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Understanding the URL
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I would like you to discover something very profound and exciting about the Internet. Because you are reading this article I can assume that you are already interested in learning about
U
niform Resource Locators and how to use them to make links on the Internet. As you continue to read this entire guide, the more you will enjoy your knowledge of making links and driving traffic to your art and music, which you have listed on your Artopium profile page.

To begin, understand that links are the most important and fundamental part of how the Internet works, and the knowledge to create a link can not only give you a better understanding of the Internet, but can also give you the capacity to effectively promote your art and music online. I would like you to appreciate the fact that this article contains crucial information on how to promote your art, music, fashion, film or book online as well as how to use your Artopium Profile URL.

Uniform Resource Locator

A URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is, in essence, an address that points to data on the Internet. It works very similar in idea to a real street address, but instead of pointing you to someone's home or the local pub, it points to a file located on the Internet somewhere. It's "Uniform" because it works the same across the many different types of computers that may be using it. You can see a URL right now (the one that points to this page) by looking in the address bar of the browser you're using. Your address bar is the long, thin, horizontal, text box with the long string of text starting with "http://".

That's it! It's that simple. You now have all the knowledge you need to get anywhere on the Internet.You can skip ahead now to learn more on how to use HTML to make links, or you can continue to read on to get a firm grasp of exactly how URLs point to different data and the proper syntax to use when spelling them out.

Hyper Text

All URLs that point to web pages start with the text "http://". Even if you type a web address "www.website.com" into your browser's address box without the "http://", most browsers will automatically insert it before retrieving the page requested from that site: "http://www.website.com".

HTTP
stands for Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol, which is the standard way of saying "this information is going to be Hyper-Text". Hyper-Text is text that is marked up in such a way that it not only serves as readable text but as a clickable link as well. The idea of "marking up" text (and images and other objects) with special code to make it clickable is the very foundation of the Internet. The code that is used to "mark up" text or images is called HTML, or Hyper-Text Markup Language (simple).

Client vs. Server

Ok, are you ready to understand get into the nitty gritty? To get a deeper understanding of where your URL is actually pointing to it is helpful to understand the terms "client" and "server" and how they relate to eachother to create what is commonly referred to as the "Web". A client computer is primarily used to retrieve data from the Internet. Almost all home and office computers that are used to browse or "surf" the Internet are client computers. Server computers are commonly owned and operated by "Web Hosting" companies and are used to store the contents of a website (HTML pages, images, etc.). A client computer requests information from a server computer by using a URL to point to the file it wants from that server.

Static vs. Dynamic

As the names imply, a static web page is one that never changes and a dynamic web page is one that contains constantly changing information. An example of a static web page is the one you are reading right now. Everytime you come to this page it will always look and read the same and it does not depend upon any external source of information. On the other hand, an example of a dynamic web page can be seen as the results page listed from doing a search on Artopium. Depending on what search terms you have entered Artopium will fetch different data and display it in the results.

A key indicator that a page you are visiting is either static or dynamic is the use of the question mark in the URL. If you look in the address bar of your browser and see that the URL has a question mark after the address and before a long string of text, you are visiting a dynamic page. Here's an example of a URL that points to a dynamic web page:

http://www.artopium.com/space/search.cgi?action=artistscreen&fromsearchpage=&item=G3312&user=938

This is the dynamic URL generated by the Artopium search script and points to my personal Artopium Profile page for my band "Lost In Austn" (shameless plug, I know). Artopium provides a much simpler-to-use and (for very important reasons, a much better-to-use) URL that points to a static version of your Artopium profile page.

Search engines do not like dynamic web pages
and will not index them (information they index today could change tomorrow), so to effectively promote your work it is imperative that you use the static URL provided to you in your Artopium Member Area (a.k.a. My Artopium). The URL below is an example of a static URL.

http://www.artopium.com/Lost In Austin/index.htm

Use Correct Spelling!


