What Does URL Stand For?
The internet term “URL” is a standard abbreviation for “Uniform Resource Locator.” It is used to designate the individual and unique internet address of documents and other types of resources on the internet. An example of such a “URL” is: www.mydomain.com.
If you browse the worldwide web and visit web pages and download other resources online such as doctors’ office forms or even renewing your driver’s license online, you use URLs to do that. When you “google” a search term, the search engine you are using displays your search results with links to the URLs for the search results from your query. The title of the search result you see on your screen is nothing more than a link to the URL of your search result.
How Does a URL Work?
URLs are designed for people who use the internet. The computers and servers that make up the internet need information differently from humans. Resources on the worldwide web reside at specific and unique addresses on the internet. These addresses are referred to as “internet protocol” addresses, or IP addresses for short. An IP address might look like this: 123.456.789.001.
Now imagine that if you wanted to visit your favorite website you needed to type in such an IP address to get there. So, URLs were invented to make this task infinitely easier. Instead of having to memorize the IP addresses for all your favorite websites, you simply had to remember their human name (or URL). Instead of typing in a series of numbers separated with dots, you now simply have to type in the name of the website you want to visit, such as: www.myfavoritewebsite.com. Entering a URL into your browser then allows you to access the home page of individual or company websites, specific pages within a website, or specific resources on a website. Some such resources might have a URL that ends in .pdf or .jpg, for example. All of these things are used in digital marketing and online ecommerce solutions.
Internet Security & URLs
The vast majority of internet URLs start with the prefix “http://”. This stands for “hypertext transfer protocol.” In recent years, security has become a major concern with the rise of ecommerce sites and more and more resources needing to be protected from prying eyes, such as your State DMV website or the website of your doctor’s office. So, a URL that starts with “https” instead of just “http” indicates that your connection to that URL is encrypted and secure from being intercepted by unauthorized persons. Your personally identifiable information, such as your social security number, are encrypted before it is transmitted, so hackers cannot easily intercept your information.
Any website you visit that asks for personally sensitive information such as your driver’s license number, your social security number, your credit card information, and more should be using a secure HTTPS connection.
Why Do I Need to Know About URLs?
When it comes to using URLs, the bottom line is the domain name, which is the foundation of any company or organization’s internet presence on the web. Domain names are the key, and they can be used for many things other than website addresses. A domain name can be used in creating an address where you go to log into your office computer system if you are working remotely, and they are indispensable when it comes to creating email addresses.