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What is a URL? Meaning

Although the so-called  URL is a mechanism that we use every second that we remain in front of the PC screen using a browser ,  the truth is that many of us are almost completely ignorant of what it is and how it works, and we do not know that without its presence ,  find what we are looking at the intricate web of the vast network of networks would be an impossible task to perform.  Such is its importance.

Basically,  the URL is a unique address that all the elements on the Internet have,  that is , there is literally a URL for every page, image, video and document on the Internet, which will allow us to easily locate them thanks to the information it contains. Whenever we visit a web page, it will be through its URL and each time we click on any link that the page or site contains, it will also direct us to another URL.

If you want to know a little more about this amazing mechanism, we invite you to continue reading the rest of the article.

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What is a URL for?

URL is the acronym in English for  “Uniform Resource Locator”,  whose meaning in Spanish is  Uniform Resource Locator ,  and which serves, as we mentioned earlier in these lines, to name resources on the Internet. For this,  the URL contains certain information that will be used by the browser  to find what we are looking for.

In this sense, the URL combines the protocol or scheme that will be necessary to use to retrieve the data, the name of the computer that provides the resource, the directory or subdirectory where it is located, and the document that will be accessed.

How and why does the URL come up? 

As we have seen so far, the URL gives us the possibility of accessing websites through these established addresses, which is why it is also important that we know how a URL arises and is formed. For this reason, we will review the components that make up a URL .

Well, in general we can mention that a URL is made up of two main components, on the one hand a protocol identifier, and on the other a source name. Here is a clear example of this.

Protocol identifier: https : //tecnologia-informatica.com In this case the identifier is http and this is used to indicate the name of the protocol that will be used to search for the source. Basically, http is a communication protocol between the browser and the web server.

Name of the source: https: // tecnologia-informatica.com In this case the domain, the name of the source is technology-informatica.com and the format of the name of the source will also depend on the protocol identifier used, which in most of the cases it will be HTTP, so it will also include other elements.

In this sense, we must say that in addition to these two main components, the URLs are completed with other elements that we can view in all the URLs, which are essential for us to be able to access the site corresponding to the web address pointed to by the Url.

Here we list the rest of the elements that make up a URL.

Colon: In all URLs, after the protocol identifier we find a colon ( 🙂 , which basically acts as a separation mechanism between the protocol and the rest of the web address.

Slashes: In all cases a URL includes two slashes ( // ), which are located separating the protocol identifier and the source name, after the colon that are written after the http. Its main function is to be an initiation for contact, that is, they notify the internet address to achieve contact with another server.

Index.html: In many cases we can find the one called index.html, which is the name of a requested file, which is usually a default page within a certain website. This index.html can also be called default.html

Suffix: In most cases the URL addresses include the suffix .com , although we can also find others widely used such as .net .info .gob .org and others, the most common being .com, and this refers to the domain used.

Domain name: When we talk about the full domain name we refer to a complete web address, that is, www.nombredelafuente.com , which in many cases can do without the www. And appear in the following way: technology-informatica.com, that is the domain name, which refers specifically to the last part of the web address.

Chain of events that lead us to a website

As we saw,  the URL address is a series of characters that we must write in the web browser to direct us to an Internet page,  each of these pages having a unique and unrepeatable URL address.

Each of these URL addresses is equivalent to an IP address, which is basically a series of numbers that tell our PC where to find the document we are looking for on the Internet. The URL addresses were created responding to the need of the user to be able to remember these locations in a simple way, since in the original format they are really difficult to retain in memory.

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Thanks to this mechanism, instead of having to  remember and enter a complicated series of numbers such as xx.xxx.x.xxx in the browser,  we simply enter  www.sitioquemosavisitar.com . Really much easier.

However, in addition to this issue, the Internet raises another problem, the incredible number of websites it hosts. That is why in order to have a good relationship with the network of networks we must include another mechanism:  DNS.

The DNS (Domain Name Server) or Domain Name System in Spanish,  is the system in charge of translating the immense amount of requests into IP addresses,  that is, the reverse process, but which can be handled with extreme accuracy by the computers that make up the Internet.

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It should be noted that a URL always begins with the name of its scheme followed by a colon, and then ends with the rest of the address. Below these lines, we can see some practical examples of how this system is implemented.

In addition, we must bear in mind  that URLs are case-sensitive,  and that in no case may they contain blank spaces. Both conditions should always be taken into account when writing a URL address in our favorite browser.

URL Formats, Schemas, and Syntax

The most common components of which a URL is composed are the following:

scheme: //host.domain: port / path / document
That is:  ../learning-informatics/interesting article.php

Now, we must understand by schema the classification system that is used to define the type of way in which the data and resources contained in the address must be retrieved, that is, the protocol that must be used in each specific case. In this case, “http”.

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After that, the host is positioned, for this address  “www”  and finally the domain is located, in this case,  www.sitioquedesseamosvisitar.com . It should be noted that the port value is usually omitted,  but as a general rule for http the port is 80.

