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  • A portal is a door or entrance ...
  • A web portal is a website that offers various services through a centralized interface. Today, most organizational websites are portals.

This article only aims to provide a short overview and refers to other articles in this wiki (e.g. you may follow the links in typology section).


We may classify portals according to these three dimensions:

  1. Information portals: e.g. news, knowledge
  2. Transaction portals: e.g. sales, registration
  3. Collaboration portals: e.g. file sharing, discussion

Most popular kinds

This is not a strict classification. Some of the entries may also have traits from other categories. In particular, business or educational organizations may centralize all services in some kind of "vertical portal" (with various access rights).


  • Large Internet access portals, such as Yahoo or MSN
  • Information portals such as CNN
  • Participatory information portals such as Slashdot

Expertise and knowledge portals

  • Experience sharing portals such as epinions
  • Collaborative encyclopedias such as the Wikipedia
  • (Specific) knowledge management portals

Commerce and service

  • Commerce Portals, such as Amazon
  • Service portals, such as Swiss railways
  • Commerce and service portals also can be categorized as a combination of "B2x" portals:
    • business-to-employee electronic commerce (B2E) portal
    • business-to-consumer (B2C)
    • business-to-business (B2B)
    • business-to-dealer/distributor (B2D)
    • business-to-government (B2G)


  • Enterprise portals (frameworks for integrating information, applications, and processes across organizational boundaries)
  • Campus-wide information and administration systems
  • Learning management systems


Technology-based typology

See the list of portalware.



  • Most open source portalware is based on some sort of LAMP architecture, but java-based architectures are also popular (in particular within computer science communities). See individual entries in the technology-based typology above.
  • Enterprise portals probably rely mostly on some java-based technology, although the Microsoft .Net architecture is gaining in popularity.

List of portalware

See portalware.


  • Web services
    • Transport, e.g. HTTP
    • XML-based messaging, e.g. XML-RPC, SOAP or REST
    • Service description, e.g. WSDL
    • Service discovery
  • In the Java World:
    • Java Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE),
    • Portlets (JSR 168
  • Data standards
    • In DSchneider's opinion, there is a blatant lack of data standards, e.g. it is very difficult to move data from platform to an other.
    • In education, various IMS standards try to address this issue.