A URL, or Uniform Resource Locator, is the online address that you put into your browser’s address bar to access a website. It’s what allows you to navigate the internet.
What are URLs useful for? They let computers all around the world communicate about web pages and tell you where they are.
Any machine that is linked to the internet is given an IP address. This is similar to your physical address in that it informs online browsers such as Google and Yahoo where to find your machine.
The issue is that this IP address is just a string of integers. This implies that if you want to find a certain IP address, you’ll have to memorize these digits, which might be challenging for individuals who can’t even remember their own mobile phone number!
There is, however, a remedy. The Internet Domain Name System (DNS) has been put up to convert these IP addresses into the significantly more readily remembered URL.
When you enter a URL for a certain page into your browser, it transmits that URL to a Domain Name System. The DNS then converts the URL into an IP address for the desired page. The browser may then use the IP address to connect to a server and view the right web page.
A clear example of a URL is shown below:
Here are the basic components of a URL
Let’s break down the URL above for a better understanding. We’ll also address some elements you might encounter depending on the URL you visit.
https:// in URLs
The term “HTTP” refers to Hypertext Transfer Protocol. It informs the browser of the protocol that will be used to access the information supplied in the domain. An “HTTPS” protocol, which stands for “Hypertext Transfer Protocol Safe,” signifies that data sent over HTTP is encrypted and secure. Following the HTTP or HTTPS, a colon (:) and 2 forward slashes (//) distinguish the protocol from the remainder of the URL.
Following that, “www” is an abbreviation for World Wide Web and it is used to distinguish the content. This portion of the URL is optional and can be omitted at any moment. Typing “https://clouddevelop.org” will bring you to our website. The address part can also be used to refer to a vital sub-page known as a subdomain.
The domain name for the website is “clouddevelop.org.” The domain suffix, or TLD, is the final part of the domain name. It is used to identify the website’s kind or location. For example, “.com” stands for commercial, “.org” stands for organization, “. co.uk” is for the United Kingdom, .ca is for Canada, etc. There are a variety of domain suffixes available. To obtain a domain, you must first register the name with a domain registrar.
Lastly, /about/ provides information regarding the web page for the domain. Sometimes, there’s a trailing extension such as .htm, .html, .php etc indicating that it is an HTML file or otherwise. Each of these file extensions, like all of the other sorts of files on your computer, has a specific purpose.
This is only a brief overview of what a URL accomplishes; there is much more to it, but perhaps you now have a better understanding of what is being discussed when you see the term “URL.”
How do I locate my URL?
A URL is frequently seen in the browser’s address bar or Omnibox at the top of the screen. Unless your browser is shown in fullscreen mode, the URL is always visible on desktop PCs and laptops.
Once you scroll down, several tablet and smartphone browsers hide the address bar with the URL and only display the domain when it is visible. Scroll up the page if the address bar is not visible. If just the domain is displayed, touching the address bar displays the entire address.
How to Access a URL
By clicking a hyperlink, you may access a URL. For example, clicking this link takes you to a page that explains what a hyperlink is.
If a URL appears in written material that isn’t a hyperlink (e.g., an e-mail or a magazine), you can open the page by entering the URL in the browser address bar. If the URL is included in an e-mail, it can also be copied and pasted into the browser’s address bar.
How can I make my own URL?
Many social media networks, such as Instagram, and commerce platforms, such as Etsy, allow you to create custom directories that connect to your page. For instance, if the Cloud Develop Twitter profile is located at “twitter.com/clouddevelop,” this URL is not a whole URL but rather a part dedicated to Cloud Develop’s user profile.
A custom domain, such as “clouddevelop.org,” must be obtained from a domain name registrar in order to generate a truly unique URL. These firms sell domain names, which may be tied to your website(s) or redirected to any web page you like.
Typically, you must renew your domain name on a yearly basis. Domains are valued according to their marketability and historical usage. The pricing is also affected by domain suffixes such as .com, .net,.org, etc. Domain names, once acquired, can be moved between registrars or connected to other websites as long as you hold the domain.
Among the most well-known domain name registrars are:
- Domains by Google
Website builders such as WordPress, Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace also let you buy custom domain names that are instantly linked to your custom website.
Rules for Basic URL Syntax
A URL can only include numbers, letters, and the following characters: ()!$-‘ *+.
Other characters must be encoded (converted to computer code) before they may be accepted. Some URLs include parameters that separate them from other variables. For example, if you type clouddevelop into Google, you’ll get the following results:
The question mark indicates to a certain script housed on Google’s server that you wish to give it a specific command in order to obtain customized results.
The specific script used by Google to perform searches understands that anything following the ?q= section of the URL should be recognized as the search term, therefore whatever is written at that point in the URL is utilized to search on Google’s search engine.
Similar behavior may be seen in the URL of this YouTube search for top rabbit videos:
Although spaces are not permitted in URLs, some websites employ a + symbol, as shown in the Google and YouTube instances. Others use percent 20 as the encoded equivalent of a space.
