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What is a URL?


What is a URL?

Anatomy of a URL

Just as living things are classified by increasingly narrow categories (from Kingdom to Order to Species), links are also defined in a similar fashion.

A link begins with the protocol, which tells a browser how to read the file. Then comes the subdomain and domain, which is the server location on the Internet. Last we have the path, which points to the file you’re ultimately trying to reach.


Relative Links

Relative links have no domain, subdomain, or protocol. A relative link only includes the path. The rest of the URL is assumed from the current server location.

So, if you’re visiting and there is a relative link to /homes, the link will take you to

The problem is that the same relative link on will lead you to, which may not be the intended destination.

That can lead to a missing link.

Relative links are aimless creatures that couch-surf; wherever they are, they call it home. To locate them, they tell you – start wherever you are, go three blocks north and turn right. It’s a great shortcut if you’re at the same location, but if the content is moved elsewhere, absolute links are required.

Absolute Links

Absolute links give you the full address, including the starting point. They tell you – start at 1st and Main, then go three blocks north and turn right. These URLs can be located anywhere on the Internet and will work in the IDX Broker environment. IDX Broker pages require absolute links.

Missing Link

If you encounter a missing link, just make sure that it’s absolute, not relative. Aimless URLs are tricky creatures, but they can be tamed. If you have further questions, reach out to imForza or investigate our journal of IDX knowledge here.

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