There are two major types of portals called General Portals and Niche Portals. Below we have defined both in detail along with what differentiate a portal from a website.
There are general portals and niche portals. General portals serve the needs of a wide variety of users, for example, news websites are also portals as they aggregate different types of information or news and display them on a single platform e.g. msn.com, yahoo.com. Often, such portals not only provide news but recent stock updates, currency rates, and Coronavirus spread updates, etc.
Niche based on domain-specific portals targets a specific type of user. For example, a portal for gardening enthusiasts may provide a variety of information related to gardening e.g. buying seeds, gardening-related informational content, a forum to post plants related issues, buying or selling used or new products used in a garden. In the same way, a niche portal developed to serve the needs of investors, publish information and provide tools to help members do better investments. For example, it can provide which stocks or businesses to invest in to yield better dividends. It may publish historic records to tell members how different stocks performed in the past to help them in making a better and informed decision regarding the new investments.
In the same way, a university portal may target students, staff, and faculty. It may provide different modules to store and publish students' attendance records, publish sports events details, help to record academic performance in different subjects and may help to generate academic performance result cards. It can also serve features required to manage employees’ record, their leave applications, and to manage their appraisals process, etc.
Portals aggregate different types of information and services in a single web application, as opposed to normal websites. For example, if a company runs an e-commerce store, their website lists products the company sells or other related information e.g. contact information, about the company, etc. That means these websites focus on a single objective i.e. making online sales. In the same way, a website that publishes recent stock rates only also serves a single objective. A search engine e.g. google.com is not a portal, as it also serves the single objective i.e. listing web pages that potentially contain information users are looking for. If you are reading this, most probably a search engine directed you to this page, as you were looking for portal information or facing an issue related to portal sign-in.