A webmaster is a person who handles the maintenance of a website making sure that the web servers, hardware and software function systematically. He is the sole architect of the information contained in a website that includes both words and pictures. He has other responsibilities like designing the website, generating and revising web pages, replying to user comments and analyzing traffic through the site. A webmaster is generally qualified in HTML and other scripting languages like JavaScript, PHP and Perl. They may also require a thorough knowledge of configuring web servers such as Apache (web server software that played a significant role in the development of the World Wide Web) and serve as the server administrator.

Companies that hire a webmaster usually have different roles for them that depend on their requirements or financial state. In a smaller company, typical webmaster is responsible for many functions simultaneously. In a larger company, a webmaster is hired on account of their sound technical knowledge and programming skills and who has specialized in a certain area of expertise. There may be a team of webmasters who take over the overall corporate web design and policies and work with people who provide the company with its network infrastructure and supervise the design of the companys website. There may be additional web developers whose duties are to organize and develop the web content. All these various departments of webmasters inter-relate the creation of a website, content and organization, for the corporations intranet.

The essential qualities to look for in an efficient webmaster are intelligence, enthusiasm for web technology, exceptionally good communication skills, thoroughness and an eye for detail, integrity, ability to be an efficient team player, courtesy, professionalism, experience in web development and finally knowledge of Perl, UNIX, HTML, CGI and JavaScript. Other than constant maintenance of websites and their designs and management of web servers, they must also possess knowledge of Perl programming, maintenance of site maps, maintenance of mirror sites, assistance in site promotion, writing entries for the glossary, providing top level user support, maintenance of search engine index, HTML validation, generation of the top 100 page from the access logs, monitoring the error logs and reporting potential problems, verification on the validity of the links on the site, checking presentation and readability in different browsers available at various platforms, editing the content, maintenance of the quality and style of the site, finding, creating and installing tools to develop web content and eventually check them for consistency and development of interactive web applications.

Some of the most basic roles of a webmaster in general are as follows:

– HTML Authoring: They need an understanding of HTML 2.0, 3.2, 4, Dynamic HTML including other extensions like tables, frames, server-push/client-pull, server-side includes etc.

– CGI Scripting: Includes having knowledge of Perl, C and UNIX shell scripts.

– Basic Graphic Designing: Must possess the ability to develop attractive web pages that live up to the given standards.

– Internet Awareness: Must be well acquainted with issues concerning the Internet and the World Wide Web.

– General UNIX and PC (MS-Windows) awareness

– Basic knowledge of TCP/IP and Networking

– Graphic Designing skills: An apprehension of graphics applications and techniques like Photoshop, Fractal Painter, 3D modeling and so on.

– Customer Awareness: Must have the capacity to manage a professional relationship with the customers and work within their requirements.

– WWW Server Configuration: Must show proficiency in NCSA, CERN, Apache, and Netscape Commercial Server – including NSAPI.