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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 was a Web "supersite" that provides search, news, blogs, discussion groups and shopping. General-purpose 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). Prior to the Web, CompuServe and AOL functioned as portals, aggregating information from various sources.

The "Vortal" Vertical Portal
Trade magazines, associations and special interest groups host vertical portals (vortals) that provide news and articles applicable to their industry. The vortal may include top news stories and weather, but search is typically limited to its own archives. See corporate portal, business intelligence portal and portal server.