users tend to visit as an anchor site. They offer users a surplus value of service based on the features of classic search engines: a well trained concierge who knows where to search and find; a well-assorted newspaper kiosk that keeps the latest market information about the surfer's personal stocks ready; free communications possibilities like email or discussion boards. Thus, the traditional virtual roadhouses -the search engines- become feel-good entrance halls, a gateways to the internet, easy, one-stop embarkation points for the daily Web-surfing sessions. The hope behind the idea of a portal: surfer start their voyage into the web in a modern entrance hall, and preferably find their way back to the starting point without major difficulty.
What a portal does :
Key features of portals :
What a portal is not :