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Look up at the top of this Web page. Above the page you will see the "location bar" of your Web browser, which should contain something very like this: http://www.example.com.ru/url/
This is the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) of the Web page you are looking at right now. A URL can be thought of as the "address" of a Web page and is sometimes referred to informally as a "web address." URLs are used to write links linking one page to another. On the Internet, a hostname is a domain name assigned to a host computer. This is usually a combination of the host's local name with its parent domain's name. The hostname is translated into an IP address via the local hosts file, or the Domain Name System (DNS) resolver.
Every URL consists of some of the following: the scheme name (commonly called protocol), followed by a colon, then, depending on scheme, a hostname (alternatively, IP address), a port number, the path of the resource to be fetched or the program to be run, then, for programs such as Common Gateway Interface (CGI) scripts, a query string, and with HTML documents, an anchor (optional) for where the page should start to be displayed.
The combined syntax is
- The scheme name, or resource type, defines its namespace, purpose, and the syntax of the remaining part of the URL. Most Web-enabled programs will try to dereference a URL according to the semantics of its scheme and a context. For example, a Web browser will usually dereference the URL http://www.example.com:80 by performing an HTTP request to the host www.example.com, at the port number 80. Dereferencing the URN mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org will usually start an e-mail composer with the address email@example.com in the To field.
- Other examples of scheme names include HTTPS, Gopher, WAIS, FTP. URLs that specify HTTPS as a scheme (such as https://www.example.com/) denote a secure website.
- The registered domain name or IP address gives the destination location for the URL. The domain example.com, or its IP address 126.96.36.199, is the address of Example Web page.
- The hostname and domain name portion of a URL are case-insensitive since the DNS is specified to ignore case. http://www.example.com/ and HTTP://WWW.EXAMPLE.COM/ both open the same page.
- The port number is optional; if omitted, the default for the scheme is used. For example, if
http://www.example.com:5800 is typed into the address bar of a browser it will connect to port 5800 of www.example.com; this port is used by the VNC remote control program and would set up a remote control session. If the port number is omitted a browser will connect to port 80, the default HTTP port.
- The path is used to find the resource specified. It is case-sensitive, though it may be treated as case-insensitive by some servers, especially those based on Microsoft Windows. If the server is case sensitive and
http://www.example.com/example/URL is correct, http://www.example.com/EXAMPLE/URL/ or
http://www.example.com/example/url/ will display an HTTP 404 error page.
- The query string contains data to be passed to web applications such as CGI programs. The query string contains name/value pairs separated by ampersands, with names and values in each pair being separated by equal signs, for example first_name=John&last_name=Doe.
- The anchor part when used with HTTP specifies a location on the page. For example http://www.example.com/example/URL#Syntax addresses the beginning of the Syntax section of the page.
The Uniform Resource Locator was created in 1994 by Tim Berners-Lee, Marc Andreessen, Mark P. McCahill, Alan Emtage, Peter J. Deutsch and Jon Postel.