URL is one of those technical terms that just about anyone on the internet should have heard of at one point or another. While you might have a general idea of what it is, it’s exact meaning is surprisingly interesting. In simple terms, it is the address of a website on the internet, but there’s a lot more to it than that. In this article, we are going to try and answer the question, what is a Website URL.
This is one of those topics where you can go really deep as long as you keep digging. As a result, we’re going to try and be informative while trying to stick to the relevant information. So without further ado, let’s get right into it.
What is a Website URL?
URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator and is essentially an address for a website. It is used to specify where a site is located in the World Wide Web. For example, you enter https://google.com on your web browser and it uses that to locate where all the resources used by Google are located and serves you the site. That sounds pretty simple, right? Well, there’s a bit more to it than that.
Let us take the example of our website, which is https://themegrill.com as you can see. The URL can be broken down into three main sections, the Protocol, Domain name, and the Path. Don’t worry if it seems too technical, we’re going to break it down for you.
The first part of a URL is the Protocol that is used. It can be understood as the language that computers use to communicate with one another over the internet. As you might have noticed, websites generally use either HTTP or the more secure HTTPS protocol. However, there are additional lesser-known protocols such as FTP or IMAP that you might have come across at some point.
The second part, and the part that people know the most about, is the Domain name. It is a piece of text that works as a sort of nickname for a website’s true address on the internet.
Let’s take the example of Google. In order to access Google’s website, your browser will need to access its actual IP address, which is currently 220.127.116.11. As you can see, it’s quite complex and hard to remember. To solve that issue, a domain name, www.google.com, is used. When you enter that domain name on your browser, it is sent to a database known as the Domain Name System (DNS). Here, the domain name that you entered is translated into an IP address allowing your browser to access its contents. Therefore, when you enter google.com on your browser, it goes through the DNS which translates it into 18.104.22.168, the actual address of Google’s site.
The domain ends with a suffix, like which denotes the kind of website it is used for. You have .com for commercial sites, .org for organizations, .edu for educational sites, and so on. To get a custom domain for your website, you will have to use a Domain Name Registrar.
The third section of a URL is the Path, which denotes the resource that you’re accessing from the website. It can be a page, post, file, or just any type of content that a website might have. A website contains a ton of files, from images of different kinds to HTML, and more so your browser needs to be specific in what it wants to load. In that case, a path is used to indicate which part of the website that you want to see.
Additional Components of a URL
While those are the three major parts of a URL. There are still some additional components that you might come across from time to time. The additional components are listed below:
- Subdomain: The subdomain is there to indicate that the domain name is just a part of another domain. For example, themegrill.wordpress.com indicates that the subdomain (themegrill) is under the domain of wordpress.com.
- Port: The port number is there to inform the server about the type of service that is being requested. For HTTP, the port number is 80, HTTPS uses 443, FTP uses 21, and so on. It is omitted in most cases.
- Query: The Query is a string preceded by a ‘?’ sign that is used to send additional data to the server. You might have noticed it while using Google search. To look for the word ‘themegrill’ on Google, you can use https://www.google.com/search?q=themegrill. Here, ‘?q=themegrill‘ is the Query string that tells the Google servers what you want to search for.
- Fragment/Anchor: An identifier that can be used to navigate to a specific part within a web page. It is located at the end of the URL and is preceded by a ‘#’ sign.
So, this was our article that tries to explain a website URL. It’s quite simple when you break it down, even for those who aren’t technically inclined. If you have any questions, feel free to ask us in the comment section below. For more informative articles, you can take a look at any one of these.