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Uniform Resource Locator

A Uniform Resource Locator, URL (pronounced as "earl" (SAMPA: [@rl]) or spelled out), or web address, is a standardized address for some resource (such as a document or image) on the Internet. First created by Tim Berners-Lee for use on the World Wide Web, the currently used forms are detailed by IETF standard RFC 2396 (1998).

The URL was a fundamental innovation in creating the World Wide Web It combines into one simple address the four basic items of information necessary to find a document anywhere on the Internet:

A typical simple URL can look like:

  " class="external">

where Most Web browsers do not require the user to enter "http://" to go to a web page. One usually just enters the page name (without the slashes) such as To go to the homepage one usually just enters the domain name such as

HTTP URLs can also contain additional elements, like a query string (placed after the path and separated from it by a question mark (?)) containing information from a HTML form with method=get, or a name tag (placed after the path and separated from it by a sharp mark (#)) giving the location within a hypertext page to display. FTP URLs often contain a port number.

" class="external">

URLs are one type of URI.

The term URL is also used outside the context of the World Wide Web. Database servers specify URLs as a parameter to make connections to it. Similarly any Client-Server application following a particular protocol may specify a URL format as part of its communication process.

Example of a database URL :


If a webpage is uniquely defined by a URL it can be linked to (see also deep linking). This is not always the case, e.g. a menu option may change the contents of a frame within the page, without this new combination having its own URL. A webpage may also depend on temporarily stored information. If the webpage or frame has its own URL, this is not always obvious for someone who wants to link to it: the URL of a frame is not shown in the address bar of the browser, and a page without address bar may have been produced. The URL may be derivable from the source code and/or "properties" of various components of the page.

Apart from the purpose of linking to a page or page component, one may want to know the URL to show the component alone, and/or to lift restrictions such as a browser window without toolbars, and/or of a small non-adjustable size.

See also Uniform Resource Identifier, website, internet, History of the Internet

For Wikipedia, see Wikipedia:URLs.