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How to understand a URL (web address)

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A URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is better known as a 'web address' by the lay person. It is the full text that you type in to your browser's address bar to access a page on the internet. For example, one way to navigate to my article on installing Wordpress would be to type the following URL: http://www.howopia.co.uk/howto/how-install-wordpress-using-cpanel. The following guide shows you how to decode this string of characters.
What you'll need: 
Basic understanding of what a browser, web server, folder and document is
1: 
The first part of the URL - http:// - is an instruction to your browser to follow a certain set of commands (or 'protocol') when interacting with web servers. HTTP stands for 'Hypertext Transfer Protocol' but other popular protocols include SMTP, POP and FTP.
2: 
The second part - www.howopia.co.uk - is the domain name. A domain is a general website which can host any number of files or folders. The domain name usually, but not always, gives an indication of the type of organisation and the location of the site's owners. In this example we can see that Howopia is a commercial company based in the UK (.co.uk).
3: 
Anything between the forward slash (/) following the domain name and the last forward slash in the URL is known as the 'path'. It consists of a list of folders through which your browser must navigate to find the file it needs. In this example, there is just one folder - 'howto' - in the path.
4: 
Finally, following the last forward slash is the 'filename'. This is simply the name of the document that you are accessing. Sometimes the filename will end with an extension which tells you which computer language the document was written in (e.g. .html) but in many cases the full filename is replaced by a search engine friendly tag. In my example, the filename is 'how-install-wordpress-using-cpanel'.

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