Whether you want to beat the credit crunch, learn a new skill or just watch TV online, we've rounded up 59 must-have sites that will cover all your needs.

There's no doubt that the web has grown dramatically over the past 15 years, its become more entertaining, better looking and much more useful and practical too. There's now a wealth of information available at your fingertips, so whether you want to learn how to Rumba, get advice on fixing gadgets that have gone wrong or even just bear the credit crunch with some money saving tips, there's a website for you. We've trawled the web to bring you the 59 best sites offering the most useful and practical advice.

Survive the recession

There's a growing number of good websites that offer useful tools to help you manage and conserve your money. In a sour economy, sites like these are getting more attention (and site traffic) than ever before.

RetailMeNot
Find coupons (about 85,000, the site says) for thousands of stores across the globe, a number of which will ship to the UK. Many of them are sent in by site users, for others to use. It's not the only online coupon community, but it's the biggest and probably the best.

Kiva
Kiva allows you to extend a loan to a person in the third world who needs the money to get a small business off the ground, for example.

Pageonce
You've accumulated numerous online accounts from email to Facebook and they all have separate log-ins. PageOnce brings all of your accounts together in one dashboard where they're easy to access. But it does much more than store passwords: it also notifies you of any changes at them - from new email to new-friend requests on Facebook.

NEXT PAGE: 8 great How-To websites

  1. Everything you ever need on the web
  2. 8 great How-To websites
  3. Sites for buying, selling and renting almost anything
  4. Fitness and travel
  5. People-finding sites
  6. Store, share, create and publish content
  7. Get local content on your mobile
  8. Specialty sites you should know about

Visit Broadband Advisor for the latest internet news, reviews, tips & tricks

Whether you want to beat the credit crunch, learn a new skill or just watch TV online, we've rounded up 59 must-have sites that will cover all your needs.

8 great How-To websites

Because of sites such as Yahoo Answers and Instructables, where content is created and contributed largely by the communities of people that frequent the sites, the web has become the first stop for people trying to fix something, build something, or learn a new skill. Here are our favourites.

Yahoo Answers
One of the best examples of community participation on the net. At Yahoo Answers, regular folks write in questions (How do I get the ring around the collar off of my white dress shirt and make it white again?) and site users offer helpful answers. The answers are rated on usefulness by other users.

HowStuffWorks
The perfect site for the endlessly curious, it lifts up the hood on everything from carburetors to communism and explains in simple terms what they are and how they work. The explanations aren't very deep, but it's the breadth of the topics the site explains that's so impressive.

Lynda.com
To learn how to use new software, we used to sit in darkened hotel conference rooms watching a bored instructor drone on with a training demo and a laser pointer. Or we bought a manual to go it alone. Neither of those approaches works nearly as well as the subscription-based online videos offered by Lynda.com, which teaches you to use just about any creative, design, and development software you can think of.

Instructables
Learn how to make anything from a corsage to a catapult. Users write in about what they do or have invented, and how they did it. The site originated with guys at the MIT Media Lab who needed a place to demonstrate their latest inventions.

FixYa

Your iPod just flat-lined. Don't panic, and don't throw it. At FixYa, a team of experts and a large group of users address common tech and gadget breakdowns and how to fix them. You can get help by posting a message on the site or by having a web chat with one of the experts.

Treehugger
Here you can find a lot of information on how to live greener every day. The site specialises in covering the 'green' aspects of many parts of life - everything from food to business to recreation to fashion. You'll also find news and views on the Green Movement.

Livemocha
Livemocha (in beta) is a new, free approach to learning new languages, enhancing the process by establishing learning alliances with 'language buddies' from around the globe.

Dictionary.com/Thesaurus.com
The English language is complicated, and in some ways, illogical. As such, I need a good user's manual for it almost every day. Here it is.

NEXT PAGE: Sites for buying, selling and renting almost anything

  1. Everything you ever need on the web
  2. 8 great How-To websites
  3. Sites for buying, selling and renting almost anything
  4. Fitness and travel
  5. People-finding sites
  6. Store, share, create and publish content
  7. Get local content on your mobile
  8. Specialty sites you should know about

Visit Broadband Advisor for the latest internet news, reviews, tips & tricks

Whether you want to beat the credit crunch, learn a new skill or just watch TV online, we've rounded up 59 must-have sites that will cover all your needs.

Sites for buying, selling, and renting almost anything

The web is a giant meeting place for buyers and sellers of all kinds. Whether we are trying to find communities of people who buy and sell the same things we do, or are seeking ‘wisdom of the crowd' opinion on potential buys, the internet is often the first place we look.