Next,  “path”  defines, as its name indicates,  the path that the browser must take to reach the directory  where the element we wish to access on the server is housed, be it document, image, video or any other.

In the event that this value is omitted,  the elements must be stored in the main directory of the site,  otherwise they cannot be located, and therefore not accessed.

Finally, at the end of the chain, we find the name of the document that should be accessed. In this case, the most common are html, php, asp or similar,  but they can also be image file extensions such as jpg, gif, png or others, always depending on the scheme or protocol with which this information is accessed.

Some considerations about URL schemes

As we could see above,  the URL scheme indicates the type of network protocol with which the information or documents behind it should be accessed.  In this sense, the most common types of schemes or protocols are:

  • http: (Hypertext Transfer Protocol ) or in Spanish  ” Hypertext Transfer Protocol “, the type of scheme most used in the network.
  • https: (Hypertext Transfer Protocol over Secure Sockets Layer).  This type of protocol is used mainly to provide a higher level of security in Internet communications.
  • ftp: (File Transfer Protocol) : File Transfer Protocol . Used to upload and download files from the network.
  • mailto:  Used to provide a framework from which users have the ability to easily send an email from the web.
  • file:  This protocol is used to locate and access resources on a local PC or on the network.
  • news:  Used to access the newsgroup.
  • telnet:  This protocol is used to access other PCs using the network.

conclusion

As we could see, the URL is the mechanism that allows us to get to a web page easily and quickly, since all we have to do is write it in the space provided for this purpose in Chrome, IE, Firefox, Safari or the browser that we like.

Differences between HTTP and HTTPS

Surely on more than one occasion we have heard of  “HTTPS” , but we are not really sure what it means, and we do not care too much. This attitude can cause us a lot of serious problems related to the security of our data when we surf the Internet, even if we always do it in safe and reputable sites. From this point on, we will learn what HTTPS means and why that term is so important.

First of all,  we have to know that HTTPS is the safest way to surf the Internet,  since any data that we enter in the browser will travel encrypted and therefore cannot be analyzed for use, both for commercial or criminal purposes.

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Main differences between HTTP and HTTPS

The  Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP),  better known in Spanish as the Hypertext Transfer Protocol, is a system used in network systems, designed with the purpose of defining and standardizing the syntax and semantics of the transactions that are carried out between the different computers that make up a network.

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The main characteristic of this protocol is that it is a system oriented to the operation of the  “request-response” type,  which means that in the structure there must be a client and a server,  the client being the one that makes the requests and the server the one that answers them.  The responses from the server can be  the download of a file or the opening of a web page , depending on the type of request requested.

Basically, once we write a web address in the browser and press the “Enter” key,  the server will respond by giving us what we want.

Secure HTTP

In the case of  Hypertext  Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS)  or Secure Hypertext Transfer Protocol , the system is based on a combination of two different protocols,  HTTPS and SSL / TLS .

This is the safest and most reliable way to access the content offered by the web,  since any data or information that we enter will be encrypted,  which guarantees that it cannot be seen by anyone other than the client and the server, canceling in this way the possibility that it can be used, since the cybercriminal will only have in his hands encrypted data that he will not be able to decrypt.

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As we can see, the use of the HTTPS protocol  is of vital importance for any activity that involves the use of personal data such  as those used in banks, online stores, emails and any other site in which we must enter passwords, numbers of credit card or other personal information.

Certificates

In order for the system to function, the “Certificate” scheme must be implemented   having to be duly signed by an authority. In the case of web browsers, this method is transparent for the user,  since the necessary certificates to be able to explore the Internet without problems are obtained with the browser.

In the following table, we can see the main differences between the HTTP and HTTPS protocols:

HTTP HTTPS
URL starts with “http: //” URL starts with “https: //”
Port 80 is used for communication Port 443 is used for communication
No warranty Insured
Works at the application level It works at the transport level
No encryption With certificate
No certificates required Prescribed certificate

What is and how to shorten a URL?

The highly technological world in which we are living for a few years has created its own glossary of terms and methodologies that we have to get used to using so as  not to be left out of the universe that computing, and especially the internet, has created around us. .

And it is precisely around the internet that these terms, which for many are new but in reality have been with us for several decades, where we can come to find a large number of concepts that we ultimately need to know in order to function in the virtual world without major complications.

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When we refer to the internet, and especially what it means to surf, which is ultimately the most basic thing that all users of the world do when using the network of networks, we must inevitably refer to websites, which have several characteristics that make them what they are, but fundamentally they are closely related to the  so-called URLs, as we mentioned earlier in this post.

As we indicated,  a URL is a standardized naming convention through which documents that become accessible through the Internet are addressed, and it is thanks to the URLs of the websites that we can access these pages.

Here we tell you  what a URL consists of  and what is the method that allows us to shorten it when we need to.

What does it mean to shorten a URL?

In some cases  we can find a URL that is too long,  which somewhat complicates navigation, which is why over the years different methods have been developed to  shorten a URL,  and in this way to be able to create links in which significantly fewer characters are used.

