Get a Quote

What in the world is a URL Path?

Monday, January 7 2013 10:58 AM
By Kalen Kubik

Have you ever tried to use the URL Navigation bar, that long white bar at the top of your browser, into which you've undoubtedly typed "Google" hundreds of times. You have most certainly mistyped a URL before; "Faceboko.com", " Twitter.ocm" or Pinterets.com". So, it's safe to assume you've found yourself on the dreaded 404 "This page does not exist" page, but why? What does it mean, "Not Found"? Not found where? Where am I looking?


How the Request is handled

Like its name suggests, the bar operates on the line of a path or tree. The URL Bar fires a request to the Domain Name. A domain name is a web address for a website. (Facebook.com, for instance, is merely the name of a domain that was purchased at the company's founding.) Since the web keeps track of what names have been purchased and owned by whomever, no domain name is identical.


The domain name will send the fired request to the server where the site's files are hosted. Now, we must pause here. Each website has a file tree on its server. These files are Stylesheets, HTML pages, Images, Admin pages, and all manner of files that merge to form a cohesive site. Like a tree, there is a root. This root forks into folders which contain more folders which hold files. We are only going to discuss the branch that the public can see, as some files are dedicated to the back-end of a site, and will never be seen by most besides the site's architect.


Depending on the size of the site this tree can be quite massive. When you search for a URL such as "360ideas.com", you will notice that the browser resets the name sometimes, adding in the "WWW." if you left it out, and adding the "/" to the URL request. This "/" mark is known as a backslash and references the index page of the public folder. So, 360ideas.com/ equals 360ideas.com's homepage.


This is where the files come in. You've referenced the default folder with "/" and it has brought forth the first viewable file "index.ext". If there are other files in this initial folder one may reference them by calling them forward with their domain "360ideas.com" their folder "/"  and their file name with extension "advertising.php" so the entire request would look like "www.360ideas.com/advertising.php".


Some of these levels can go very deep through multiple folders, "www.360wichita.com/Shopping/Music/SenseneyMusicInc.html". This URL goes through a secondary folder referenced by "/Shopping" then a tertiary "/Music" until it reaches it final file destination at "SenseneyMusicInc.html".


Simple Right?

Images can be seen the same way through accessing the /images folder of a site. If you visit Google and search images, on the left many times you will spy a link that says, "View Full Size Image". This link will direct you to the images folder on the hosting website where that image lives. There are many Content Management Systems, such as WordPress and Drupal, that contain a Robots.txt file which bars you from accessing every file on a webpage. That being said, feel free to explore different sites by hopping back through a URL to discover hidden folders.

Share the love

Submit Your Comment