Craigslist

Want ads work so much better on the web than in print that newspaper want ads are all but extinct. You can buy, sell, or rent just about anything, anywhere on this no-nonsense site.

Freecycle
This grassroots, non-profit site organises and connects (via Yahoo Groups) people who might like to trade items within their own communities. It works really well for finding someone to come over and get that one useless thing out of your house, but not into a landfill.

Zilok
Whereas Freecycle focuses on giving or trading, Zilok focuses on renting. The site hosts rental listings from people in your community for things you might need to use only once - a power tool, a picnic table, a warehouse space, a van - things you'd usually be far better off renting than buying outright.

Find and watch TV and movies online

Web TV is everywhere online these days; these sites aggregate, organise, or host great-looking online video content of all kinds.

OVGuide

This is the biggest aggregator of links to online video I've encountered to date. One caveat: Some of the video sites featured seem to contain pirated video ripped from DVDs. The company's stance? "OVGuide.com simply directs you to the site; it is not responsible for the content on the sites."

NinjaVideo
I heard about Ninja through word of mouth and assumed that, like most of the "awesome video sites" I hear about, it would list a bunch of great titles - none of which would play. Wrong. I downloaded a small plug-in and began watching just-released movies and premium TV shows in no time, for free.

Truveo
Using this all-video search engine, you can search for TV shows from US networks or provider hosting online content, including ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and others.

NEXT PAGE: Fitness and travel

  1. Everything you ever need on the web
  2. 8 great How-To websites
  3. Sites for buying, selling and renting almost anything
  4. Fitness and travel
  5. People-finding sites
  6. Store, share, create and publish content
  7. Get local content on your mobile
  8. Specialty sites you should know about

Visit Broadband Advisor for the latest internet news, reviews, tips & tricks

Whether you want to beat the credit crunch, learn a new skill or just watch TV online, we've rounded up 59 must-have sites that will cover all your needs.

Fitness and travel

A growing number of sites help people to manage their diet, exercise, and health issues while also giving them a way to interact with others doing the same. Meanwhile when it comes to travel there's a wealth of websites that let you draw on other people's holiday experiences.

FitDay
This site helped me work off 10 pounds by forcing me to report honestly the foods that I was eating every day and their calorie counts. No more denial (that donut couldn't have been more that 75 calories!). FitDay isn't the only site that does this, but the breadth and depth of its food information and its easy-to-use layout lift it above the rest.

iMedix

Although social networking sites are everywhere, many are focused on little worth talking about. iMedix (in beta), however, helps people form communities around their health issues (cancer, depression, and so on), so they can network with each other and share relevant news and research information.

RealAge
Fill out a health questionnaire at this site, and it reports your 'physical age' (the age of your body), which you can then compare with your chronological age. If you're in good shape, your body may be 35, even though your calendar age is 45. Or vice versa, if you aren't fit. Either way, the site produces a detailed health plan to lower your physical age.

Tripit
This beta site brings all the travel information you need to one place, and it works very well. So, before your next trip, use this tool to make a master itinerary, integrating every possible detail of your journey, from restaurants to rental cars to what the weather is going to be like.

Kayak
Here's the online travel agent de jour. Punch in your dates and destinations, and Kayak brings back price quotes from most of the major airlines; it also checks in with other aggregators (such as Expedia and Travelocity) to capture the best deals they have. Kayak lets you view and compare fares in list, matrix, or chart views, and even provides a calendar showing the best rates that other users have found for trips similar to yours.

TripAdvisor
Here's the 'wisdom of the crowd' view for travellers. Reading its numerous negative reviews of a hotel I almost stayed at in Spain saved me from what would surely have been a bad experience. Besides hotels, the site also hosts reviews of flights, cruises, and restaurants.

RoadsideAmerica
Here's a wonderful tool for those who have a taste for road trips. It's the definitive guide to crazy and offbeat roadside attractions in the States.

PlanetEye

To plan a trip to Rome, I logged in to this beta site. It had just about everything I needed, including local news and blogs from an area expert, which clued me in to bargains and seasonal goings-on that would be happening during my stay.

Lonely Planet
Read this site's Thorn Tree Forum posts (organised by travel destinations around the world), and you'll find discussions among folks who have just returned from the place(s) you may wish to visit. Many of the posts are by people who have been to the destination a number of times - veterans who should have a lot of good advice to share with first-time visitors.

