Term:URL [Uniform Resource Locator]« Back to Glossary Index
URL is an acronym for Uniform Resource Locator.
A URL is a way to specify a resource, such as a webpage, file or a service, on the internet. In what is by far the most common usage, a URL is simply the full web address of a webpage. For example, this page is identified by the URL
A URL is made up of several components.
- Protocol or “scheme”: the “language” used to exchange data for this specific type of resource.
- Server or host: the computer (or computers) on the network that provide the resource.
- Location or path: the location on the server containing the resource.
- Name: the name of the resource to be accessed. (Technically considered part of the location.)
- Parameters or query: additional information used to customize the resource, or to be included with the request for other purposes.
- Anchor or fragment: additional information that indicates which portion of the resource should be accessed.
Many of the components are optional.
The most recognizable indicator of something being a URL is the “://” between the protocol and server. Using the terms above in brackets, a URL is constructed as follows:
Http and https are two examples of protocols, but you may also commonly see “ftp”, for File Transfer Protocol, and others.
|Uniform Resource Locator|
|Latest version||Living Standard|
|Organization||Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)|
|Committee||Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG)|
|Series||Request for Comments (RFC)|
|Editors||Anne van Kesteren|
|Base standards||RFC 3986. – Uniform Resource Identifier (URI): Generic Syntax. |
RFC 6270. – The ‘tn3270’ URI Scheme.
|Related standards||URI, URN|
|Domain||World Wide Web|
|License||CC BY 4.0|
A Uniform Resource Locator (URL), colloquially termed a web address, is a reference to a web resource that specifies its location on a computer network and a mechanism for retrieving it. A URL is a specific type of Uniform Resource Identifier (URI), although many people use the two terms interchangeably. URLs occur most commonly to reference web pages (http), but are also used for file transfer (ftp), email (mailto), database access (JDBC), and many other applications.
Most web browsers display the URL of a web page above the page in an address bar. A typical URL could have the form
http://www.example.com/index.html, which indicates a protocol (
http), a hostname (
www.example.com), and a file name (