According to abbreviationfinder, URL stands for “Uniform Resource Locator” and translates as “Uniform Resource Locator”. This bulky term means that a URL clearly states what someone in a network – usually the Internet – wants to go to. In common parlance, URL is also referred to as Internet address, because every website has a URL and can be found on the Internet via this. However, a URL does not necessarily have to lead to a website.
- If internet users enter a URL in a browser, they are directed to a specific website.
- A URL is not synonymous with a domain – the domain is part of the URL.
- A short form can be generated from a URL, which is easier to quote or divide.
What is the difference between a URL and a URI?
The URL is subordinate to the URI (Uniform Resource Identifier). The URI is the umbrella term and can, in addition to an exact location – i.e. the URL – also specify the name of a resource, for example. This is called URN (Universal Resource Name) and can stand separately. This means that the URN does not have to clearly point to a location where the resource can be found.
A URL is the clear signpost to a particular website. Internet users enter a URL in the browser and then go to the corresponding website. However, a URL does not only lead to websites: the exact directory path to a specific folder or file is also referred to as a URL in local networks.
The terms URL and URI are often used synonymously. However, a URL is always also a URI, while a URI can also be something else.
URL instead of IP address
A URL is the user-friendly address of a website. Because users can also access a website with the unique IP address. However, this consists of a long, hard-to-remember sequence of numbers. Since a URL consists of (usually) meaningful words and numbers, it is easier to remember.
What is the difference between a URL and a domain?
URL and domain are also often used synonymously, but they do not mean exactly the same thing. The domain is part of the URL and the globally unique name for a website, such as “verivox.de”. Providers assign domains, either for rent or for purchase.
However, the URL itself cannot be acquired. It results from the corresponding domain and other components.
How is a URL structured?
A URL – such as http://www.verivox.de/themen/url/ – consists of the following components:
- http: // = the transfer protocol used to transfer files on the Internet (alternatives are https: // or ftp: //)
- www = designation of the subdomain for the web server. Subdomains are subdivisions of a domain; www is the general standard for websites. The subdomain could also have a different name, for example web.verivox.de
- de = the uniquely assigned domain
- / themen / url / = the directory path leading to a specific file
What characters can a URL contain?
A URL cannot contain any character, only a few selected ASCII characters. This includes all Latin letters in upper and lower case, as well as Arabic numerals. Some other special characters such as the period, the minus or the underscore can be used freely for the domain name or elsewhere in the URL, like letters and numbers.
Fixed functions are assigned to other characters such as the colon, slash, question mark or brackets in the URL. For example, they act as a separator or trigger various commands.
Shorten long URLs
In the best case, a URL clearly shows where it leads the user. Sometimes, however, the URL becomes very long: be it because there are many subdirectories or because, for example, a product link in an online shop has many cryptic numbers, letters and special characters attached. In order to shorten a very long and sometimes illegible URL and thus share it in a space-saving way – be it in messenger services, in social networks or for quoting in written work – a URL can be shortened without losing its uniqueness. There are various online services for this. Well known and popular are tinyurl.com and bitly.com, for example.