NEXT PAGE: People-finding sites

  1. Everything you ever need on the web
  2. 8 great How-To websites
  3. Sites for buying, selling and renting almost anything
  4. Fitness and travel
  5. People-finding sites
  6. Store, share, create and publish content
  7. Get local content on your mobile
  8. Specialty sites you should know about

Visit Broadband Advisor for the latest internet news, reviews, tips & tricks

Whether you want to beat the credit crunch, learn a new skill or just watch TV online, we've rounded up 59 must-have sites that will cover all your needs.

Find people

Here are the best sites for locating people and companies.These sites use cool, web 2.0 techniques to help you locate people, then (if need be) dig deep to find the ‘sensitive' info about them you need.

FriendFeed
Many content sharing and social networking sites exist now - Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and so on - and my friends seem to be spread out evenly among them. I don't have time to visit them all. FriendFeed crawls more than 40 such sites to keep you updated on the web pages, photos, videos, and music that your friends are sharing or commenting on.

Spock
This site looks for a person's school, work and social affiliations, then displays photos, links to social network pages, web sites, videos and blogs about that person.

Facebook
I know, I know, recommending Facebook is like recommending that you wear sunblock at the beach. But, really, what social-networking site is more functional, more organised, and more populous than this one?

Glassdoor
This site invites you to log in and anonymously write what you really think of the company you work for, the culture you work in (here's where you gripe about your boss), and the salary you're pulling down. Then (and only then) can you dig for some dirt on current or former coworkers and, best of all, see how much they make.

NEXT PAGE: Store, share, create and publish content

  1. Everything you ever need on the web
  2. 8 great How-To websites
  3. Sites for buying, selling and renting almost anything
  4. Fitness and travel
  5. People-finding sites
  6. Store, share, create and publish content
  7. Get local content on your mobile
  8. Specialty sites you should know about

Visit Broadband Advisor for the latest internet news, reviews, tips & tricks

Whether you want to beat the credit crunch, learn a new skill or just watch TV online, we've rounded up 59 must-have sites that will cover all your needs.

Store, share, create and publish content

With better broadband speeds and advances in server center technology, sites that are willing to host large amounts of your data are popping up everywhere, and some are free. Other sites take your photos or other content and help you turn them into something fun to watch and listen to.

Drop.io
Here, you can dump up to 100MB of pictures, video, audio, documents, or whatever into a personal folder, and then share the URL (it would look something like 'drop.io/yourname1') with family or friends. It's super-easy to use, and my favorite hosting and sharing site.

eSnips

At this center for social file sharing, you can store cool content, from documents to music tracks, online, and then easily access your 'snips' at a later date and share the content with other users. But what makes eSnips different is that it's really a social network that provides users ample opportunity to discuss the things they're storing and sharing.

Picasa Web Albums
Flickr is so 2007. Google's Picasa web albums does the same kind of stuff (that is, organising and sharing your photos), with a smarter and friendlier interface.

Lulu

You're a genius, and your book is brilliant - the world just doesn't know it yet. Go to Lulu, which will help you self-publish hard copies of your masterpiece at reasonable rates. Its services range from design to marketing.

Animoto

Animoto takes your still photos and stitches them together into a little animated film using cool effects, and then adds music. It's free and easy to use, and the result is well worth the small effort.

Photosynth
If you really want someone to experience what it's like to visit a place you've been to (a foreign city, an art gallery, a local pub, whatever) this site - developed by Microsoft's Live Labs research arm - assembles your digital photos to create a high-res 3D walk-through that people can enjoy via a web browser.

Capzles
Here you can make digital slide shows on steroids. Capzles creates highly controllable and information-rich slide shows of your photos, complete with background images and music.

Vimeo
Vimeo is arguably the best video sharing and hosting site right now because of its generous file-size allowances, as well as its focus on professional-grade filmmaking from people who live and breathe it. Worth checking out.

Sprout
Sprout is the easiest way to assemble your own Flash-style widgets, which you can then embed in your site or blog.

NEXT PAGE: Get local content on your mobile

  1. Everything you ever need on the web
  2. 8 great How-To websites
  3. Sites for buying, selling and renting almost anything
  4. Fitness and travel
  5. People-finding sites
  6. Store, share, create and publish content
  7. Get local content on your mobile
  8. Specialty sites you should know about

Visit Broadband Advisor for the latest internet news, reviews, tips & tricks

Whether you want to beat the credit crunch, learn a new skill or just watch TV online, we've rounded up 59 must-have sites that will cover all your needs.

