What is URL and what does it do?

Those who use the internet frequently have probably encountered the acronym “URL” at some point in their lives and may even have a brief idea of ​​its function. However, everything starts to make more sense when we discover the real meaning of these three letters together and why the acronym is still a web standard to this day. Simply put, the URL is the address of any website on the internet, but there is more to be explained below.

What is the URL?

The acronym URL is an abbreviation for Uniform Resource Locator, or “Uniform Resource Locator” (in free translation). In practice, the URL is the website address that you need to type into the address bar of a web browser. Without it, access to the website or page is difficult, since it will be necessary to do an online search until you find what you are looking for through links.

The pattern of URLs was defined in 1994 by Tim Berners-Lee, father of the World Wide Web. The structure of the acronym contains a series of specific information, which follow a predetermined pattern so that the user can always find the service he is looking for, since let him type the address correctly.

The standard is still used today, even almost thirty years after its launch. The reason for this is that it just keeps working very well.

Simplified URL structure allows easy access to websites.Simplified URL structure allows easy access to websites.Source: Pixabay / Reproduction

Structure of a URL

Knowing the structure of a URL makes us better understand how this pattern works. The simplicity of this base also contributes to the standard being used until today, since it serves both advanced users and laypeople.

There are two main parts that make up the URL: the schema and the path. Next, we will see the explanation of each one of them.

1. Outline

The scheme is a network protocol and the first group of characters in a URL, which is before the “:” sign. It is very useful, because it serves to indicate that the link is a web address (http or https), communication via email (mailto), file transfer between computers (ftp), communication between chats (irc), among others .

Like all the rest of a web address (or other communication link), the scheme is always typed in lowercase.

2. Path

The path is the nominal address of a website itself. It is there that we find the domain name of a given website.

On the internet, addresses are identified by strings numerical, but it would be extremely difficult for users to memorize these strings just to be able to access any page. The URL replaces the strings by simplified and standardized terms, which also serve to identify some aspects of a website.

Therefore, the path is divided into at least three parts: the hostname, which is the first part before the first dot (www, for example), the site domain and the top-level domain, or TLD, which is the last term after the last point and before the first bar, indicating the type of the site (com, net, org, etc.).

Take TecMundo’s address (https://www.tecmundo.com.br/), where “https” is the scheme, “tecmundo” is the domain and “com” is the TLD. The way, in this case, is “tecmundo.com”.

When you visit a secondary page on a main website, the website address receives additional information, which distinguishes one page from another. For example, in the address “https://www.tecmundo.com.br/internet/206650-google-fotos-veja-quantos-gb-gratis-ainda-restam-conta.htm”, there is a number that serves as an attribute indexing and identifier, which comes right after the “tag” (internet) and before the name of the file loaded by the browser.

This simplified structure allows users to visit billions of addresses on the Internet, without a page “crossing” the path of other pages.

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