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Paths vs. URLs


A path specifies the location of a file or directory (folder) on a computer. A simple path looks like this:


The components of a path are separators (the "/" character) and file or directory names. There is always a "/" at the begining of a path to mark the top level or root directory. Each subsequent "/" in the path indicates the next level down in the computers directory structure. The last file or directory name in the path is the item that the path leads to. The example "/user/jones/notes" specifies that there is a file named notes that resides in a folder named jones that resides in a folder named user.


A URL specifies the location of a file on the World Wide Web. A simple URL looks like this:

A more complex URL looks like this:

The major components of a URL are the

Protocol - Indicates which internet service or protocol will handle the file. (i.e. ftp, http)

Domain Name - A domain name contains the name you would lookup in WHOIS.  

A domain name does NOT contain http:// or www. 

www is what is called an ALIAS. 

Thus my domain name is not or 


Network Location - A unique name which identifies an Internet server or Internet domain.

A network location has two or more parts separated by periods.

Path - The folder containing the file.

File Name - The name of the file.

In the first example no path or file name is specified. When no path is specified after the domain name the file resides in the root directory of the domain. When no file name is specified the file is generally assumed to be index.htm. Index.htm or index.html is the default file name for HTML pages.


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