When you need to access a website, you must write in the bar reserved for this purpose of your browser a series of letters of the type https://www.mister-hosting.com. This is the URL of your site, a unique address that allows a user to find your site among the millions that exist on the internet.
Note that URLs are always composed of four parts:
- Le http:// we call protocol
- Le www we call the prefix
- Le domain (mister-hosting in our example)
- The extension: .FR, .COM, .EU …
The URL of a site is a very important element that deserves a lot of thought even before the creation of your site. It has a marketing dimension, but also important SEO. But you can only advance that if you understand the true operation of these four parts.
However, before raising these four points, you are probably wondering what all these elements are for since if you only type mister-hosting.com, you go to the site you want. In reality, it’s not that these elements are useless, it’s only that your browser winks at you by adding the first two parts of the URL for you that you forgot to specify (usually the http: // and the www).
1. THE HTTP PROTOCOL
An internet protocol can result in the way in which two remote computers communicate, in this case your computer and the internet server that hosts the website that interests you. Note that there is several types of protocols, HTTP for websites, FTP for file transfers, POP and SMTP for emails …
The protocol HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) is especially the one that interests us. When you type a URL in a web browser, your computer sends an HTTP request to the server hosting the site and the server will load.
Note that another protocol derived from HTTP is also frequently used for the web, the HTTPS which simply means secure HTTP. It works the same way, but uses encryption of all data exchanged between the server and your computer. Note that sites that use HTTPS are well seen by Google and benefit from a plus in relation to their positioning. However, it’s not a simple matter to change the HTTP to HTTPS, you have to go through several steps, including getting a SSL certificate (Secure Sockets Layer).
2. THE WWW PREFIX
www found in most URLs means “World Wide Web”. This prefix is standard although it is not mandatory. In fact, you also have the right to put a word or letter sequence of your choice in its place. Only, tell yourself that it is more difficult for visitors to remember them, since they especially have this value stored in their heads.
the site fr.yahoo.com for example uses a different prefix, but is careful to configure a redirect if a user types yahoo.fr in his browser. This is done through configuration files of type .htaccess (for Apache servers).
Prefixes are usually used to display particular directories of a website, which is most often referred to as a subdomain. If, for example, you have a site whose the domain name is www.mysite.com, you will use the subdomain blog.monsite.com for the associated blog.
3. WHAT IS A DOMAIN NAME?
This is the most significant element of your URL, it’s the unique element. He must be chosen wisely. It must be memorable, very simple and must give an overview of your activity (recommended especially for commercial sites). Avoid domain names that are too long and difficult to remember. Avoid getting close to domain names already in use, especially if they are already popular, they may eject your site from the memory of users.
Because your domain name is uniqueyou must make sure that the one you have chosen is available. For this, you must use a registrar.
4. THE EXTENSION
It iss .com, .net, .fr … The extension is a kind of parent category of URLs. At the beginning of the internet, the extension was obligatorily composed of three letters. But nowadays, the rule has relaxed.
Extensions are not free. You must choose from a short list, which however has more than 500 possibilities. Some of these extensions are inaccessible to the general public, some are related to a country like .fr for France or .be for Belgium, and some are generic like .com (commercial) or .info (information).
The extensions are mostly determinants for SEO. Google gives more importance to a site .fr for example (between any list of parameters), if the user who sends the request is located in France. Also note that the prices of the extensions are different.