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What is a URL?

A URL, which stands for Universal Resource Locator, is the full-form web address of a website, web page, document or any other online resource. A URL is not to be confused with a domain name, though a domain is an important part of any URL.

The URL is the unique online address where a web page resides online. URLs are the most common type of URI (Universal Resource Indicator).

Finding a URL

The URL of any web page can be found in the address bar at the top of your screen of your web browser (such as Google Chrome, Safari or Firefox). The URL of this webpage, for example, is: https://www.wix.com/encyclopedia/definition/__url, as is seen in your address bar. The domain of this webpage is therefore www.wix.com.

To view the full-form URL of any link, you can right click and copy the link address, then paste it into a new browser tab, note, email or document.

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URL structure

A URL is made up of five parts – the scheme (sometimes called protocol), subdomain, Second-Level Domain, Top-Level Domain, and subdirectory (sometimes called path).

  • Scheme: The first part of a URL is always the scheme (also known as protocol), for example “https://”. HTTPS, which stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, is the most common scheme of URLs. Other schemes include “mailto://” (which opens an email service provider) and “ftp://” (File Transfer Protocol).

  • Subdomain: A subdomain is not always a part of a URL, but it’s commonly used by large websites comprising a number of mini-sites. For instance, in the web address “blog.example.com”, the subdomain sends to your website’s blog page.

  • Second-Level Domain: The Second-Level Domain (SLD) is the actual name of your website. For example, in wix.com, ‘wix’ is the SLD and the Top-Level Domain (see below) is ‘.com’.

  • Top-Level Domain: The Top-Level Domain (TLD) is one of the highest levels in the hierarchical Domain Name System of the web. The most popular TLD is “.com”, which was intended for commercial entities in the United States (hence .com). Other popular TLDs include .org, .net, .edu, .gov, and country-specific TLDs such as .co.uk.

  • Subdirectory or path: The final part of a URL is the subdirectory or path, often used for specific pages. For example, ‘contact’ is the subdirectory for this URL: https://shop.example.com/contact

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