What Is a URL and What Is a Web Address?

A URL and a Web address are the same thing in Internet terminology. URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator and is the full address of the website being accessed. The term “Web address” is the common way of referring to a URL.

A URL consists of several parts: the protocol, the server name, top-level domain and the file path. The protocol tells the browser how the data should be handled. The most common protocol is HTTP, standing for HyperText Transfer Protocol, which is standard for websites. Another protocol is FTP, or File Transfer Protocol. The protocol of a URL is always followed by a colon and two forward slashes, e.g., “http://” or “mailto://”.

After the protocol comes the server name, for example “google.com.” This is the main Google homepage directory from which everything else in the Google directory originates. The “.com” part is called a top-level domain, and is used for computers in the United States to indicate the type of entity that created the website. Google, as a commercial entity, uses the .com domain. Universities and other educational institutions use the “.edu” domain, while government entities utilize the “.gov” domain. The file path is the last part of the URL, which indicates the specific file on the server that should be accessed.