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URL

Stands for "Uniform Resource Locator." A URL is the address of a specific Web site or file on the Internet. It cannot have spaces or certain other characters and uses forward slashes to denote different directories. Some examples of URLs are http://www.cnet.com/, http://web.mit.edu/, and ftp://info.apple.com/. As you can see, not all URLs begin with "http". The first part of a URL indicates what kind of resource it is addressing. Here is a list of the different resource prefixes:

  • http - a hypertext directory or document (such as a Web page)
  • ftp - a directory of files or an actual file available to download
  • gopher - a gopher document or menu
  • telnet - a Unix-based computer system that you can log into
  • news - a newsgroup
  • WAIS - a database or document on a Wide Area Information Search database
  • file - a file located on your hard drive or some other local drive

The second part of a URL (after the "://") contains the address of the computer being located as well as the path to the file. For example, in "http://www.cnet.com/Content/Reports/index.html," "www.cnet.com" is the address or domain name of the host computer and "/Content/Reports/index.html" is the path to the file. When a address ends with a slash and not something like ".html" or ".php," the Web server typically defaults to a file in the current directory named "index.html," "index.htm," or "index.php." So, if you type in "http://www.apple.com/" and "http://www.apple.com/index.html," you should get the same page. Go ahead and try it if you have nothing better to do.

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Updated: December 1, 2006
Category: Internet Terms