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IT@Sam Newsletter

Tech Tips - The Anatomy of a Web Address

You type them or see them all the time. But what does it all mean? What do these .coms and https' mean? In this month's tech tips we disect URLs and look at their anatomy.



SHSU Support URL



Here’s a sample URL from our very own website: 



http:// stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol and that tells the computer that we are looking to “Transfer” “Hyper Text” (a webpage) from the internet to your computer.  When typing a web address into any web browser you usually don’t even have to type the “http://” because the computer assumes it.


www stands for World Wide Web which is the center of software rules and protocols that make up what we all know of as the internet.


shsu in this example stands for Sam Houston State University and it is technically the “second level domain name” 


.edu is a an example of a “top level domain name.” “.org” is primarily used by Non-profits, “.edu” is commonly used by schools and universities, “.gov” is used by the government, and “.com” is primarily for commercial websites. Together shsu.edu could be described as the university's "domain name.” 


/~ucs_www/support/ The last part of the addreess, “/~ucs_www/support/”, tells the computer to go to a folder labeled “support” that is inside a folder labeled “ucs_www” on the SHSU server. 


Now you know what the different parts of a web address are and what they mean. This will help you identify valid websites. Big businesses will often have a domain name that relates to their business name. Here are some examples:

  • Chase (www.chase.com)
  • eBay (www.ebay.com)
  • Netflix (www.netflix.com)



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