A Uniform Resource Locator, also known as a Uniform Resource Description, is an identification string for a particular web site that maps it on a particular network and a system for retrieving it. In computer lingo, a URL is merely a computer term for a string of characters used to identify a particular file or web page on the Internet. Many people use both words interchangeably, but a URL is in actuality a unique kind of Uniform Resource Locator. All web servers give internet users a list of available web pages as they begin to surf the internet. When a user types in a search term or keywords on a search engine query bar, a URL searching program “calls” on the server and searches all accessible web servers for a match. If the server can’t find one, it returns a “not found” response.
The internet’s earliest use of URLs was to designate mail servers. Back then, determining the domain name of a website was not an easy task, so mail servers used different strings of alphanumeric characters to represent web addresses. Not surprisingly, when you try to look up a web page through a URL these days, you’ll get an error message telling you that you can’t find a website with that particular name. This is because all URLs start with the string “urn”, which stands for “URL”. URLs themselves have no port number, so they can’t be represented as IP addresses.
Modern computers use what is known as an “address bar” to represent web pages on the web. To get around the difficulty of looking up a URL using the traditional method of typing in an IP address or hostname, the “URL fragment identifier” or URL Fragment identifier was introduced. This is basically a small code that serves as a label for every URL. The major purpose of this code is to help computers and search engines understand the meaning of the URL, but it also has practical value for users who want to remember long URL names.
The problem that users have had with URLs in the past is that they often worked only one way. Whenever you visited a website, it would check the status code of the hypertext link and return true if the page was found; alternatively, it would return false if the page was not found. This meant that the user had to keep track of the websites he was visiting and manually check the status code, which meant that he had to remember the scheme or format of the domain name he was using, which could make the process of navigating websites much more complicated.
Modern versions of the web browser that we use today support what is called a “web search query” mechanism, which makes it much easier for users to locate a website. Using this mechanism, a user searches for a URL by typing in the web page address or URL (labeled with the # character). The result is an array of links that are the most relevant to the search query, where each link connects to a particular web page on the Internet where the related information can be found. Because web browsers have access to search databases, they can make a query of the type described above, and then return all the sites that match the parameters specified by the user.
To refresh your memory about what is URLs, it is best to consider how a URL normally looks. When you view a web page in your web browser, the address bar is filled with the web site’s Title, Description, and Links. The address bar is also likely to contain the domain name or URL of the website that you are viewing. As you enter or save a URL into the web browser, the address bar displays the current location of the web page that you are currently viewing. In short, you should be able to visually see the contents of your URL in the address bar.