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Definition: portal


(1) See Meta Portal.

(2) A website that provides interactive services for users, not just links to other pages. Any site that stores a user's personal data can be called a portal; for example, a banking, telephone or medical website.

(3) The original meaning of portal is a Web "supersite" that provides search, news, blogs, discussion groups and shopping. Portals such as Yahoo!, MSN and AOL also offer free email, while TV network and newspaper portals do not. Some portals allow the home page to be personalized (see personal portal).

The "Vortal" Vertical Portal
A portal term that was used for a while was the "vortal," which is a vertical portal for trade magazines, associations and special interest groups. Vortals provide news and articles applicable to their industry, and although it may include top news stories and weather, any search option is typically limited. See corporate portal, business intelligence portal and portal server.