What is a URL?

What is a URL?

We explain what a URL is, what it’s for and how it works. In addition, the parts of a URL and its main features.

What is a URL

A URL makes it possible to locate and retrieve certain information on the Internet.

The standard sequence of characters that identifies and enables a given information to be located and retrieved on the Internet is referred to as the Uniform Resource Locator (URL).

What we write in the box of the browser to visit a certain web page, commonly referred to as “address”, is precisely its URL.

Just as in real life every home or business has a mailing address necessary to send you something by mail, on the Internet every resource (image, video, text, audio or website) has an associated address, which is necessary to have access to information.

Therefore, when we visit a website, we enter your address and receive it in the browser. But within it, every photograph, text or resource of some kind also has an associated URL, with which it can be retrieved to carry out the “assembly” of the web page as a whole.

In addition, when clicking on a certain hyperlink, it will take us to another URL, either a new web page or simply to view alone some of the resources of the previous one.

For example, the most popular search engine on the web, “Google”, responds to the URL http://www.google.com in general, but its customized national versions have slightly different addresses: http://www.google.com.ar (Argentina),
http://www.google.com.ve (Venezuela), http://www.google.com.br (Brazil).

What is a URL for?

With a URL you can search for images, download files, among many other things.

As mentioned above, a URL is a specific address within the informative ocean of the Internet.

It is used to locate different data and information that are necessary for the on-line navigation experience, that is to say, to build the Web pages and to give the user punctual access to everything that he wants to visit within the network.

Thus, introducing the URL of an image will take us to it; that of a specific file will take us to download it, and that of an on-line program to execute it, all within the capabilities and specifications of the web browser we are using for it.


URLs have the present characteristics:

Accuracy. URLs must be written accurately to produce the expected result. Any error in the string will prevent the desired information from being retrieved.

Sequence. URLs are a sequence of ordered details, which must be entered in precise sequence, such as a postal address.

Unicity. Each URL is unique to a resource or web page, no two are the same or two different that lead to the exact same element (although there may be many versions of the same element, say, a photograph, or there may be many pages using the same URL to retrieve it).

Parts of a URL

The domain is the name and type of service provided by whoever has what we are looking for.

Each URL consists of a sequence of parts, alluding to specific information about the location of the resource, that can be viewed separately:

Network protocol

Http, Https, mailto and ftp are the main web protocols that head a URL, telling the machine what type of connection it should make and which is the specific language that will be spoken with the computer or network of computers that will provide the information to the user.

Service Www, www2, etc., are the possible on-line information support services, of which the World Wide Web is the most popular.

Domain, type of domain and country

This is the “name” of the company providing the information, or the project or network or computer where they are located, that is, the specific name of who has what we are looking for; also the type of service it provides: commercial (.com), educational (.edu), etc., and the country to which it belongs: Argentina (.ar), Brazil (.br), Italy (.it), etc.

Path and file name

The folders and directories in which the specific resource is located within the server computer (which provides the information).

URL Chronology – website

Most browsers retain a chronology or history of the URLs visited, such as a record of the addresses that were used to request information.

These data are usually sensitive and protected by security mechanisms, since unscrupulous interests in the network could access them and collect personal information about the user’s browsing habits, thus violating their privacy.

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