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URL

Stands for "Uniform Resource Locator." A URL is the address of a specific webpage or file on the Internet. For example, the URL of the TechTerms website is "http://techterms.com." The address of this page is "http://techterms.com/definition/url" and includes the following elements:

  1. http:// – the URL prefix, which specifies the protocol used to access the location
  2. techterms.com – the server name or IP address of the server
  3. /definition/url – the path to the directory or file

While all website URLs begin with "http," several other prefixes exist. Below is a list of various URL prefixes:

  • http – a webpage, website directory, or other file available over HTTP
  • ftp – a file or directory of files available to download from an FTP server
  • news – a discussion located within a specific newsgroup
  • telnet – a Unix-based computer system that supports remote client connections
  • gopher – a document or menu located on a gopher server
  • wais - a document or search results from a WAIS database
  • mailto - an email address (often used to redirect browsers to an email client)
  • file - a file located on a local storage device (though not technically a URL because it does not refer to an Internet-based location)

You can manually enter a URL by typing it in the address bar of your web browser. For example, you might enter a website URL printed on a business card to visit the company's website. Most URLs, however appear automatically when you click on a link or open a bookmark. If the server name in the URL is not valid, your browser may display a "Server not found" error. If the path in the URL is incorrect, the server may respond with a 404 error.

NOTE: URLs use forward slashes to denote different directories and cannot contain spaces. Therefore, dashes and underscores are often used to separate words within a web address. If your browser produces an error when you visit a specific webpage, you can double-check the URL for typos or other errors. If you find an error, you can manually edit the URL and press Enter to see if it works.

Updated: November 24, 2015

Cite this definition:

http://techterms.com/definition/url

TechTerms - The Tech Terms Computer Dictionary

This page contains a technical definiton of URL. It explains in computing terminology what URL means and is one of many Internet terms in the TechTerms dictionary.

All definitions on the TechTerms website are written to be technically accurate but also easy to understand. If you find this URL definition to be helpful, you can reference it using the citation links above. If you think a term should be updated or added to the TechTerms dictionary, please email TechTerms!