Difference Wiki

URL vs. URI: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sumera Saeed || Updated on October 7, 2023
URL is a specific type of URI that provides the means to locate and retrieve a resource. URI is a string of characters used to identify a name or resource on the Internet, which can be classified as either a URL or URN.

Key Differences

URL, which stands for Uniform Resource Locator, always refers to a specific resource's address on the web. URI, or Uniform Resource Identifier, is a string of characters that identifies a particular resource. The URL can be perceived as a subset of URIs because every URL is a URI, but not every URI is a URL.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023
URLs contain information about how to fetch a resource from its location. In contrast, URI is a more generic term that encompasses URLs and is used to identify a resource without specifying the means to retrieve it. Thus, while the URL suggests both identity and location, URI is primarily concerned with identity.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023
URLs are always URIs, due to containing the practical details necessary for retrieval, such as HTTP, FTP, etc., which point to the resource location. Conversely, URIs might not be URLs because they might be URNs (Uniform Resource Names), which name a resource without providing its location.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023
URL implies accessibility, containing enough information to not only identify a resource but also interact with it, typically through HTTP or HTTPS protocols. URI, being a broader category, simply aims at identifying an entity, allowing a level of abstraction, and does not necessarily imply network accessibility.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023
URLs require more strict syntax due to their navigational utility, often specifying protocol, domain, path, and other components. In contrast, URI needs sufficient detail to uniquely identify the resources and may not provide the means to locate or retrieve it, having a more flexible syntax.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Definition

Locator of resources on the web
Identifier for resources, can be a URL or a URN
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023

Type

A subset of URI
A superset, includes URL and URN
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023

Usage

Specifies how to access a resource
Identifies a resource, doesn’t define access
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023

Protocols

Must specify (e.g., HTTP, HTTPS)
No need to specify
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023

Example

Https://www.example.com
Urn:isbn:0451450523
Harlon Moss
Oct 07, 2023
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URL and URI Definitions

Url

A URL is a specific address used to access a resource on the internet.
You can visit our website by typing the URL www.example.com into your browser.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023

URI

A URI is a string that identifies any resource on the internet, which can be a URL or a URN.
The URI urn:isbn:123456789 identifies a book without specifying its location.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023

Url

URL contains protocol, domain name, path, and potentially other components to locate a web resource.
The URL http://example.com/path?query=term has multiple components indicating how to retrieve the resource.
Sara Rehman
Oct 07, 2023

URI

URI does not necessarily imply accessibility or location of the resource.
The URI might be a name or locator, depending on its specific type.
Huma Saeed
Oct 07, 2023

Url

URLs always imply the means to access a resource.
Use the URL ftp://files.example.com to access the FTP server and download files.
Janet White
Oct 07, 2023

URI

URI allows a level of abstraction in identifying resources without demanding details on how to access them.
Using URI for identification allows system architects to separate identification and access mechanisms.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023

Url

A URL must specify a network protocol, like HTTP or FTP.
Ensure that the URL begins with HTTPS to establish a secure connection to the website.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023

URI

URIs encompass all means of resource identification, be it name-based or locator-based.
URIs serve as a general category for identifying resources in various namespaces.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023

Url

URL can be absolute, containing full access details, or relative, partial URLs used in conjunction with a base URL.
To link an internal page, use a relative URL like /contact-us, ensuring it connects from the site’s base URL.
Huma Saeed
Oct 07, 2023

URI

URI’s identification is not always tied to the resource’s current state or location.
A URI can remain consistent even if the resource it identifies moves or changes.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 07, 2023

Url

An internet address (for example, http://www.hmhco.com/about-hmh), usually consisting of the access protocol (http), the domain name (hmhco.com), and optionally the path to a file or resource residing on the server where the domain name resides (about-hmh).
Sumera Saeed
Sep 19, 2015

URI

Plural of urus
Sumera Saeed
Sep 19, 2015

Url

The address of a web page on the world wide web
Sumera Saeed
Sep 19, 2015

FAQs

What is the meaning of URI?

Uniform Resource Identifier.
Huma Saeed
Oct 07, 2023

Does a URL always have an associated protocol?

Yes, a URL includes a protocol, such as HTTP or FTP.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023

What is an example of a URL?

https://www.example.com is an example of a URL.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023

What does URL stand for?

Uniform Resource Locator.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023

What components are usually found in a URL?

Protocol, domain name, path, and possibly a query string and fragment.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023

Is a URL a URI?

Yes, a URL is a type of URI.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023

What is the purpose of a URI in computer science?

To identify resources uniquely, facilitating interaction and retrieval when necessary.
Sara Rehman
Oct 07, 2023

Are all URIs clickable links?

No, not all URIs are clickable links, as some URIs do not specify access mechanisms.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 07, 2023

Do URLs always point to active webpages?

No, URLs point to resources, which may or may not be active webpages.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 07, 2023

What's a real-world analogy for URL and URI?

A URI is like a person’s name, while a URL is like their address: the first identifies, the second locates and provides access.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023

Can you provide an example of a URI that is not a URL?

urn:isbn:123456789 is a URI (specifically a URN) but not a URL.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 07, 2023

Can URLs and URIs be used interchangeably?

While often used interchangeably, technically, they have distinct definitions.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023

Can a URL be used to locate non-web resources?

Yes, URLs can locate FTP, email, database, and other resources.
Harlon Moss
Oct 07, 2023

Is the syntax of URL and URI always similar?

While similar, URIs may have varied syntax depending on whether they’re URLs or URNs.
Janet White
Oct 07, 2023

Can a URI be a URL?

Yes, if it specifies the means to access the resource.
Janet White
Oct 07, 2023

What protocol does a secure URL use?

A secure URL uses the HTTPS protocol.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023

Are URIs case-sensitive?

URIs are case-insensitive in the scheme and domain but may be case-sensitive in the path and query.
Janet White
Oct 07, 2023

What is a URL path?

The part of the URL specifying the specific resource in the domain.
Janet White
Oct 07, 2023

Why might a URI not specify how to retrieve a resource?

URIs can be designed to persistently identify a resource without tying it to a particular access path or method.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023

Do URIs always specify how to access a resource?

No, URIs identify a resource but don't necessarily specify how to access it.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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