Depending on the context, certain URLs can switch between arguments. When adding a timestamp to a YouTube video, a nice example may be viewed. Certain connections need the use of an ampersand, whereas others require the use of a question mark.
Anchors can also be used in URLs. These are located at the very end and specify where to go on that page when the link is clicked. When adding links to a web page, the hash symbol (#) is used to construct anchors. Here’s an example of an anchor in a Wikipedia entry that sends you to another area of the page:
Multiple variable URLs have one or more ampersands following the question mark. Here’s an example of an Amazon.com search for Windows 10:
The question mark before the first variable, URL, whereas the ampersand precedes the following variable, k. Additional variables would be preceded by an ampersand as well.
Some Vital Information About URLs that You Ought to Know
- If a URL leads to a file that your web browser can show, such as a JPG image, you don’t need to download it to your computer to view it. However, you will be required to download files that aren’t ordinarily shown in the browser, such as PowerPoint Presentation or DOCX files, and notably EXE files (and many other file formats).
- URLs allow us to easily access a server’s IP address without having to know the exact address. They’re like memorable IP addresses for our favorite websites. DNS servers are responsible for converting a URL to an IP address.
- Some URLs are extremely long and complicated and should be used as a link or copied and pasted into the browser’s address bar. A URL error might result in a 400-series HTTP status code error, the most frequent of which being a 404 error.
- If you try to access a page that doesn’t even exist on the server, you will receive a 404 error. These sorts of errors are so widespread that you’ll frequently encounter customized, often comic, versions of them on other websites. Try investigating the URL if you’re experiencing problems visiting a website or online file that you believe should be loading smoothly.
- The port name is not required in the majority of URLs. It is possible to open google.com by giving its port number at the end, such as http://www.google.com:80, although it is not required. If the website was running on port 8080, you could change the port and access the page that way.
- FTP sites utilize port 21 by default, although some may use port 22 or something else. If the FTP site does not use port 21, you must indicate which one it does in order to connect to the server successfully. The same idea applies to any URL that uses a different port than what the application used to access believes it’s using by default.
What about URL Shorteners?
Although URL shorteners have been here for a while, their popularity surged with the launch of Twitter. If you’re wondering what a URL shortener is, it’s an internet tool that transforms a long URL into a short one.
To shorten the URL, simply copy and paste it into the program of your choice, then click “shorten,” and you’ll have your condensed link in seconds.
While it is not always required to abbreviate a URL, there are a few reasons why you should:
A personalized, branded URL, especially on social networking sites with word limits or other link-sharing restrictions, helps users recognize that the post originated from you. Custom branding/link modification also makes it easier to recall URLs when sharing them offline.
When you abbreviate a URL, the customization appears cleaner, more professional, and personalized – especially when you use it to watermark infographics and other brand-related press materials.
Well-known link shortening websites, such as bit.ly, allow you to follow the activity of each shortened link over a certain period of time. This tracking feature complements urchin tracking modules (UTMs), which track clicks across individual campaigns, separating the analysis of traffic from one source (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, or Google) from the tracking of another.
What exactly is URL Redirection?
URL redirection, also recognized as domain redirection, URL forwarding, and domain forwarding, is a system that allows a webpage to be accessed via many URLs on the internet.
For example, if you own a company called ‘My Company Pvt. Ltd,’ abbreviated as ‘MCPL,’ your customers may try to reach your company’s home page via various links such as http://www.mycompany.com, [http://www.mycompanypvttld.com], http://www.mcpl.com, and so on.
As a result, your organization may register all of these domain names, and anytime someone searches for these domain names, you can send them to your real home page. A redirect URL can also be used to abbreviate a long affiliate URL.
Good URLs should be in the form of clouddevelop.org/about/ rather than clouddevelop.org/about.php?id=12. However, the latter is the type of URL generated by the majority of publishing platforms.
The goal is to have “virtual” URLs that appear simple and can be dynamically indexed. In reality, the URLs for your dynamic content can take whatever shape you like, while static information (which may also be on your server) can be accessed by its usual URL.
URL redirection may be used in a variety of ways. For starters, they offer easy-to-remember and consistent aliases. On the internet, we usually have long and complex sentences that are tough to recall.
URL redirection is preferable. Second, if you relocate your content to a different domain name but want to keep your visitor list, you may utilize URL redirection.
Additionally, URL redirection allows you to keep track of visitors to your website, such as where they are in the globe, which portions or domains of the site they visit, and so on.
URLs, like most other aspects of your website, are more complicated than they appear at first look. As a result, learning the fundamentals of URL creation is a wise decision. The race to the top of Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) is hotter than ever.
Businesses actively engage in Digital Marketing services, particularly SEO services, because the cost per lead is lower than that of sponsored or other channels. As a result, when you are taking care of every technical part of a website, don’t forget to examine the URL structure.