A CDE Definition
A Web address that is easy for a user and a search engine crawler to decipher. All programming code embedded in a friendly URL is hidden under abstract and more readable names. For example, the "dirty URL" to look up the definition for the term "BGA" from the Computer Language Company's hosting server for customer W432 might look like computerlanguage.com/lookup.asp?id=W432&d=BGA.
Dirty URLs are hacker prone, because a file extension, such as ASP, gives away the underlying technology, and the syntax of the URL reveals the type of request. In contrast, the friendly URL for this query might be computerlanguage.com/lookup/W432/BGA, which offers a human readable and search engine friendly address, while hiding the Web server infrastructure. See URL.
(Uniform Resource Locator) The address that defines the route to a file on an Internet server (Web server, mail server, etc.). URLs are typed into a Web browser to access Web pages and files, and URLs are embedded within the pages themselves as links (see hypertext).
The URL contains the protocol prefix, port number, domain name, subdirectory names and file name. If a port number is not stated in the address, port 80 is used as the default for Web traffic (HTTP traffic). See port 80 and TCP/IP port.
Downloading the Home Page
To access a home page on a website, only the protocol and domain name are required. For example, http://www.computerlanguage.com retrieves the home page of the Computer Language Company's website. HTTP is the Web protocol, and WWW.COMPUTERLANGUAGE.COM is the domain name. Browsers default to the http:// prefix so only the www.computerlanguage.com needs to be typed in. In fact, you can usually omit the WWW and dot, because most websites treat blank hostnames as "www" hostnames. Sometimes, you can even omit the .com, and the browser fills it in automatically.
Another Web Page
If a page is not the home page, its name has to be part of the address, and a slash is used to separate it from the domain name. For example http://www.computerlanguage.com/about.htm points to the About page (about.htm file). See URL shortening.
The Full Path
If a page is stored in a subdirectory (folder within a folder), its name is also separated by a slash, and subdirectories can be several levels deep. Follow the example below:
This: Is the:
2008.html file (Web page)
Is It a URL or a URI?Technically, a URL is a type of uniform resource identifier (URI). Since most URIs are URLs, "URL" is the term more commonly heard. See URI.
Before/After Your Search Term
Terms By Topic
Click any of the following categories for a list of fundamental terms.