The main reason why many users resort to  shortening a URL  has to do with the fact that  the shortened URL is much easier to use  when we want to share a link within a message or an email.

Keep in mind that when  the length of a URL is too long, it  can lead to typos, spelling errors and so on, which ultimately makes redirection to that website impossible.

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For this reason, URL shortening has really become very popular, as it is one of the best  alternatives for translating very long web addresses into URLs that are  much shorter, easy to remember and easy to share. But in addition to the fact that  URL shortening allows us a way to be able to use a shorter link to share it,  at the same time this method gives us the possibility of sharing that link without showing the real destination address.

How to shorten a URL?

URLs are made up of a series of sections that create the complete address of a website address. Here is an example of this:

https://www.tecnologia-informatica.com/redes-sociales-ventajas-inseguridad/

“HTTP: //”  is the so-called protocol, and it is what allows the web browser to know which protocol it is going to use to access the information specified in the domain.

“Www”  is about the subdomain and is used to distinguish the content and sometimes we will see that there are websites that do not use this section. In this particular case it is not used, but the most common is that it is used.

“Informatica-technology.com”  is the domain name of the website and is used to identify the type or location of the website.

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“Social-networks-advantages-insecurity”  is the article with the contents. It is also likely that sometimes we find the address of the subdirectory in which a certain page of a website is stored within the server. In this case we would have an address like the following: “articles / social-networks-advantages-insecurity”.

“.Php”  is the file extension of the web page that indicates that the file is of the PHP type, since there are common file extensions on the internet, including  .html, .asp, .cgi, .xml, .jpg and .gif.  Each of these file extensions performs a different function. In this specific case, it is not used, but it is very common that it is.

A URL like the one in the example can be shortened in such a way that it allows us to use it more appropriately, for example if we want to share a link in services such as Twitter, where we only have a  space to write a text of only 140 characters.

For the shortened URL to work,  it includes an element called a “key”,  which is basically generated through the use of a positional notation number system algorithm.

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That is why to be  able to shorten a URL we will  need a tool that allows us to perform this shortening, for which we can resort to the services offered on the internet, among which there are the most varied, both free and paid.

Services to shorten a URL

If you need to  shorten a URL,  here we bring you the three most popular free services on the internet to be able to  shorten URLs easily and quickly.

Google URL Shortener

This is a URL shortening service created by Google and the resulting short links use the domain  “goo.gl”.

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Bitly

Like the previous one, it is a free service to shorten URLs,  and in this case its short links use the domain “bit.ly”. As an extra in this case, we can mention that this service has a free application to use with iPhone.

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TinyURL

Undoubtedly this is one of the most popular URL shortening services today, and surely more than once we have come across one of its short links,  whose domain is “tinyurl.com”.  One of the advantages of this service is that it allows us to use names that we choose,  that is, we can create a short URL in which we can assign the name we want.

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There are a large number of  services available to shorten URLs on the internet,  and in general most work in a similar way,  since they have a text box in which we must enter the URL that we want to  shorten and then all we have to do is press a button for the system to convert that long url to a shortened url.

What is a Semantic URL?

Semantic URLs, also known as friendly URLs, consist of those web addresses whose main objective is to be easily understood by users, so that people can remember these addresses by heart and be able to type them in the browser without problems.

This is possible thanks to the structure and form of semantic URLs, which are usually quite different from classic URLs, also known as dynamic URLs , since semantic URLs do not include numbers, signs, or any other strange component.

In this way, a semantic URL allows it to be easily understood and remembered by users, and it is precisely for this reason that in recent years they have become increasingly popular, since they significantly improve the user experience.

They have also become an essential component in relation to SEO and are an element that enables a notable improvement in the praxis of webmasters. We also have to bear in mind that Google rewards web pages that have simple addresses and use friendly URLs.

However, the most important characteristic of semantic URLs is that due to their format they make it possible for them to be easily memorized, and that they are also usually made up of words that are related to the content of the pages to which they are directed, that is for this reason, they can be easy to memorize, and thus a user can enter a specific web page by typing the exact address from memory in the browser’s URL bar .

Therefore, semantic URLs are a fundamental element to improve the positioning of a web page, since they also collaborate in the creation and transmission of a good image regarding a brand. That is why large companies use semantic URLs.

Generally speaking, we could say that semantic URL include many advantages, as they are usually easy to read for users, provide a better picture of the website or brand that dynamic URL, include the ability to generate greater amount of links, improve the navigability of the site and simplify its usability.

Finally, we are going to review an example of what a semantic URL would be compared to a dynamic URL.

A dynamic URL that is not conformed to be a semantic URL consists of a URL that is filled with variables and numbers , making it a difficult URL for users to remember. An example would be the following:

http://este-esmisitio_web86.com/10KSDM/e?hgj8746484jjddn*8748478

On the contrary, a semantic URL is extremely user-friendly, since its main characteristics focus on being readable, understandable and easy to remember. An example would be the following:

http://misitio.com/noticias/lo-mejor-del-mes

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