The URL, the acronym for Uniform Resource Locator, is the address of a published resource available on the web. All valid URLs link to a specific resource on the web that can be an image, CSS document, or HTML page. In practice, the webserver owner is responsible for managing the resource associated with the URL.
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What Is a URL?
Servers and computer networks communicate in a code developed using letters and numbers, known as the IP address. There is a unique IP address for all devices connected to the Internet, and it may look like this: 188.8.131.52.
IP addresses are long and not ideal for navigating across the web. For a more realistic user experience, domain names were developed to make it easy to remember the webpage and hide the IP addresses.
A URL consists of a domain name and other detailed information to create a web address that directs towards a webpage. In short, a URL is a set of directions for every web page.
This article will give you a quick and easy guideline to understanding URLs, and in general, to navigate the internet.
What Is a URL?
A URL is also referred to as a web address because its function is similar to a house address. Just as we use a house address to locate a destination, URLs are used to navigate web pages on the server.
What Are URLs?
There are four critical elements of a URL; scheme, domain name, port, path, parameters, and anchor.
The scheme in the URL characterizes the protocol or postal service to be used to access a resource on the server and is one of the most overlooked portions of a URL. The scheme guides communication between the browser and the server to retrieve a response. The protocol or scheme can be HTTP or HTTPS.
The domain name is the name of the host website. There are two parts of the domain: the top-level domain and the website’s name. Domain names should be carefully assessed and analyzed before use. They should also be both easy to remember and attention-grabbing.
The port numbers are used to initiate communication between the server and the client.
The path refers to the resource requested to be accessed.
Parameters, also known as query strings, help organize and filter content on the website, and the anchor is the hyperlink to the website.
How to Use a URL?
The purpose of URLs is to allow people to use and remember a webpage easily. The web browser locates pages on the server through the Internet Protocol (IP), a series of letters or numbers presented in a complicated structure.
Imagine remembering a set of numbers like this to visit a unique website: 184.108.40.206. In terms of the user experience, the internet would not have been so popular today if people had to remember every IP address to visit a specific website. In a fast-moving world, remember URLs like this is much easier “http://www.facebook.com/.”
Moreover, not all websites have a permanent static IP address. Many IP addresses are updated regularly, making it impossible to visit or navigate websites. So, to prevent the hassle of memorizing IPs, URLs are developed to make sense of navigation across the server.
When a specific URL is typed on the server, the browser uses a Domain Name Server (DNS) to decipher the URL against a unique IP. The IP number is then used to give you access to your desired destination.
Why Do We Need a URL?
URLs are not only important to easily access resources on the Internet but also to secure a website. For example, a URL consisting of HTTP:// means the website you are trying to access is secure, and the information entered will be encrypted before submitting it. Encrypted data is secured and hard to be intercepted by hackers.
Websites that collect sensitive information, such as debit or credit card information, always use a URL with secure protocol to prevent misuse or interception of information. The majority of e-commerce websites use HTTPS when displaying forms to protect people’s personal information.
The website’s domain name links to your server, which contains data of the website, to access content and information. Without a URL, users cannot access content on your website.
What About Enterprise Usage of URL?
URL is essential to the structure of your website. An inappropriate URL is detrimental to the search engine ranking of websites. Many businesses struggle with developing an effective URL and hence suffer in rankings.
The more organized the URL structure, the easier it will be for search engines to identify and “crawl” it. So, making sense and developing a logical URL structure is highly desirable. Therefore, when creating a URL, it is important to ensure:
- The URL is straightforward. A URL that consists of copied content must utilize canonical URLs to prevent redirecting and confusion.
- The URL must contain relevant and correct keywords with no punctuation marks.
- Using “.com.” When selecting a domain name, it is common for people to opt for “.ly” instead of “.com.” However, the traditional “.com” makes it easy to rank higher on search engines. Unique or uncommon domains are harder to promote and require much more work than traditional domains.
People find the website by typing a query in the search engine. A company URL helps your customers find you online on the search engine. Including key business worlds in the URL is important to ensure you are seen when a customer types a query that your company can respond to. In addition, logical and relevant keywords in the URL can help you rank higher on search engines.
URLs are important for enterprises due to the following reasons:
- They link and direct users to company web pages.
- They are used in branding and other marketing collateral.
- URLs play an essential role in the search engine ranking of the company website.