Personal web page
Personal web pages are World Wide Web web pages created by an individual to contain content of a personal nature rather than on behalf of a company, organization or institution. Personal web pages are often used solely for informative or entertainment purposes.
Also often used interchangeably with the term "personal web page" are the terms; "personal web site", "personal home page", or most commonly just "home page". These terms do not usually refer to just a single "page" or HTML file, but to a collection of pages and related files under a common URL or Web address. In strictly technical terms, a site's actual home page (index page) often only contains sparse content with some interesting or catchy introductory material and serves mostly as a pointer or table of contents to the content-rich pages inside, such as résumés, family, hobbies, family genealogy, a blog, opinions, online journals and diaries or other writing, work, sound clips, movies, photos, or other interests. Many personal pages only include information of interest to friends and family of the author.
Since the early 1990s most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have provided a free small personal, user-created page along with free Usenet News service. These were all considered part of full Internet service. Also several free web hosting services such as Geocities provided free web space for personal web pages. These free web hosting services would typically include web-based site management and a few pre-configured scripts to easily integrate an input form or guestbook script into the user's site. Since the early 2000s, the rise of blogging eased the creation of personal web pages further, with portable, free ready-made blogging scripts and applications such as My Blog. At the same time, a personal web presence became easier with the increased popularity of social networking services, some with blogging platforms such as LiveJournal and Blogger provided an attractive and easy-to-use CMS.
With the collapse of the dot-com bubble at the turn of the century the ISP industry consolidated, and the focus of web hosting services shifted away from the surviving ISP companies to independent Internet hosting services and to ones with other affiliations. For example, many university departments and television companies provided personal pages for professors or on-air personalities as a perquisite. Web hosting companies either charge a monthly fee, or provide service that is "free" (advertising based) for personal web pages. These are priced or limited according to the total size of all files in bytes on the host's hard drive, or by bandwidth, (traffic), or by some combination of both. For those customers who continue to use their ISP for these services, national ISPs commonly continue to provide both disk space and help including ready-made drop-in scripts.
Many people maintain personal web pages as a medium to express opinions or creative endeavors that otherwise would not have an outlet. They also provide a link from the world to the individual along the lines of a telephone book listing.
For those not well-versed in HTML and other Web technologies, personal accounts with social networking services may be faster to set up for creating a simple personal Web presence (due in part to the communal nature of social networks), provided that the page's author does not object to the network's online advertising and in some cases exclusion of readers who do not wish to open an account. Institutions such as universities often provide home page facilities to their members which are both advertisement-free and world-readable without registration, although the content might be subject to institutional rules.
A personal web page can be used for self promotion, to provide quick access to information, or just as something "cool". They can be used to get in touch with strangers, and to create and define one's own identity online, lest others do it. It can offer context for various online activities, building a mosaic out of what would otherwise be baffling fragments. It can be used to correct the record on something, or clear up potential confusion between you and someone with the same name.
Both individual, personal web sites and personal social networking accounts give the user a personally customized Web presence. In the 21st century most casual internet users join free social networking services such as Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ accounts to serve many of the same purposes as a personal webpage without having to study web design. Yet that prerequisite in many cases does not exist, where the Web hosting service provides more help and simple solutions to Web page creation. Social network's prefabricated "black box" structures are much simpler to begin using and navigating, but impose limitations to formatting, amount of content, type of content, etc. For example, most social networks have rules regarding casual users uploading audio files to their account. Furthermore these companies intentionally retain the specific service's look and feel and identity of each user personal account within that corporate social network. The emphasis there is on being part of a branded "network," not on the "personal," or the individual. Thus, these accounts are not normally thought of as (personal) web sites or home pages.
There are other differences. Unlike actual personal web pages, social networking services and ad-based "free" web hosting service personnel and nanny-bots can see everything inside the user accounts, and rules are enforced by the firm, not by the courts as would be the case with a personally owned, full-featured personal web page. However some social services allow the display of almost any content or media produced by the site's creator. This avenue of distribution satisfies most amateurs and aspiring content creators. Web site creation tools permitted by some companies have the potential to allow users more flexibility.
As a rule of thumb, the amount of creative freedom one is allowed in creating a personal Web page can be predicted by the site's URL. A pure URL similar to www.yourname.com predicts total ownership and the resulting rights. But a shared-name URL similar to www.yourname.home.othercompany.com suggests account rental and regulations which benefit or protect Othercompany Inc.
"Free" sites based in advertising revenue face the dilemma that while relaxation of the rules encourages users to post their feelings and content with less fear of being censored or shut down, it also increases the risk of an offended sponsor pulling its sponsorship. With more upload and content freedom comes an increased risk of copyright and other lawsuits. With a freedom of infinite personal choice would come a loss in page uniformity. In short, if a social networking company allowed total personal freedom of content, it also risks a degradation of its own look-and-feel, branding, function, and profit. Yet this balance of interests seems to currently be leading toward more user choices and a narrowing of the differences between personal web sites and other personal web presence providers.
Official celebrity sites
Many celebrities have websites. Were their owners not famous, some might think due to their tone and personal ambiance that these sites were personal web pages. However, the celebrity is the product being sold, and the website is typically professionally authored and maintained at professional costs. The celebrity status of the subject and the existence of separate fan-created sites (over which the celebrity in question has no direct control) leads a personal site authorized by the celebrity and maintained by an individual or company directly associated with the celebrity to be labeled an "official website". This designation is often a seal of approval and an assurance to the public that the information provided on the site (including press releases, tour dates, and promotional materials) has been authored or approved by the celebrity in question. Some celebrities involved in criminal and civil trials, such as late pop star Michael Jackson and media mogul Martha Stewart, as well as celebrity chef Paula Deen establish official websites to issue statements to the press and to respond to statements and press releases issued by the prosecuting officials.
Most celebrity sites are created and maintained by marketing and web professionals employed by the celebrity or the celebrity's publicist; however, some celebrities, such as film director Roger Avary, actor Wil Wheaton, and video game developer John Romero, maintain their own official sites without professional help, although many of them still use third-party templates and blogging software.
Sites of academics
Academic professionals (especially at the college and university level) are often given space for creating and storing personal web documents, including personal web pages, on the sites of their employers. This goes back to the dawn of the World Wide Web and its original purpose of quickly and easily sharing research papers.
- "People's Personal Web Sites - People Tell About Themselves" ..."some great personal Web sites" -- about.com.
- comcast.com: Your free "Personal Web Page comes with the latest features and 1GB[dead link] (gigabyte) of online storage space."
- Eight Clever Things You Can Do with Your Underused Personal Domain Name - lifehacker.com
- Motivation for: "A Web Page of One's Own" - WSJ.com -- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121562102257039585.html
- Comcast.com, help-and-support -- "Get started with [free] Personal Web Pages[dead link]"