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

Definitions by TechTerms.com

The definition of URL on this page is an original TechTerms.com definition. If you would like to reference this page or cite this definition, you can use the green citation links above.

The goal of TechTerms.com is to explain computer terminology in a way that is easy to understand. We strive for simplicity and accuracy with every definition we publish. If you have feedback about the URL definition or would like to suggest a new technical term, please contact us.

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