Definition of Website Address

by Jeff Kaleth
World Wide Web

World Wide Web

A website address, also known as a URL (uniform resource locator), is an Internet or intranet name that points to to a location where a file, directory or website page is hosted. Website addresses can represent the home page of a web site, a script, image, photo, movie or other file made available on a server for viewing, processing or download. They can also be embedded into the code of web pages in the form of hyperlinks to direct the user to other locations on the Internet.

Identification

A website address begins with the protocol, a unique name and the domain and ends with a port number. Examples of protocols used are http and https. Next, a unique name obtained by a domain name registration service is used. The domain is listed after the unique name, and a port number is listed or assumed at the end. A variety of different domains exist, including but not limited to: .com, .net, .org and .gov. An example of a website address is http://www.google.com/. The web address also requires a port number in order for it to be routed correctly. If no number is listed at the end of the address the default port is used based on the protocol in the web address. In the Google example above, http uses port 80 by default. The https protocol represents a secure site, and the port number assumed with https is 443.

Use

Website addresses are entered into the address bar of an Internet browser. The browser, if connected to the Internet and configured correctly, has the ability to display the web page presented by the hosting provider. Examples of browsers include Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Google Chrome.

Function

This name translates, through a DNS service, to a unique number called an IP address. This IP address is registered and gets routed through the Internet to a hosting provider. Servers at the hosting provider present the user with the file or web page requested. Errors are presented to the user if the provider has improperly configured the environment or traffic limits have been exceeded.

Obtaining a Unique Web Address

A website address can be obtained from a web hosting provider such as GoDaddy or any other provider accredited as an ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) registrar.

Significance

The DNS (domain name service) is one of the most important technologies related to the website address. Without a DNS, websites could only be accessed through their respective IP address, which includes a series of numbers (for example, 192.168.1.1). This would require reliance on numbers to get to your favorite websites on the Internet.

References

About the Author

Jeff Kaleth has been working as a corporate technical writer and computer engineer since 2008. He has experience developing procedural and task documentation, as well as translating technical needs into end-user documentation. Kaleth holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Indiana University.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera internet image by Attila Toro from Fotolia.com