A home page is generally the main page a visitor navigating to a website from a web search engine will see, and may also serve as a landing page to attract the attention of visitors. The home page is used to facilitate navigation to other pages on the site, by providing links to important and recent articles and pages, and possibly a search box. For example, a news website may present the headlines and first paragraphs of top stories, with links to the full articles, in a dynamic web page that reflects the popularity and recentness of stories.
A website may have multiple home pages, although most have one. Wikipedia, for example, has a home page at wikipedia.org, as well as language-specific home pages, such as en.wikipedia.org and de.wikipedia.org.
The majority of websites have a home page with underlying content pages, although some websites contain only a single page.
The uniform resource locator (URL) of a home page is most often of the form http://domain.tld/index.htm or http://domain.tld/default.htm, where "tld" refers to the top-level domain used by the website. However, if the /index.htm or /default.htm is omitted, the server will still serve the page. For example, http://www.example.com and http://www.example.com/index.html both refer to the example.com home page. The index.htm file is kept in the highest level of the directory the server is configured to serve.
If an index.htm home page has not been created for a web site, many web servers will default to display a list of files located in the site's directory, if the security settings of the directory permit. This list will include hyperlinks to the files, allowing for simple file sharing without maintaining a separate index file.
History of home pages
In the early days of the World Wide Web in the first half of the 1990s, an important part of Web pages belonged to students or teachers with a UNIX account in their university. System administrators of such systems installed an HTTP server pointing its root directory to the directory containing the users accounts. On UNIX, the base directory of an account is called "home", and the
HOME environment variable contains its path (for example
/home/nom_de_login). The URL of the home page is usually has the format
http://departement.universite.edu/~nom_de_login/. Thus the term home page appeared and then spread to its current usage.
Owing to the rise of social media sites, personal home pages are no longer as common as in the 1990s and 2000s.
A home page can also refer to the first page that appears upon opening a web browser, sometimes called the start page, although the home page of a website can be used as a start page. This start page can be a website, or it can be a page with various browser functions such as the display of thumbnails of frequently visited websites. Multiple websites can be set as a start page, to open in different tabs. Some websites are intended to be used as start pages, such as iGoogle (now defunct), My Yahoo!, and MSN.com, and provide links to commonly used services such as webmail and online weather forecasts.
A home page can also be used outside the context of web browsers, such as to refer to the principal screen of a user interface, frequently referred to as a home screen on mobile devices such as mobile phones.
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- Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
- World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
- The Internet Society (ISOC)