Old Dominion University Libraries

STARquest II: The Internet and the World Wide Web

1d. What are those http things?

Each Web page has an address. These addresses are called URLs or Uniform Resource Locators. Many newspapers, magazines and television programs give out URLs to help you access further information on the Web.

You can type a URL in the address box at the top of the program you are using to view web pages (Netscape, Internet Explorer, etc). Type the url exactly as it appears, using upper and lower case as shown.

Location bar in Internet Explorer

It is important to understand the separate components of a URL, especially when evaluating a Web page. Take the example of Perry Library's URL, which is http://www.lib.odu.edu shown above.

The first part of the address -http - stands for hypertext transfer protocol, the most commonly-used access method. Other access methods include ftp, telnet, or news.

The next part - www.lib.odu.edu - is the address of the computer on which the data or service is located. It is also referred to as the domain name. The ending .edu indicates that it is an education site, often a college or university. Other common endings are:

  • .com = for commerical sites
  • .gov = for government sites
  • .org = for organization sites

Sometimes you will see extensions on the basic URL. For example, http:www.lib.odu.edu/resources. Such extensions have various functions; often they identify a specific file or text within that Web site.

Definining URL parts