General Science, Mathematics, and Technology


What is a Uniform Resource Locator, or URL?

A Uniform Resource Locator, URL, can be thought of as the “address” for a given computer on the Internet. A URL consists of two parts: 1) the protocol identifier and 2) the resource name. The protocol identifier indicates which protocol to use, e.g., “http” for Hypertext Transfer Protocol or “ftp” for File Transfer Protocol. Most browsers default to “http” as the protocol identifier so it is not necessary to include that part of the URL when entering an Internet address in the browser’s toolbar. The resource identifier specifies the IP (Internet Protocol) address or domain name where the Web page is located. An IP address is a string of numbers separated by periods. More familiar and easier to remember than the IP address is a domain name. Domain names are composed of a name with a top level domain (TLD) suffix. The IP address and domain name both point to the same place; typing “” in the address bar of a Web browser will bring up the same page as entering the more user-friendly “”.


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