What Is a URL?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Apr 13, 2020 5:11:30 PM ET

A URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is a text string used by email clients, web browsers and other web applications to identify a specific resource on the web. It is the core network identification for any resource on the Internet.

A URL typically has three components: the protocol identifier, host address or name and resource or file location. The protocol identifier is separated from the host name using a colon followed by two forward slashes. The substrings are arranged as follows: protocol://host/resource. The protocol identifier shows the protocol being used to transport the resource. URLs featuring all three substrings are referred to as absolute URLs. URLs that only contain a single location element are referred to as relative URLs.