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A URL (Uniform Resource Locator, previously Universal Resource Locator) - usually pronounced by sounding out each letter but, in some quarters, pronounced "Earl" - is the unique address for a file that is accessible on the Internet. A common way to get to a Web site is to enter the URL of its home page file in your Web browser's address line. However, any file within that Web site can also be specified with a URL. Such a file might be any Web (HTML) page other than the home page, an image file, or a program such as a common gateway interface application or Java applet. The URL contains the name of the protocol to be used to access the file resource, a domain name that identifies a specific computer on the Internet, and a pathname, a hierarchical description that specifies the location of a file in that computer.
On the Web (which uses the Hypertext Transfer Protocol, or HTTP), an example of a URL is:
which specifies the use of a HTTP (Web browser) application, a unique computer named www.ietf.org, and the location of a text file or page to be accessed on that computer whose pathname is /rfc/rfc2396.txt.
Every URL consists of some of the following: the scheme name (commonly called protocol), followed by a colon, two slashes, then, depending on scheme, a server name (exp. ftp., www., smtp., etc.) followed by a dot (.) then a domain name |group="note"}} (alternatively, IP address), a port number, the path of the resource to be fetched or the program to be run, then, for programs such as Common Gateway Interface (CGI) scripts, a query string, and an optional fragment identifier.
The syntax is:
Other examples of scheme names include https:, gopher:, wais:, ftp:. URLs with https as a scheme (such as https://example.com/) require that requests and responses will be made over a secure connection to the website. Some schemes that require authentication allow a username, and perhaps a password too, to be embedded in the URL, for example ftp://firstname.lastname@example.org. Passwords embedded in this way are not conducive to secure working, but the full possible syntax is