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    What Is URL and What Should You Know About It?

    Inspiration

    A URL is a vital term when navigating the internet. Whether you are a casual internet browser or an IT specialist, you already use URLs in your daily life.

    We will dive into URLs, why they are essential, and how to get more knowledge and use from something you are already using each day!

    Table of Contents

    What Is URL?

    URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. URLs are sometimes also called web addresses or domain addresses, even though a domain and web address are only a tiny part of the URL.

    Looking at the top of this page now, if you click on the address bar, you will see the string designating the page’s web address. This is the page’s unique URL.

    Everyone that uses the internet uses URLs. A URL is a specific way of navigating to your desired place.

    With the correct URL, you can get to the website of any non-password-protected webpage on the internet.

    What is the importance of URLs?

    URLs bring uniformity to data and domain searches. Think about physical building addresses. Imagine that home addresses were NOT standard. Instead of a house number, street name, city, (state), and country, each person created their own address that didn’t follow any sort of pattern.

    It would be chaos. How would the mailman get information where it needed to go?

    In the same way, a URL is important because it brings structure and order to digital addresses.

    What are URLs important?

    URLs bring uniformity to data and domain searches. Think about physical building addresses. Imagine that home addresses were NOT standard. Instead of a house number, street name, city, (state), and country, each person created their own address that didn’t follow any sort of pattern.

    It would be chaos. How would the mailman get information where it needed to go?

    In the same way, a URL is important because it brings structure and order to digital addresses.

    What are URLs, and why are they essential? Let's get more knowledge and use from something you are already using each day!

    What is the structure of a URL?

    As mentioned above, URLs are a structured form for finding web addresses. Each part of the URL tells a piece of which address you want to go to.

    There is a lot of variance to a URL, but we will cover all of the basics here. 

    The protocol

    The first piece of a URL is the protocol. The protocol is almost always hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) or the secure version of the same protocol (HTTPS).

    https://www.example.com/url

    The domain

    The next piece of a URL is the domain. The domain is the part that we think of as the website. Some examples of domains are “google.com” or “bing.com.”

    https://www.example.com/url

    The Slash

    A few optional pieces come next that tell the website how to retrieve information from the domain, but the most common is a “/” that acts as a path separating the domain from a specific web address.

    https://www.example.com/url

    Finally, any URL that goes further than the domain default will need a web page or file path. Think of a URL without a web page as one that will bring you to the home menu instead of the specific page you wanted.

    Things to note about URLs

    There are several things to note about URLs.

    • Some characters can’t be in a URL. A URL can only contain characters in the American Standard Code for Information Interchange, and a URL cannot have a space in the middle.
    • URLs aren’t the only form of uniform resource identifiers (URI), but they are the most common.
    • URLs can designate email, file transfer (FTP), and access to databanks, not just website location.

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      Main Takeaways

      URLs are an important and structured way of assigning names to web pages so that internet users can find them.

      Everyone uses URLs, but not everyone understands them. Their structure is logical, and each part has meaning.

      Here, we laid the foundation for what a URL is and some of the basics about how URLs work.

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