Think of the World Wide Web as a vast collection of electronic files stored
on millions of computers all around the world. Hypertext links these files together. Uniform Resource Locators or URLs are the addresses
used to locate the files.
The information contained in a URL gives you
the ability to hop from one web page to another with just a click. When you type a URL into your browser or click a hypertext link,
your browser sends a request to a remote computer, called a web server,
to download one or more files. Every URL is unique, identifying one specific file.
What does a typical URL look like? Here are a few examples:
The home page of Learn the Net.
The Facebook page for Learn the Net.
A directory of files at MIT available for
A newsgroup on rose gardening.
A blog about soccer from the Reuters news service
The first part of a URL (before the two slashes) tells you the type of resource or method of access at that address. For example:
http - a hypertext document or directory
ftp - a file available for downloading or a directory of these files
news - a newsgroup
file - a file located on a local drive of your computer
The second part is typically the address of the computer where the data or service is located. Additional parts may specify the name of a file, the port to connect to, or the text to search for in a database.