Uniform Resource Locator

URL is an acronym that stands for Uniform Resource Locator and is a reference (an address) to a resource on the Internet. An example of a URL is https://uk.yahoo.com/. 

The different parts of a URL

HTTP://: "HTTP" stands for Hypertext Transfer (or Transport) Protocol, and is the identification technology used to communicate between Web servers and the users who access their information. In some URLs, you might see "HTTPS", which stands for "Hyper Text Transfer Protocol", a security technology developed to keep sensitive transactions and information safe online. This first part of the URL indicates what protocol the URL will be used in order to deliver the information from the server to the user, and is in front of the domain name, separated by the "://".

Domain name: The domain name is the textual representation of the IP address, used to identify a specific Web page or pages, and comes after the "://". For example, one of the IP addresses assigned to Facebook is; conversely, the domain name for Facebook's IP address is facebook.com. Every domain name has a top level domain. These are simple suffixes attached to the end of the domain name that indicates its place in the domain name hierarchy. Common top level domains are .com, org, .net, and .gov.

Forward slash, then file name: path or directory on the computer to this file. Think of a file cabinet, with folders assigned to specific topics, projects, or information. This identifying information is simply locating where these files can be found on the Web server, then displaying them for the end user.

Name of file: name of file, usually ending in .html or .htm. 

Different kinds of URL

Messy: This is a URL with a lot of garbled numbers and letters on it that make little organisational sense, i.e., "http://www.example.com/woeiruwoei909305820580". Typically these URLs are computer-generated from programs creating thousands of Web pages on the same domain name.

Dynamic: These are what the previous explanation of "messy URLs" really come from. Dynamic URLs are the end result of database queries that provide the content output based on the result of that query. The URL ends up looking quite garbled, aka "messy", and often includes the following characters:? &, %, +, =, $. Dynamic URLs are often found as part of consumer-driven websites: shopping, travel, or anything that requires changing answers for many different user queries.

Static: A static URL is the opposite of a dynamic URL. The URL is "hard-wired" into the Web page's HTML coding and will not change depending on what the user requests.

Obfuscated: Obfuscated, or hidden, URLs are primarily used in phishing scams. Basically, a familiar URL is distorted in some way to make it seem legitimate. The user clicks on the obfuscated URL and is redirected to a malicious website.

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