URL vs URI: Difference and Comparison

Everyone uses the internet for different purposes. Some use the internet for study purposes, some for exchanging information or data, etc. The things we come across daily on the internet in websites and web pages.

And while checking these web pages or websites, there are certain things that you have come across, such as URLs and URI. Both of these terms sound pretty similar, and this is also the reason why not many know the difference between them.

Key Takeaways

  1. URL (Uniform Resource Locator) identifies a specific resource’s location, while URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) serves as a more general identifier for a resource.
  2. All URLs are URIs, but not all URIs are URLs.
  3. URLs include protocol, domain, and path information, whereas URIs can include additional identifying information.


The difference between URLs and URI is in the purpose they are used for. URI can be used for the identification of the name and location of both of a resource, while URL being a subset of URI, only identifies the location of a resource. URL does not include the name or other information of the resource. Both also differ in terms of their aims or motives, where they are used, their schemes, etc., except these also differ in terms of the protocol specification that is provided in the case of URLs but not in URI.


Uniform Resource Locator is used for the identification of the location and address of a webpage or website that is different in the case of different resources. It aims at only finding the location and nothing else.

A person can visit the website or webpage by just clicking on the URL address. It can easily be seen or found on the internet.

Uniform Resource Identifier consists of 2 subsets, URL and URN, that provide the location or address and name of the resource. It can be protocol, specification, designation, etc. it cannot be used for telling both location and name at the same time.

It can only tell either of them at a time.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonURLURI
Stands forUniform Resource Locater.Uniform Resource Identifier.
Contains/tellsTells location onlyContains two subsets URL, URN
Aims atFinding locations.Identification and differentiation of resources.
Examplehttps://askanydifference.comISBN 0-486-356757-4
Used inSearching web pages on the internet.XML and tag libraries.

What is URL?

A URL is made up of the following components:

  1. Scheme: this represents the protocol that is required by the browse. The browser needs it to request the resource.
  2. Authority: this includes the domain name (it can be anything) and port (it is a technical gate).
  3. Path: it is the complete path to the resource.
  4. Query String: it contains value pair and name. It provides the information by following the path component.
  5. Fragments: it is optional, preceded by a hash symbol.
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URL is an important factor in SEO; it improves the experience of the user as it describes the web pages or websites. It increases visibility.

URL is the first thing that we see on the internet about web pages. It is easier to go on a website by just having a click on the Uniform Resource Locator. It can be shared with anyone by just copying it from the server.

It should be converted into a valid ASCII format. There are techniques used to shorten the URL to avoid confusion, but it can still be reached to the resources.

The history of the URLs you visited is recorded, which can delete anytime, and some of them are deleted automatically.


What is URI?

It consists of the following components that a URL consists of:

  1. Scheme: provide the information about the used protocol.
  2. Authority: identification of domains.
  3. Path: shows the resource path.
  4. Query: used for representing the request action.
  5. Fragment: partial aspect of the resource.

It is used for the identification of a particular resource on the internet by using the address or name, or both. Like any other thing, a webpage or website needs to have an address and name different from another. URI helps in that matter.

If you have visited a webpage, you can again visit it with the help of a URL that is a part of the URI. It is not possible for two websites or web pages to have the same Uniform Resource Identifier.

The protocol of URI enables the interaction between resources. All Uniform Resource Identifiers cannot be the Uniform Resource Locator as Uniform Resource Identifiers can only tell one thing at a time, a location or name, not both of them.

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It is used frequently in XML and tag libraries for the identification of binaries. Examples of XML and Tag libraries can be JSTL, etc.


Main Differences Between URL and URI

  1. URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator, while URI stands for Uniform Resource Identifier.
  2. URI is a broader concept as compared to URLs. URI has two subsets Uniform Resource Name and Uniform Resource Location. They tell the name and location of the web, respectively, whereas URL is just a subset of the Uniform Resource Identifier that tells the location of the resource.
  3. Both of the terms are interconnected, as all URLs are part of the Uniform Resource Identifier, URI, whereas not all the Uniform Resource Identifier, URI is part of the URL as sometimes it can also be URN.
  4. The main motive of URI is the identification and differentiation of resources by knowing using their name and location details from other resources, whereas URL serves only one purpose of finding the address of the location of a resource.
  5. URI schemes can be more than just a protocol. It can also be designation, specification, etc., whereas scheme if Uniform Resource Locator, URL is a protocol only.
  6. Both of them are also different in terms of their use. Uniform Resource Identifier is used in XML and tag libraries for the identification of binaries and resources, whereas Uniform Resource Locator is mainly used on the internet for searching a webpage or website.
  1. https://dl.acm.org/doi/pdf/10.17487/RFC2396
  2. http://manu44.magtech.com.cn/Jwk_infotech_wk3/EN/abstract/abstract1457.shtml
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2351978920306545

Last Updated : 17 August, 2023

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23 thoughts on “URL vs URI: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The difference between URL and URI is that a URL only identifies the location of a resource, whereas a URI serves as a more general identifier for a resource.

  2. The delineation between URL and URI is crucial for understanding internet resources, and this article does a great job in elucidating their differences.

  3. The clarification about the purposes and differences between URL and URI is extremely beneficial for those delving into web resources.


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