What is a URL? A URL is a Uniform Resource Locator.
When you use your browser to surf the Internet, your browser needs a
way to tell exactly what file you want to look at, and where it can
be found. Not only can you point to a file in a directory, but that
file and that directory can exist on any machine connected to the Internet,
anywhere in the world. It can be provided for use by any of several
different methods. It may even be something more complex than a file
URLs can point to queries, documents stored deep within databases,
or the results of finger or archive commands.
When people give you the address to a web page, they may
say it's at www.domain.com. Most web browsers in use today can
use this form of a web address to take you to the correct page.
In years past, many browsers needed to have http://
included at the beginning of the URL to identify the destination as
a web page. If you are using a computer that is more than a two or three
years old, you may need to tell your web browser to open http://www.domain.com
to get to the page you want. In addition, if you are visiting a web
site at a location that has not been updated recently, you may need
to include a trailing slash, as in:
This is the format for a correct URL to a home page for
a domain. If you go to another page at that location, the subdirectory
that holds that file and the name of the file will appear in the URL:
The .html at the end of the full address tells the
browser (and you) that you are looking at a web page. Other common extensions
for web pages include .htm, .shtml, .asp, .php,
Sometimes, usually when you are filling out forms online
or using an online shopping cart, if you look at the address in the
box at the top of your browser, you will see the beginning of the URL
change from http:// to https://. This indicates that you
are visiting a site that has employed Secure Socket
Layers (SSL) to protect your data.
Remember, you can also connect to FTP sites and gophers
with your browser. If you go to these types of destination, you will
need to be specific FTP sites, for example, begin with ftp://,
as in the address ftp://ftp.eticomm.net.