You say URL, I say URI ….

March 18, 2010

“Is a URL a URI?”
“Is a URI a URL?”
“What does URL stand for?”
“What does URI stand for?”
“What does URL mean?”

I’ve been asked so many times I’ve lost count and for the sake of my sanity, I’ve decided to explain their distinquishing marks.

URL  – Uniform Resource Locator
URI – Uniform Resource Identifier

Sometimes these achronyms are used interchangably which is almost entirely wrong. Basically a URL is a specific type of URI because it uses specific protocols like http:  ftp: and mailto: URI defines a larger, more generalized superset.

Effectively, URL is no longer a valid in technical conversations or documents and you should use URI regardless of how big a pedant you are. A URI describes both the way you access something and it’s designated location.

You may see some explainations where U is defined as Universal. This is wrong and the author is just confused.

So, let’s call the whole thing off.

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One Response to “You say URL, I say URI ….”


  1. I seldom drop comments, however i did some searching and wound up here You
    say URL, I say URI . | Aliens ate my GUI. And I actually do have a
    couple of questions for you if you tend not to mind. Could it be simply me or does it look as if like a few of these responses
    come across like left by brain dead individuals?
    😛 And, if you are writing at other social sites, I’d like to follow everything new you have to post. Could you make a list of all of all your shared pages like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?


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