What is a URL and Where is it Located

Uniform Resource Locator

"URL" is a way of identifying the location of a file on the Internet. This is what is used to open websites, download images, videos, software programs, and other types of files

Opening a file on your own computer is as simple as double-clicking it, but to open files on the Internet that are stored on Web Servers. We will use URLs so that our Browser knows where to look

Uniform Resource Locator's, or commonly abbreviated as "URLs" Also referred to as "Website Addresses. URL is pronounced with each letter spoken individually. I.E. U-R-L, not "Earl" (Click speaker icon above)

Main Components

A URL (Uniform Resource Locator) can have 4 main components:
Protocol Identifier
Resource Name
Path Name
File Name

Let us look at this URL as a example:
https://rshweb.com/img/blog18.jpg

Protocol Identifier

The first part of any URL is the http or a https. This often overlooked element of the URL’s component is more important today than ever before. This will tell your Browser how to communicate with the website. Traditionally, most sites have used a non-secure "HTTP" (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol). However there is a recent move towards widespread adoption of "HTTPS" (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure). While this Protocol "HTTPS" does essentially the same thing as "HTTP". It is a more secure option that encrypts the data sent back and forth between your Browser and the Web Server.

Resource Name

More commonly referred to as the Domain Name. As you can see in our above example we are using our Domain Name
rshweb.com
This part is the most identifiable element of any URL or web address. A domain name is the identifier for a specific Website. If nothing is added to the end of a Domain will generally bring you straight to the Home Page. The Domain Name is actually made up of two parts
The Top-Level Domain (TLD) part refers to the .com. But this could end in a .org .net or any of the 1500 other ending extensions available today
The "rshweb" is the Second Level Domain (SLD) part of the Domain name. The SLD is the first component people see with your website. It is the most memorable part of a URL and can be the most important when choosing one

Path Name

If you just wanted to visit our Website's front page, all you would need are the protocol and the domain name:
https://rshweb.com
But each individual page or file on a website will have its own URL
Once again our example:
https://rshweb.com/img/blog18.jpg
The part after the TLD (.com) is known as the "Path". This directs your Browser to a specific directory inside of the website. In this case it leads first to our "Images" directory
/img/
As you can see the paths works the same as you computer or laptop. Not all URLs will display a path. For example when you visit the homepage of our site you will not see the path or file name. This is because most all websites can “Rewrite” URLs (like the homepage) for simplicity and elegance. This can omit the typical “index.html” page name

File Name

The last component of a URL is the file name or file extension
In our example it is "blog18.jpg"
This tells the Web Server the exact file to display to the end user. File names such as .html .php .pdf .docx .png .gif and .jpg are the most common

FTP Protocol Identifier

FTP URLs are structured the same, as HTTPS Protocols. For example, accessing an FTP file with its URL might look something like this:
FTP://rshweb.com/folder/otherfolder/programdetails.pdf
Which, aside from having FTP instead of HTTP, looks very similar to any other URL

information on hosting

Examples of a URL

You are probably familiar with a URL like this one for accessing Google's website:
https://www.google.com/
Or other examples:
https://twitter.com
https://www.bing.com
https://facebook.com

Most of us are familiar with these types of URLs that we use in a web browser like Firefox or Chrome, but those are not the only instances where you might use a URL

In all of these examples, you're using the HTTP protocol to open the website, which is the most popular that most people encounter, but there are other protocols you could use too, like FTP, TELNET, MAILTO, and RDP. A URL can even point to local files you have on a hard drive
Each protocol may have a unique set of syntax rules in order to reach the destination

URL Syntax Rules

Only numbers, letters, and the following characters are allowed in a URL: ()!$-'_*+
Other characters must be encoded (translated to programming code) in order to be accepted in a URL
Some URLs have parameters that split the URL away from additional variables. For example, when you do a Bing search for rshweb:

https://bing.com/search?q=rshweb
The question mark you see is telling a certain script, hosted on Bing's server, that you want to send a specific command to it in order to get custom results. The specific script that Bing uses to execute searches knows that whatever follows the ?q= part of the URL should be identified as the search term, so whatever is typed at that point in the URL is used to search on Bing's search engine

You will start to see the similar behavior in URL's like in this YouTube "Search for best cat videos"
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=best+cat+videos
Although spaces are not allowed in a URL, some websites use a + sign, which you can see in both the Google and YouTube examples. Others use the encoded equivalent of a space, which is %20

URLs that use multiple variables use one or more ampersands after the question mark. You can see the example here for an Amazon.com search for Windows10:
https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=windows+10

URL's are also case sensitive. Especially everything after the Domain (directories and file names)
If you try to capitalize any letter in our example you will get a "404 Not Found" page
https://rshweb.com/img/Blog18.jpg

How to Copy a URL

On your Computer
In your browser’s address bar at the top of the page, select the entire URL. (If you're looking for the URL of an image result, you need to click the image to open up a larger version before selecting the URL.) Copy the URL by right-clicking it and then clicking Copy

Copy an address link on a smartphone or tablet
Open your preferred mobile Internet browser. Locate the address link you would like to copy
Note If the address bar is not visible, try scrolling up using your finger. Also, keep in mind that an address bar is only going to be visible in a browser app. If you're viewing a web page through another app, it may not be available
Tap the address bar once to highlight all the text contained within it
Long press the highlighted text and select Copy
On smaller devices, the symbol for copying text looks like two identical pieces of paper
Open the app where you would like to paste the address
Long press again and select Paste

Copying a Link or Image within a Page
To copy the address of a link or image, right-click the link the object and select Copy link address or Copy image from the drop-down menu. Alternatively, users may view the properties of the link and copy the URL from within that menu

More Information on URLs

If a URL points you to a file that your web browser can display, like a JPG image, then you don't have to actually download the file to your computer in order to see it. However, for files that aren't normally displayed in the browser, like PDF and DOCX files, and especially EXE files (and many other file types), you'll be prompted to download the file to your computer in order to use it

URLs provide an easy way for us to access a server's IP address without needing to know what the actual address is. They're like easy-to-remember names for our favorite websites. This translation from a URL to an IP address is what DNS servers are used for

Some URLs are really long and complex and are best used if you click it as a link or copy/paste it into the browser's address bar. A mistake in a URL could generate a 400-series HTTP status code error, the most common type being a 404 error Page

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