It is known in computer science as URL (acronym of English: Uniform Resource Locator, that is to say, Uniform Resource Locator) to the standard sequence of characters that identifies and allows locating and retrieving certain information on the Internet. What we write in the browser or browser box to visit a certain web page, commonly referred to as “address”, is precisely its URL.
Just as in real life each home or business has a postal address necessary to send something by mail, on the Internet each resource (image, video, text, audio or web page ) has an associated address, which is necessary to have access to information.
Therefore, when we visit a web page, we enter its address and receive it in the browser. But within it, each photograph, text or resource of some kind also has an associated URL, with which it can be retrieved to carry out the “assembly” of the web page as a whole.
Also, when clicking on a certain hyperlink, it will take us to another URL, either to a new web page or to see some of the resources of the previous one alone.
What is a URL for?
As has been said, a URL is a specific address within the informational ocean of the Internet. It is used to locate different data and information that are necessary for the online-online browsing experience, that is, to build the Web pages and to provide the user with timely access to everything they want to visit within the network.
Thus, entering the URL of an image will take us to it; that of a specific file will lead us to download it, and that of an online-online program to run it, all within the capabilities and specifications of the web browser that we are using for it.
Characteristics of a URL
URLs have the following characteristics:
- Accuracy. URLs must be spelt precisely to return the expected result. Any error in the string will prevent retrieving the desired information.
- Sequence. URLs are a sequence of order details, which must be entered in a precise sequence, such as a postal address.
- Uniqueness. Each URL is unique for a resource or page on the Web. There are no two alike or two different that lead to the same element (although there can be many versions of the same element, let’s say, a photograph, or there can be many pages using the same URL to retrieve it).
Parts of a URL
Each URL is made up of a sequence of parts, which refer to specific information about the location of the resource, and which can be viewed separately:
- Network protocol. Http, Https, mailto and FTP are the main web protocols that head a URL, indicating to the machine what type of connection it must make and what is the specific language that will be spoken with the computer or the computer network that will provide the information to the user.
- Service. Www, www2, etc., is about the possible online-online information support services, of which the World Wide Web is the most popular.
- Domain, domain type and country. It is the “name” of the company that provides the information, or the project or network or the computer where they are, that is, the specific name of who has what we are looking for; also the type of service it provides: commercial (.com), educational (.edu), etc., and the country to which it belongs: Argentina (.ar), Brazil (.br), Italy (.it), etc.
- Path and file name. The folders and directories in which the specific resource is located within the server computer (which provides the information).
URL timeline – website
Most browsers keep a chronology or history of the URLs visited, such as a record of the addresses that were called for information. These data are usually sensitive and protected by security mechanisms, since unscrupulous interests in the network could access them and collect personal information about the user’s browsing habits, thus violating their privacy.