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What is a web address?

Oluwatobi Sofela

A web address or URL is a website’s specific location on the web.

In other words, a URLUniform Resource Locator is a text string that specifies the location of webpages, images, or videos on the internet.

A web address is made up of eight parts:

  • Scheme
  • Subdomain
  • Domain name
  • Top-level domain
  • Port
  • File path
  • Parameter
  • Anchor
A URL consists of a scheme, domain, port, file path, one or more parameters, and an anchor
A URL consists of a scheme, domain, port, file path, one or more parameters, and an anchor

Let’s discuss each part of a web address.

Scheme

A scheme indicates the protocola set of rules that governs communication browsers must use to access a website’s resources. Some of the popular schemes include HTTPS, TCP, Mailto, and FTP.

Subdomain

A subdomain is a part of a web address that allows you to categorize and enable navigation to different sections of the website.

Domain name

The domain name is the name of a website and is an essential part of a domain that helps users remember and access a website.

You can purchase domain names from registrars such as Namecheap, Domain.com, or Bluehost.

Note: Domain names are sometimes called hostnames or website names.

Top-level domain

The top-level domain (TLD) helps classify a website under a specific category on the internet.

For instance, in https://www.army.mil, the mil top-level domain categorizes the army website as a military domain.

Likewise, in https://www.harvard.edu, the edu top-level domain classifies the Harvard website as an educational resource.

Port

A port is a technical gate on a website’s server from which browsers can access a site’s resources.

For instance, in https://www.codesweetly.com:80, the port is 80.

In other words, port 80 is the gate designated to serve CodeSweetly’s resources.

Keep in mind that you can omit the port number from a URL if the website’s server uses a standard HTTP port to grant access to the site’s resources.

For instance, suppose a site’s server uses port 80 for HTTP (or port 443 for HTTPS). In such a case, you do not need to specify a port number when typing the URL.

However, if the site’s server uses any non-standard port to provide its resource, you must specify the port number.

File path

A URL’s file path is the path (route) to a website’s resource on a web server.

Parameter

A parameter (query string) allows you to send specific data to the server. When the webserver receives the query string, it can use the string’s value to do other things before sending the requested resource to your browser.

Anchor

An anchor is a link to a specific part of the same file the URL references.

An anchor is like a bookmark that tells browsers to display a file’s content located at the bookmarked spot.

  • The part after the hash symbol (#) of an anchor is sometimes called the fragment identifier.
  • The fragment identifier never gets sent to the server.

Quick overview

Suppose a website is a book. In that case, you can describe the URL’s anatomy like so:

  • Anchor: A bookmark at a specific part of the book. For instance, a bookmark of a page’s heading.

  • Parameter: Information for the book’s custodian. For instance, you can use a parameter to communicate the book’s language to the custodian.

  • File path: The specific page you need from the book; for instance, page 625.

  • Port: The door number of the store where one can access the book; for instance, door 70.

  • Top-level domain: The genre in which the book is classified; for instance, Educational.

  • Domain name: The name of the book; for instance, Bible.

  • Subdomain: The specific section of the book you wish to access; for instance, the Old Testament.

  • Scheme: The set of rules your agent must use to get the book from its custodian; for instance, Love.

  • URL: The complete web address of the content you need from the book; for instance,

love://oldtestament.bible.educational:70/page625?lang=en#zophar-speaks

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