Difference Between Link and URL (With Table)

The web is home to a vast amount of information and resources. It is so tremendously vast, that not even all the books in the world could provide this much data. One can just pull up a search engine and search 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 each and 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 with very significant advantages in the world, be it career or society.

Link and URL are two such terms that are heard very often when one deals with the web. We know it because it is used by us, many times a day, and every day. When we share somebody some content over the net, we share a link. We insert a URL in the browser when we need to search for a particular page.

Link vs URL

The main difference between link and URL is that a link takes a user from one web address to another, and this address is known as a URL.

Comparison Table Between Link and URL

Parámetros de comparaciónLinkURL
DefiniciónLink connects the user to a web address.Each webpage has an unique address, called URL. (Uniform Resource Locator)
ProtocolLinks do not follow any kind of protocol.URL follows protocols, such as HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, etc.
SyntaxLinks do not have a definite syntax.Syntax of URLs contain 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?

Link is an object of HTML that allows the user to move or ‘jump’ from one location in the web to another. Basically, the link creates a pathway between the pages, and when we click the link, it directs the browser to display the page that is located in the address specified by the link. This HTML object makes it convenient to design webpages and connect them internally. Options like go back, do to next page, go to first page, etc are possible only due to the existence of links.

The actual name for link is hyperlink. Hyperlinks are very common and occur frequently around the web. Usually when a text becomes a hyperlink, then it is colored blue and is denoted by an underline beneath it, so as to make it clear that the following text is a hyperlink. Often in browsers such a Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, etc, once a página web is visited, the link turns purple from blue.

But one important thing to notice is that, links are not just meant for webpages or webaddresses. They can also be used for linking images, videos, etc. Although the default appearance is an underlined blue text, it is possible to customise them according to ones liking using HTML or CSS styles.

In case 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.

What is URL?

URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator, which is an address which incorporates a protocol, a colon, a domain, a resource path, and a port number. Sometimes URLs can incorporate fragment identifiers too. Another thing people usually confuse URLs with are domain names. This is a widely committed mistake, which people unknowingly perform, however, URLs incorporate domain names, and hence domain names are a part of URLs. A domain name is actually a representative of the IP address that is used for navigation, and inter device communication. Domain name just makes this more easy to understand and also easy to memorise.

In case when someone accidentally enters a wrong url, then there is an error 404. This error code is when the URL is broken, incorrect, or the page is used to direct to has been deleted, or moved to another address. Error codes usually 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 URLs are not created by the web developer. That is the job of the web server. However, it is very important for the web developer to maintain the resource of the address, in order to prevent an error 404, or any such consequent errors.

Main Differences Between Link and URL

  1. The main difference between link and URL is that link takes the user from one address to another, while URL is the address denoted by the link.
  2. Links do not follow any protocol, while URLs follow protocols, such as HTTP, FTPetc.
  3. Links do not have a definite syntax, while URLs do.
  4. If one types a link in a browser, then the returned results will not be accurate, as compared to typing a URL.
  5. Any character can be used for a link, whereas in a URL use of special characters is limited.

Conclusión

In day to day conversations, people use links and URLs interchangeable a lot of times, and that is fine. However, it is really important to know the differences when one is talking on official terms, especially when the person is dealing with Computer Science related subjects. In such cases, it is important to know what term to use, and where, as that is the basis of building a web page. Having basic knowledge about these terms is a good thing for everyone.

Referencias

  1. https://science.sciencemag.org/content/294/5548/1849.summary
  2. https://dl.acm.org/doi/abs/10.1145/3041008.3041016