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– Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) were defined in RFC1738 in 1994 by Tim Berners-Lee and the URI working group of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).
– Early collaborators proposed the use of Universal Document Identifiers (UDIs) before settling on URLs.
– The term ‘universal’ was originally preferred over ‘uniform’ in the expansion of URL, but it was later changed.
– Berners-Lee expressed regret at using dots to separate parts of the domain name within URIs and wished he had used slashes throughout.


– Every HTTP URL conforms to the syntax of a generic URI.
– The URI generic syntax consists of five components: scheme, authority, path, query, and fragment.
– URI schemes should be registered with the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA).
– The authority component can include userinfo, host, and port subcomponents.
– The path component consists of path segments separated by a slash and can resemble a file system path.


– URLs are commonly used to reference web pages (HTTP/HTTPS).
– URLs are also used for file transfer (FTP), email (mailto), database access (JDBC), and other applications.
– Most web browsers display the URL of a web page in an address bar.
– A typical URL includes a protocol, hostname, and file name.
– In http and https URIs, the last part of the path is often named pathinfo and is used to select dynamic content.

Internationalized URL

– An Internationalized Resource Identifier (IRI) is a form of URL that includes Unicode characters.
– The domain name in an IRI is known as an Internationalized Domain Name (IDN).
– Web and Internet software automatically convert IDNs into punycode usable by the Domain Name System.
– The URL path name can be specified in the user’s local writing system and is converted to UTF-8.
– Characters not part of the basic URL character set are escaped using percent-encoding.

Related Standards

URL is a specific type of Uniform Resource Identifier (URI).
– Other related standards include URI and URN.
– The World Wide Web relies on the use of URLs to locate resources.
– The URL specification is licensed under CC BY 4.0.
– Organizations such as are involved in maintaining and developing URL standards.

URL (Wikipedia)

A Uniform Resource Locator (URL), colloquially known as an address on the Web, is a reference to a 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.

Uniform Resource Locator
First published1994; 30 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 1738. – Uniform Resource Locators (URL).
  • RFC 3986. – Uniform Resource Identifier (URI): Generic Syntax.
  • RFC 4248. – The telnet URI Scheme.
  • RFC 4266. – The gopher URI Scheme.
  • RFC 6068. – The 'mailto' URI Scheme.
  • RFC 6196. – Moving mailserver: URI Scheme to Historic.
  • RFC 6270. – The 'tn3270' URI Scheme.
Related standardsURI, URN
DomainWorld Wide Web
LicenseCC BY 4.0

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

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