Personal web page
Personal web pages are World Wide Web pages created by an individual to contain content of a personal nature. The content can be about that person or about something he or she is interested in. Personal web pages can be the entire content of a domain name belonging to the person (which would then be a personal website), or can be a page or pages that are part of a larger domain on which other pages are located - an example of one such larger site is GeoCities. Another example would be a student's website for school. Personal web pages are often used solely for informative or entertainment purposes. Defining personal web page is difficult, because many domains or combinations of web pages that are under the control of a single individual can be used by the individual for commercial purposes, ranging from just the presentation of advertising, to electronic commerce: the sale of goods, services or information; in fact eBay began as the personal web page of Pierre Omidyar.
Personal web pages may be as simple as a single page or may be as elaborate as an online database with gigabytes of data. Many Internet service providers offer a few megabytes of space for customers to host their own personal web pages.
The content of personal web pages varies and can, depending on the hosting server, contain anything that any other websites do. However, typical personal web pages contain images, text and a collection of hyperlinks. Many can contain biographical information, resumes, and blogs. Many personal pages will include information about the author's hobbies and pastimes, and information of interest to friends and family of the author.
Many people maintain personal web pages because they are the most effective medium to express their opinions or creative endeavours that, otherwise, simply would not have an outlet. These types of sites may contain short fiction such as short stories or samples of artwork. Other netizens view the concept of a personal web page with a more metaphysical bent, placing value in the concept of owning space in and "residing" in cyberspace and on the World Wide Web. This can also extend to the ownership of personal domain names and the associated personal web pages and e-mail addresses connected to those domains, although with the advent of affordable web hosting fewer people own or manage their own personal servers. Currently, the vast majority of casual internet users tend to utilize personal web pages included in the free services provided by social networking sites such as MySpace or Blogger.
Many celebrities (examples include actor William Shatner, author Stephen King, and singer Barbra Streisand) have websites. Were their owners not famous, these sites would generally be considered personal web pages. 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 pop star Michael Jackson and media mogul Martha Stewart, 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.
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.
A common pejorative term for a personal web page is vanity site. Also, since many personal web pages are produced by individuals who have limited experience with HTML and graphic design, often these sites are created with WYSIWYG HTML editors (like Microsoft Office FrontPage, NVU or site-specific Web templates) and clipart graphics. Because most personal websites are ultimately unprofitable they are often hosted for free in exchange for advertisements being placed on the web site. Hosting companies encourage their customers to upgrade to paid hosting to remove the adverts and for certain privileges such as server-side scripting. These criticisms were most notably leveled at the personal homepages created by users of free web hosting services such as GeoCities, Angelfire, and Tripod.com in the mid to late 1990s.