Understanding Web Page Addresses

Using the Web is easythat's why it's so popular. But if there's one thing about Web surfing that trips up newcomers, it's using Web page addresses effectively. So here and now, I'll set you straight on Web page addresses so that you can leap online with confidence.

For the most part, you'll deal with only two kinds of addresses for most Internet activities:

  • Email addresses These are easy to spot because they always contain an "at" symbol ( @ ). You'll learn all about email addresses in Chapter 5.

  • Web addresses These never contain an @ symbol. Web page addresses are expressed as a series of letters separated by periods ( . ) and sometimes forward slashes ( / ), for example, www.microsoft.com/index/contents.htm . A Web address is sometimes referred to as a URL .


A URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is the official name for the address format you use when telling a Web browser where to take you. (You can pronounce it "you-are-el" or "earl.")

Although most URLs are Web page addresses, other types of URLs may be used in a Web browser for accessing other types of Internet resources. You'll learn about Web page URLs in this chapter, and about other types later in this book.

If you keep your eyes open , you'll see Web page and site addresses everywhere these days. By typing an address in your Web browser (as you learn to do shortly), you can go straight to that page, the page the address "points to." Just to give you a taste of the possibilities, and to get you accustomed to the look and feel of a Web site address, Table 4.1 shows the addresses of some fun and/or interesting Web sites.


As Table 4.1 shows, many addresses begin with the letters "www." But not all do, so don't assume.

Table 4.1. A Few Out of the Millions of Fun and Interesting Web Sites




Cable News Network (CNN)


eBay, an online auction house


A trove of recipes


The SciFi Channel


A site where you can learn all about buying a new or used auto


The United Negro College Fund


Cleveland's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum


The United Nations


The New York Stock Exchange


A guide to choosing a college


Help for insomniacs


The space agency's site


The Anchorage, Alaska, Daily News


Advice for parents of multiples


The Internet Movie Database, everything about every film ever made


Amazon.com, a popular online bookshop


The National Hockey League

Anatomy of a Web Address

The address of a Web site is made up of several different parts . Each part is separated from those that follow it by a single, forward slash (/).

The first part of the addresseverything up to the first single slashis the Internet address of a Web server. Everything following that first slash is a directory path and/or filename of a particular page on the server. For example, consider the following fictitious URL:


The filename of the actual Web page is fudge.htm . (Web page files often use a filename extension of .htm or .html .) That file is stored in a directory or folder called sundaes , which is itself stored in the icecream directory. These directories are stored on a Web server whose Internet address is www.dairyqueen.com .

Sometimes, an address will show just a server address, and no Web page filename. That's okaymany Web servers are set up to show a particular file to anyone who accesses the server (or a particular server directory) without specifying a Web page filename.

For example, if you go to the address of Microsoft's Web server, www.microsoft.com , the server automatically shows you an all-purpose Web page you can use for finding and jumping to other Microsoft pages. Such pages are often referred to as "top" or "index" pages, and often even use index.htm as their filename. The extension at the end of a filename (such as .htm) will vary based on the program that created it. You'll see lots of .cfm, .jsp, and .asp extensions along with the .htm and .html ones.


Technically, every Web page address begins with http:// or https :// , particularly when described as a URL, the technical designation for the address format you use when working in a Web browser.

But the latest releases of Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer no longer require you to type that first part. For example, using either of those browsers, you can surf to the URL http://www.mcp.com just by typing


(In fact, you don't even need to type the www partif it's required, these browsers will fill it in for you.) Because of this change, Web page addresses often appear in advertising, books, and magazines with the http:// part left off.

If you use a browser other than the Big Two, or older versions of the Big Two, however, you probably have to include the http:// part when typing URLs in your browser. For example, to go to www. pepsi .com , you would type


  1. Connect to the Internet and open your Web browser. After a few moments, your home page (whatever it may be) appears (see Figure 4.2).

    Figure 4.2. Step 1: Open your browser to your home page.


  2. Examine your browser's toolbar area. The address you see there is the address of your home page (see Figure 4.3).

    Figure 4.3. Step 2: Find the address of your home page.


  3. Make a mental note of the spot where you saw the home page address. That's where you'll always see the address of whatever page you're currently viewing. That's usually also the place where you'll type addresses to navigate the Web, as described next .

Sams Teach Yourself Internet and Web Basics All in One
Sams Teach Yourself Internet and Web Basics All in One
ISBN: 0672325330
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 350
Authors: Ned Snell

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