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What is a URL? Your website address explained

We begin our five-part series about website and email security by taking a behind the scenes look from the point when we type words into a browser to ending up landing on a website page.


What is a URL?  Your website address explained

Accessing the web is a straightforward task these days.  Yet many of us would like to better understand what happens behind the scenes when we type words into our browser.  We begin our five-part series about website and email security with a technical introduction written for those who are not IT experts.  Each part of the series strings together the story behind good website and email management.

When using the web, you are networking via Internet Protocol (IP)

To access another computer system via the internet, you need to provide a very exact address.  Your webpage itself has a unique numeric IP address signifying its location on a computer network, which you established using the Domain Name System (DNS).  The system converts alphabetic names into unique numeric IP addresses and is a mechanism for retrieving a resource known as a Uniform Resource Locator (URL).

There are global protocols for transmitting data between computers

For the internet exchanges, these are known as TCP/IP, HTTP(s), SMTP, and DNS.  They are different types of software, and to use one is a must.  Your browser will automatically be using one such protocol, so there is no need to type this.

The next two parts of the address are what we tend to type into our browser

The subdomain does nothing other than identify a server dedicated to the web, you will have been in the habit of typing “www.” because that is what many sites use.  A site owner can use any letters or indeed none at all, the choice of “www.” is purely tradition.  The domain name, or second-level domain, is what catches the searcher’s attention, it is what you and your co-founders spent many hours coining to represent the spirit of the enterprise.

Additionally, IP convention requires you to attach a top-level domain identifier, or an extension, which you will know as .com, .net, .org, .eu, etc.  From here on out, any click within the site will take you to a file located deeper on the server and it is associated with a specific file name, or index each separated with a further “/”.

And there you have it.  You now should have a good grasp of what a URL actually is and enjoy Part II of our info-series:  How to prevent spam, phishing and other email security issues.

We hope you enjoy reading our research, designed for professionals who are not IT experts but thirsty for knowledge about the everyday tools to operate a business – your email and website.


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