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What Is a URL

A URL (Universal Resource Locator) is a complete web address used to find a particular webpage or section of a website. Other than directing online users to a specific web location, it may also correspond to database commands, certain input fields, and even executable files.

Now you may ask: Is a URL the same as a Domain Name? Surprisingly to many, the answer is NO. The terms are often used interchangeably the reason why people confuse one for the other but, they are different.

Simply put, a Domain Name is just a part of a URL. This means that the URL, being a complete web address, may also contain other components needed to locate a specific page or piece of content in a website. You can see the visual difference in the following example:

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What Are the Parts of a URL?

Using the same example above, let’s take a look at the anatomy of a URL to better understand how it directs online users to a specific information or section in a website.

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Protocol This is the Protocol (also known as Scheme) that you use to connect to the resource you indicate. Usually, this is http (HyperText Transfer Protocol), but URLs can also use a number of other methods to connect to sites such as ftp (File Transfer Protocol) and https (Secure HTTP).
Hostname Most of the time, it is the Domain Name in the URL; but, it can also be an IP Address. This is the part of the URL that shows what server the resource is located on.
Other Information This includes other details like the file path which uses “/”s to break down its components, and the folder/directory on the server where the URL points to, or the specific location of the resource or information you are accessing.
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