Follow Us:
Home Portfolio About Us Services Request Quotation Web Coding Class Blog Contact Us

AMZ IT Solutions

We Build Websites & Web Applications

What Is A URL?

Date: 22 Feb 2023 | Author: Naim Zulkipli
What Is A URL?


The internet has become an integral part of our lives, and one of its most important components is the URL. You may have heard of the term “URL” before, but don't really know what it is. Understanding URLs can be one of the most effective ways to avoid falling victim to phishing scams. A URL, or Uniform Resource Locator, is a string of characters that identifies a specific web page, document, or other resource on the internet. URLs allow us to navigate the vast expanse of the web and access the information we need quickly and easily.

The concept of a URL dates back to the early days of the internet, when it was known as ARPANET. At that time, the internet was a relatively small network used primarily by researchers and academics. As the internet grew and became more widely used, the need for a standardized way to identify and access resources on the network became apparent.

In 1994, Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, proposed the idea of a URL as a way to standardize web addresses. The first URL was created for the CERN website, which was the birthplace of the World Wide Web. Since then, URLs have become an integral part of the web, and they are used billions of times each day to access information from all over the world. If you want to gain a more in-depth understanding of URLs and the web in general, a highly popular book is “Weaving the Web: The Original Design and Ultimate Destiny of the World Wide Web”. This book is highly popular because it is written by the inventor of the World Wide Web himself, Tim Berners-Lee.

Understanding how URLs work is essential for anyone who uses the internet, and even more essential for aspiring web developers. In this article, we'll explore the history of URLs, how they work, and why they are so important. We'll also discuss some of the common components of a URL and how they are used to identify web pages and other resources on the internet. By the end of this article, you'll have a better understanding of how the web works and how URLs play a crucial role in making it all possible.

What does URL stand for?

URL is an acronym that stands for “Uniform Resource Locator”. It is the address of a webpage or file on the internet. In other words, a URL is the unique identifier that helps locate and retrieve specific resources on the web. It's similar to a physical address, but for the internet. Each URL contains a set of protocols, such as http or https, which specify how the resource should be accessed. Additionally, URLs may also include the domain name, which identifies the website that the resource belongs to, and the path, which specifies the location of the resource within the website's directory structure. Understanding what a URL is and how it works is important for navigating the internet and accessing the information we need.

Components of a URL

A URL, or Uniform Resource Locator, is composed of several components that work together to direct a user to a specific website or resource on the internet. The first part of a typical URL is the protocol, which is the method used to transfer data over the internet. The most common protocol is HTTP, or Hypertext Transfer Protocol, which is used for websites. HTTPS, or Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, is a more secure version of HTTP that encrypts data to protect against interception and tampering. Other protocols include FTP (File Transfer Protocol), SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol), and more.

The second part of a typical URL is the domain name, which identifies the website or server where the resource is located. The domain name is typically composed of a name, such as google, and a top-level domain (TLD), such as .com or .org. The domain name can also include subdomains, which are used to organize different sections or functions of a website. For example, mail.google.com is the subdomain for Google's email service.

The third part of a typical URL is the path, which identifies the specific resource on the website or server. The path can include directories and subdirectories, as well as the filename of the resource. For example, in the URL https://www.example.com/products/software/index.html, the path is /products/software/index.html, which refers to the index.html file located in the software directory of the products directory.

The final part of a typical URL is the query string, which contains additional parameters that modify the request for the resource. The query string is composed of key-value pairs separated by ampersands, and begins with a question mark. For example, in the URL https://www.example.com/search?q=term&page=2, the query string includes the parameters q=term and page=2, which modify the search query and page number for the resource.

Understanding the components of a URL is important for both website developers and users, as it helps ensure that resources are accessed correctly and efficiently. By knowing how the different parts of a URL work, developers can create more effective and user-friendly websites, while users can navigate the internet more efficiently and avoid security risks.

Types of URLs

There are various types of URLs used in different contexts. The most common type is the HTTP URL, which is used to access websites on the World Wide Web. The HTTP protocol is widely used because it is simple and efficient. According to the book “HTTP: The Definitive Guide” by David Gourley, Brian Totty, and others, “HTTP is a simple, efficient, and extensible protocol that provides mechanisms for client/server communication over the Internet.” The HTTP URL is based on a simple syntax which makes it easy to construct and parse. Additionally, the HTTP protocol provides a range of powerful features that allow clients and servers to exchange information quickly and efficiently, making it well-suited for a wide range of web applications.

Another type of URL is HTTPS, which is a secure version of HTTP that uses SSL/TLS encryption to protect data transmitted between a web server and a client. According to Google's “HTTPS Everywhere” guide, “HTTPS is essential for protecting data that users are sending or receiving from a website, especially if it involves sensitive information such as passwords, credit card numbers, or personal details.

FTP URLs are used for file transfer, and they are commonly used by web developers to upload files to a web server. As David Sawyer McFarland explains in “CSS: The Missing Manual”, “FTP URLs are used when you need to transfer files to or from a remote computer.

Other types of URLs include mailto URLs, which are used to create links that open the user's email program and start a new message, and tel URLs, which are used to create links that allow users to call phone numbers directly from a website. The tel URL is important in mobile-first design approach. As Jakob Nielsen and Hoa Loranger explain in “Prioritizing Web Usability”, “The tel URL is particularly useful for mobile devices because it allows users to make phone calls with a single click.


So, to recap: a URL is the address used to access web pages on the internet. It is made up of various components that work together to create a unique address for each webpage. Understanding the components of a URL is important for web developers, website owners, and internet users alike. It can help ensure that web pages are accessed correctly and securely, and it can also help with search engine optimization.

In modern web browsing, URLs play a critical role in the user experience. A poorly constructed URL can result in a frustrating browsing experience, while a well-crafted URL can make it easy for users to navigate the web. As such, understanding URLs and their components is an important part of creating a positive user experience. Also, by understanding the components of URLs well, a user can increase security while browsing the internet and avoid becoming a victim of phishing scams.

To learn more about URLs and web development, there are a number of books that can be helpful. “Web Design with HTML, CSS, JavaScript and jQuery Set” by Jon Duckett provides a comprehensive guide to building websites, including information on URLs and web page structure. “Learning Web Design” by Jennifer Niederst Robbins is another excellent resource for those looking to deepen their knowledge of web development.

Category: Internet

Need a website or web app? Click HERE to request a quotation. Contact AMZ IT Solutions for Web Development services