Link vs URL: Difference and Comparison

The web is home to a vast amount of information and resources. It is so vast that not all the books could provide this much data.

One can search a search engine for whatever they want, and it is right in front of them. However, that is just the front side, what the user sees.

A lot goes on behind the scenes for every search, and it is worth understanding how this works.

This is because the web is the future, if it ain’t already, and understanding lends one significant advantage in the world, be it career or society.

Link and URL are two terms that are heard when dealing with the web. We know it because it is used by us many times a day, and every day.

We share a link when we share somebody some content over the net. We insert a URL in the browser when searching for a particular page.

Key Takeaways

  1. A link is a clickable text or image that directs a user to another webpage or resource, while a URL is the web address of a specific webpage or resource.
  2. A link can be embedded in a webpage or document, while a URL is the unique identifier of a webpage or resource on the internet.
  3. A link may lead to a URL, but a URL cannot lead to a link.

Link vs URL

A link refers to a website or other digital resource; it can take the form of text, an image, or a button and can be used to navigate within a website. A URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is a webpage or resource’s specific address or location on the internet.

Link vs URL
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Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonLinkURL
DefinitionThe link connects the user to a web address.Each webpage has an unique address, called a URL. (Uniform Resource Locator)
ProtocolLinks do not follow any protocol.URL follows protocols, such as HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, etc.
SyntaxLinks do not have a definite syntax.Syntax of URLs contains a protocol, a colon, a domain, a resource path, and a port number. Sometimes a fragment identifier is present too.
Browser FunctionalityTyping a link in a browser might not return the desired result.Typing the URL of a website returns the desired result.
Character BehaviorAny character can be used for a link.Since some characters have special use in URLs, hence their use is limited.

What is Link?

A link is an object of HTML that allows the user to move or ‘jump’ from one location on the web to another.

The link creates a pathway between the pages, and when we click the link, it directs the browser to display the page located at the address specified by the link.

This HTML object makes it convenient to design webpages and connect them internally. Options like go back, go to the next page, go to the first page, etc., are possible only due to links.

The actual name for the link is hyperlink. Hyperlinks are very common and occur frequently around the web.

Usually, when a text becomes a hyperlink, then it is coloured blue and is denoted by an underline beneath it to make it clear that the following text is a hyperlink.

Often in browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, etc., the link turns purple from blue once a webpage is visited.

But one important thing to notice is that links are not just meant for web pages or addresses.

They can also be used for linking images, videos, etc. Although the default appearance is underlined blue text, it is possible to customise them according to ones liking using HTML or CSS styles.

If one is making an image act as a link, then the tag encapsulates the entirety of the image, thus surrounding the image. This makes the image act like a link.

Links can also be of two types, relative and absolute. Relative links do not contain a domain name, while absolute links do.

link

What is URL?

URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator, an address that incorporates a protocol, a colon, a domain, a resource path, and a port number. Sometimes URLs can incorporate fragment identifiers too.

Another thing people confuse URLs with is domain names. This is a widely committed mistake, which people unknowingly perform. However, URLs incorporate domain names; hence, domain names are part of URLs.

A domain name represents the IP address used for navigation and inter-device communication. A domain name makes this easier to understand and also easy to memorise.

When someone accidentally enters the wrong URL, there is an error 404. This error code is when the URL is broken or incorrect, or the page used to direct to has been deleted or moved to another address.

Error codes have a message accompanying them, and the message for error code 404 is ‘page not found’. This encompasses all the provided scenarios given above. 

Another important thing to note is that the web developer does not create URLs.

That is the job of the web server. However, the web developer needs to maintain the resource of the address, to prevent an error 404 or any such consequent errors.

url

Main Differences Between Link and URL

  1. The main difference between a link and a URL is that link takes the user from one address to another, while a URL is the address denoted by the link.
  2. Links do not follow any protocol, while URLs follow protocols like HTTP, FTP, etc.
  3. Links do not have a definite syntax, while URLs do.
  4. If one types a link in a browser, the returned results will not be accurate compared to a URL.
  5. Any character can be used for a link, whereas in a URL use of special characters is limited.
Difference Between Link and URL
References
  1. https://science.sciencemag.org/content/294/5548/1849.summary
  2. https://dl.acm.org/doi/abs/10.1145/3041008.3041016

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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10 thoughts on “Link vs URL: Difference and Comparison”

  1. Understanding the concept of links and URLs is crucial in the digital age. This article brilliantly highlights the distinction between the two.

  2. This article does a great job in demystifying the concepts of links and URLs, making it more accessible for those interested in understanding web technology.

  3. The detailed comparison and explanation of links and URLs provided in this article were both enlightening and informative.

  4. This article offers valuable information about the differences between links and URLs. A must-read for anyone navigating the digital landscape.

  5. I’ve always been curious about the difference between links and URLs and this post provided a thorough explanation. Great resource!

  6. The breakdown of link and URL characteristics was very informative. It’s always rewarding to expand one’s knowledge about web technology.

  7. It’s amazing how much information the web holds and how links and URLs connect it all. Understanding these gives a significant advantage in the modern world.

  8. The web truly is the future and it’s fascinating to get a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes. Valuable knowledge for navigating the digital world.

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