What Are the Components of a Web Address?

by Naomi Bolton ; Updated September 01, 2017

In order to access content on the internet, a uniform resource locator, or URL, is required, which is also known as a web address. The web address specifies the protocol for accessing the page, the domain on which it resides as well as the path for folders and files on the site.

Protocol

Domain Name

The domain name part of the web address is the unique identifier for the website on the internet. It is usually made up of the name of the website in order to make it easy for visitors to remember. Domain names can be typed in upper or lowercase as they are not case significant. Your browser uses the domain name to look up the IP address of the website, which is then used to make the connection. In the web address "http://www.fbi.gov/about-us" for example, the domain name is the "fbi.gov" part.

Domain Extension

The domain extension follows the domain name and is used to denote what type of website it is. This makes it easier to evaluate what type of site it is but since any organization can use any extension this is more of a common practice than hard rule. For example, a government website ends in the extension ".gov" while an education website might end in ".edu." The ".com" extension used to denote a commercial website is one of the most common, but there are also non-profit organizations that use the ".org" extension. The extension is also used to indicate the location of the website such as ".uk" for the United Kingdom and ".fr" for France. This would indicate that an ".org.uk" site is a non-profit organization in the United Kingdom while ".info.ca" is an information site in Canada. In the web address "http://www.fbi.gov/about-us" for example, the domain extension is the .gov" part.

Path & Filename

The path is the section of the web address after the domain extension that indicates to your browser which folder or file to open. Unlike the domain name, the path is case sensitive so "/about.html" is not the same as "/About.html." When no path is specified, the index.html or "Home Page" file is shown. In the web address "http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/background-checks/address-verification/addresscard.pdf" for example, the path is the "/about-us/cjis/background-check/ " part while "addresscard.pdf" is the filename. In some browsers, the filename is visible only when downloading the page.

About the Author

Virtually growing up in a computer repair shop, Naomi Bolton has held a passion for as long as she can remember. After earning a diploma through a four year course in graphic design from Cibap College, Bolton launched her own photography business. Her work has been featured on Blinklist, Gameramble and many others.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images