Sites that offer local content

Sites that help you access your world are big, and they're especially helpful when you can surf them on mobile devices like the iPhone.

OpenTable

OpenTable is simply the biggest and best-connected site for making dining reservations online. It has wisely added a mobile app so that you can easily select and make reservations while you're away from home.

Chowhound
My foodie friends say this is the place to go to dig up great restaurants, recipes, cooking and dining stories and blogs, and good discussions about food and drink.

Google News
The simplicity of Google News' design makes it the fastest and easiest way I've seen to organise and read news on a mobile phone.

Google Maps
Compared with other mapping sites, I find Google Maps to be simpler, more versatile, and easier to use on mobile devices. When you're moving around, on foot or on wheels, such attributes become very important.

Music and literature

Life's a lot better with good music, film and books. Sites like Pandora and Metacritic will keep you on a steady diet of both.

Pitchfork
One the first independent-music websites, and arguably still the best. Not too much about Justin Timberlake here, but plenty on new indie releases. Be sure to check out the PitchforkTV beta for fresh documentaries on music legends.

Metacritic

At this site you can read fresh criticism about new (mainstream) films, DVDs, music, TV, and games. The content selection is broad, and the reviews are well written and fair.

Last.fm
This site is a social network formed around something that people want to talk about: music. I've discovered several new bands as a result of lurking on Last.fm. It really became a contender, when it began allowing users to stream full songs (not just low-quality samples) at its site.

NEXT PAGE: Specialty sites you should know about

  1. Everything you ever need on the web
  2. 8 great How-To websites
  3. Sites for buying, selling and renting almost anything
  4. Fitness and travel
  5. People-finding sites
  6. Store, share, create and publish content
  7. Get local content on your mobile
  8. Specialty sites you should know about

Visit Broadband Advisor for the latest internet news, reviews, tips & tricks

Whether you want to beat the credit crunch, learn a new skill or just watch TV online, we've rounded up 59 must-have sites that will cover all your needs.

Specialty sites you should know about

Learn to rumba at Ballroomdancers.com, find out what 'fampooling' means at WordSpy, master thrilling guitar solos at Vanderbilly, or write email in Arabic with Babelfish.

Vanderbilly
Tonight's the night you'll finally learn how to play the 'Stairway to Heaven' guitar solo with this site.

Wine Library TV
Watch cheeky videos that help you discover the differences among dry German Riesling wines.

Emily Post Institute
'I've seen people do it on TV, and I really want to photocopy my buttocks on the Xerox machine at work. Is this considered appropriate?' This guide to etiquette will tell you.

Ballroom Dancing
Darn it all, you want to learn to rumba. But not in public. From the foxtrot to the cha-cha, this site will teach you all the great dances in the privacy of your own home.

Internet Archive
What did eBay's home page look like on May 14, 1997? Hop in the Wayback Machine to find out with this net archive.

Charity search
You'd like to donate to charities just by clicking around the internet as you always do. GoodSearch is a search engine that splits its advertising revenues 50-50 with charities and schools.

WikiHow
Want clear instructions on how to throw a wicked curve with a Wiffle ball? What about steps to make a duct tape wallet? Visit this site.

Babel Fish
So you want to learn the 'Star-Spangled Banner' in Spanish. Babel Fish translates whole paragraphs of text into and out of English.

Finnegans Web
You want to read James Joyce's notoriously difficult Ulysses or Finegans Wake, but you're afraid, very afraid, and you need someone to help you through it, then visit Finnegans Web.

Shakespearean Insulter
You want to hurl insults just as the Bard did, as in "Thou mammering swag-bellied yard ape...". To learn, visit the Shakespearean Insulter.

Hubblesite
Just want to turn on some Pink Floyd and gaze far out into the universe? See it though the lens of the Hubble Telescope (Pink Floyd not included).

The Occultopedia
I need to get the real story on the mysterious Chupacabra (goat-sucker). And why are they still covering up what happened at Area 51? Visit the Occultopedia.

Wordspy
You heard someone in the lunch room say 'murketing.' Then, just a couple of hours later, someone explained how they've started 'fampooling'. You need to know what these fresh entrants into the lexicon mean, check out Wordspy.

  1. Everything you ever need on the web
  2. 8 great How-To websites
  3. Sites for buying, selling and renting almost anything
  4. Fitness and travel
  5. People-finding sites
  6. Store, share, create and publish content
  7. Get local content on your mobile
  8. Specialty sites you should know about
  9. Visit Broadband Advisor for the latest internet news, reviews, tips & tricks