How Web Addresses Work

Every Web site on the Web is stored on a computer that is part of a vast network. To access a Web site, you need to access the computer on which the Web site is stored. Just as every house has a unique address, each computer on the Web is identified by a unique address, known as the Internet Protocol (IP) Address. The IP address is a numeric address that specifies the exact location of a computer on the Web. You can access a computer on the Web by using an IP address, such as 192.168.0.1.

The IP address is linked to a corresponding domain name because it is easier to remember names than a string of numbers. For example, the corresponding domain name for the IP address 74.125.132.103 is www.google.com. Web browsers can use either the domain name or the IP address to locate and display a Web page.

A Web site for a domain is accessed with the help of a unique alphanumeric address known as the Web address. The Web address is also known as the Uniform Resource Locator (URL), which specifies the protocol to be used and the exact location of the Web site. A protocol is a standard method of transferring data between different computers. Consider theexample http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football

  • http indicates what protocol to use
  • bbc.co.uk/sport/football specifies the exact location of the Web page.
Element Description
http:// Indicates the protocol to be used to access a file.
www Indicates that the Web site is on the Web.
bbc Indicates the name of the domain.
.co.uk Indicates the type of domain.
/sport/football Indicates the path to the document.

A URL also includes a domain name suffix that indicates the type of organization to which the Web site belongs. For example, in the domain name microsoft.com, the domain name suffix is .com. The following list shows some examples of domain name suffixes.

.com: Indicates that the Web site is for a commercial organization.

.ac.uk: Indicates that the Web site is for educational institutions, such as schools, colleges, and universities.

.net: Indicates that the Web site is for a network-oriented organization or for an ISP.

.org: Indicates that the Web site is for a nonprofit organization.

.info: Indicates that the Web site is informative in nature.

.gov: Indicates that the Web site is used for a government department

Exercise: Finding your machine’s IP Address

The steps to find the IP Address of your machine are as follows:

  1. Click Start, and click Run.
  2. In the Run dialog box, type cmd and click OK.
  3. In the Command Prompt Window, at the command prompt, type ipconfig and press ENTER.

Next: Explore Websites Using a Browser