What is a Captive Portal?
By Stephen Bucaro
A internet portal is a website that serves as an entry point or gateway to a specific area
of interest. It provides links to content and other sites related to that area of interest. A portal
may provide membership and the ability to contact or chat with other members. Portals earn revenue
from membership fees and/or by selling advertising space on their webpages.
A captive portal is a webpage that is the only one on a website that a visitor is allowed
to view until they meet the requirements of the webpage. It may be displayed to new visitors before
they are granted access to the main website resources. A captive portal may be used present a page
where prospective members may accept the website's EULA (End User License Agreement), make application
and submit payment for membership, or if already a member, login.
Captive portals are commonly used by open wireless networks where the users are shown a message informing
them of the conditions of access.