HTTP is always followed by a colon : and two "forward" slashes / / before the rest of the address. The colon and slashes are an indicator to the computer that the protocol has been declared (the Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol in this case) and that everything after the last slash is the actual address. If this is mispelled or left out it can create problems and errors in the link. The computer requesting the information must first determine what type of information it's retrieving (so it can know how to display it for you) before it can actually retrieve the data. Since there are several other types of protocols the computer must consider (FTP, GOPHER, HTTPS, etc.), a mispelled or missing protocol declaration in your URL can slow down the speed of the retrieval of the requested information or cause errors. When creating a link using your Artopium Profile URL it is always important that this is spelled correctly and not repeated (http://http://www.website.com) as can often happen when pasting your URL into a text box.

The rest of the URL is the address (or sometimes referred to as "pathway") to the file that is being requested. The beginning of the address is always the domain (www.domain-name.com), followed by the folder path to the file ( / folder_name / another_folder / file_name . htm). The forward slashes seperate folders that are within other folders so that the last folder named is the inner-most folder in the path and the folder that contains the file the URL points to..

In the example above I use spaces to accentuate and clarify the spellling, however spaces are not allowed in any part of a URL and should be replaced with the special characters %20. Browsers will usually do this for you automatically, but if you are creating an HTML link (read more below) it is important to replace any spaces that are in the URL with the characters %20, which the server will then interpret as a space.

For example:

http://www.artopium.com/Lost In Austin

This URL can be typed into a browser address bar and it will work just fine. However, if you are creating an HTML link or submitting your URL to a search engine it should be written as:

http://www.artopium.com/Lost%20In%20Austin

Sometimes the file name and last forward slash are left off the end of a URL (such as above), but this is only allowed in cases where the file name the URL is pointing to is "index". For example, when you type in the URL

"
http://www.artopium.com/Lost In Austin"

the browser is actually interpreting this as

"
http://www.artopium.com/Lost%20In%20Austin/index.htm"

and only works because there is actually a file named "index.htm" in the folder that is named "Lost In Austin".

NOTE TO MEMBERS: When you sign up to Artopium to create an Artist Member account, this folder and index file are created automatically for you, but you will need to view your profile page at least once in order to create it for the first time, otherwise your static URL will deliver a 404 Page Not Found error.

How to Make a Link Using HTML

After you come to a complete understanding of URLs, you can then begin to use an exciting feature of the Internet called HTML, or Hyper-Text Markup Language.

In HTML, text (or an image) is marked up with what is called a "Tag". There is a "starting" tag and an "ending" tag that is placed at the beginning and end of some text in order to mark it up. For instance, if I wanted to mark up the text "Have A Nice Day", it would look something like this:

<TAG> Have A Nice Day </TAG>

The code "<TAG>" before the text is the starting tag. The code "</TAG>" at the end of the text is the ending tag and is just like the starting tag with the additional forward slash / before the tag name. All HTML tags are spelled using the less-than < , greater-than > signs with the tag name and properties in between them.

The name of the tag in HTML that creates a link is called the "Anchor Tag" and looks like this:


<a href="URL"> TEXT </a>


The tag name is the letter "a" for "anchor" and it is in both the starting and ending tags. However, the ending tag always has the forward slash before the "a" (</a>) so that browsers don't confuse it for a starting tag. Inside the starting tag is the href property which points to the URL the browser will take you to when a someone clicks on the TEXT. Any text between the anchor tags will appear as a blue, underlined link and will be clickable by your mouse. Here is an example of an HTML link that points to my Artopium profile page:

<a href="
http://www.artopium.com/Lost%20In%20Austin "> Purchase My CD! </a>

Creates a link like this: Purchase My CD!


This is fantastic, isn't it? How simple! This is all you really need to know to begin creating links in many places on the Internet.

For a quick and easy way to create HTML links to either your Artopium Profile page or the Artopium home page please visit the Artopium Link Generator.