Uniform Resource Locator
First published1994; 29 years ago (1994)
Latest versionLiving Standard
OrganizationInternet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
CommitteeWeb Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG)
SeriesRequest for Comments (RFC)
EditorsAnne van Kesteren
AuthorsTim Berners-Lee
Base standards
  • RFC 3986. – Uniform Resource Identifier (URI): Generic Syntax.
  • .spec.whatwg.org

A Uniform Resource Locator (URL), colloquially termed a web address, is a reference to a web resource that specifies its location on a computer network and a mechanism for retrieving it. A URL is a specific type of Uniform Resource Identifier (URI), although many people use the two terms interchangeably. URLs occur most commonly to reference web pages (HTTP/HTTPS) but are also used for file transfer (FTP), email (mailto), database access (JDBC), and many other applications.

Most web browsers display the URL of a web page above the page in an address bar. A typical URL could have the form http://www.example.com/index.html, which indicates a protocol (http), a hostname (www.example.com), and a file name (index.html).


Uniform Resource Locators were defined in

The URI comprises:

  • A non-empty scheme component followed by a colon (:), consisting of a sequence of characters beginning with a letter and followed by any combination of letters, digits, plus (+), period (.), or hyphen (-). Although schemes are case-insensitive, the canonical form is lowercase and documents that specify schemes must do so with lowercase letters. Examples of popular schemes include http, https, ftp, mailto, file, data and irc. URI schemes should be registered with the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), although non-registered schemes are used in practice.
  • An optional

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