URL Components Beginners Guide

URL Components or as known as a URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is a specific type of URI (Universal Resource Identifier). It normally locates an existing resource on the Internet. A URL is when a web client makes a request to a server for a resource.

As the Internet Society and IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) defines the concepts of the URI and the URL Components.  (http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2396.txt).

Briefly, a URI is any character string that identifies a resource. A URL is one of those URIs that identify a resource by its location, rather than by a name or other attribute of the resource.

A newer form of the resource identifier, the IRI (Internationalized Resource Identifier), permits the use of characters and formats that are suitable for national languages other than English.

URL Components
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An IRI is in place of a URI or URL when the applications involve the request and response support IRIs.

What are the URL Components?

Throughout the next few sections, we’ll look at the three most important parts of a URL for regular users. They should answer the question: “What is a website URL?”

1. The protocol

Consider the following URL:


The easiest part of this address to overlook is the first part. You probably see http:// and https:// at the beginning of every URL and don’t give it a second thought. However, this element – the URL’s ‘protocol’ – is more important than you might think.

The protocol tells your browser how to communicate with a web site’s server, in order to send and retrieve information. Traditionally, most sites have used Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), and you’ll still see this version across the web.

However, there’s been a recent move towards widespread adoption of Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS). While this protocol does essentially the same thing as HTTP. It’s a much more secure option that encrypts the data sent back and forth between the browser and the server.

That’s why most browsers give it a green security padlock: Check out our guide to implementing HTTPS.

2. The domain name

Let’s go back to the full URL for a moment:


The next part is the most identifiable element of a web address – the ‘domain name’.  A domain name is an identifier for a specific site, which will generally bring you straight to the home page. Of course, a domain name has two smaller parts.

There’s the name of the website in question, then the Top-Level Domain (TLD). The latter term refers to the .com.org.net designator (among others) at the end of the domain name.

When setting up a new site, it pays to spend some time carefully considering the domain name to use. It should be unique and attention-grabbing, but at the same time clear and easy to remember.

To come up with a strong domain name for your WordPress site. use a generator such as Domain Wheel to get ideas and see what’s available.

3. URL Components TLD

Your choice of TLD matters as well. For many sites, sticking with .com is the best option. It’s the TLD internet users are most familiar with and are usually expecting, which means it will be easiest for them to remember.

However, you can also benefit from choosing a TLD that’s a better fit for your niche or field. There are actually hundreds of TLD options (many of which are region- or industry-specific), so there’s plenty of choices if you want to venture beyond a simple .com.

4. The path

To visit our website’s front page, all you need is the protocol and the domain name:  But each individual page or file on a website also has its own URL Components. Once again, here’s what it looks like:


The ‘path’ is the part after the TLD. This is because it directs the browser to a specific page on the website. In this case, it leads first to our blog, then to a particular post: How to Automatically Find and Fix Broken Links in WordPress.

The very last part is also sometimes called a URL ‘slug’. As a WordPress user, you actually have a lot of control over the paths for your URLs look like. WordPress enables you to make changes to your ‘permalinks’, or the individual links to each page and post.

URL Components Path
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You can find this option in your dashboard by going to Settings > Permalinks:

URL Components Readers Board 

For more information about IRIs, see Internationalized Resource Identifiers (IRIs). A URL for HTTP (or HTTPS) has  three or four components:

  1. A scheme. The scheme identifies the protocol so as to access the resource on the Internet. It can be HTTP (without SSL) or HTTPS (with SSL).
  2. A host. The hostname identifies the host that holds the resource. For example, www.example.com. A server provides services in the name of the host, but hosts and servers do not have a one-to-one mapping. Refer to Hostnames.
  3. A path. The path identifies the specific resource in the host that the web client wants to access. For example, /software/htp/cics/index.html.
  4. A query string. Using a query string helps the path component. And provides a string of information that the resource can use for some purpose. for example, term=bluebird. Name and value pairs are separated from each other by an ampersand (&); for example, term=bluebird&source=browser-search.

How to apply the URL Components

The path and query string are case-sensitive. Rather than, the scheme and host components of a URL.

Typically, the whole URL is specified in lowercase. This combines and delimits the components of the URL  as follows:

  • A colon and two forward slashes follow the scheme.
  • If a port number is specified, that number follows the hostname, separated by a colon.
  • The pathname begins with a single forward slash.
  •  A question mark precedes, once a query string is specified.

Figure 1. The syntax of an HTTP URL

>>-http://--+-host name--+--+---------+--/--path component------>
            '-IP address-'  '-:--port-'                      
   '-?--query string-'   

Here is an example of an HTTP URL


With a port number specified, the URL is:


Search engines place some weight on keywords in your URLs.

Be careful, however, as the search engines can interpret long URLs with numerous hyphens in them (e.g.,Buy-this-awesome-product-now.html) as a spam signal.

Summing Up,

Usually, a fragment identifier follows the URL. The separator used between the URL and the fragment identifier is the # character. This points a web browser to a reference or function in the item that it has just retrieved.

For example, if the URL identifies an HTML page, a fragment identifier can use the ID of the subsection to indicate a subsection within the page. In this case, the web browser typically displays the page to the user so that the subsection is visible.

The action taken by the web browser for a fragment identifier differs depending on the media type of the item and the defined meaning of the fragment identifier for that media type.

Other protocols, such as File Transfer Protocol (FTP) or Gopher, also use URLs. The URLs used by these protocols might have a different syntax to the one used for HTTP.

Resourceful References;

To learn more, please email us through info@josephmuciraexclusives.com or simply, Contact Us. In addition, you’ll find the following links useful and related.

  1. The jmexclusives Managers: Cloud Computing and Technology Guides
  2. Digital Geetam: Top 11 Guidelines To Create SEO Friendly URL
  3. Wired: Google Takes Its First Steps Toward Killing the URL

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