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Why do URLs often end with a slash?

Sep 7th 2010 at 4:38 AM

When you copy and paste a URL into your location bar, watch carefully to see if it changes. Many URLs are published without the trailing slash at the end of the domain, but when you visit the URL, the slash is added. For example, click on this link to my home page. The URL in the link does not have the trailing slash, but the slash will appear in your browser window after you click. Answer:

Traditionally, URLs that pointed to files did not include the trailing slash, while URLs that pointed to directories do include the trailing slash. This means that:

http://webdesign.about.com/example/ is a directory, while
http://webdesign.about.com/example is a file

This helps speed up page loading because the trailing slash immediately tells the web server to go to that example/ directory and look for the index.html or other default file.

When you go to a URL without the trailing slash, the web server looks for a file with that name. If it doesn’t find a file with that name, then it looks for a directory and looks for the default file in that directory.

Leaving Off the Slash Results in a Redirect – Redirects Slow Down Web Pages

When you leave off the slash on a URL that is pointing to a directory, you are forcing the server to do a 301 Redirect - HTTP Redirects - 301 Redirect Better than Meta Refreshredirect. While it may seem instantaneous to you, it does take slightly longer for a page to load from a redirect than from the direct URL. And every little bit adds up.

Don’t Include the Slash After Filenames

The only time you shouldn’t include a slash is after a file name in the URL. For example:

Type:
http://webdesign.about.com/example.html
Not:
http://webdesign.about.com/example.html/

If you add the slash, the web server will look for a directory named example.html, and most servers do not then try to find a file name of that name. So your customers would get a 404 error in that situation.

Always Include the Slash When Linking to Your Domain with No File Name

You can speed up access to your home page by including the trailing slash on your domain name URL. For example:

http://webdesign.about.com/

While you can’t control what your readers type into their location bar for your URL, you can control what you link them to. Always include the trailing slash in your URL links. If you include it in your marketing materials as well, you can help keep your pages loading quickly for your readers, as most people type whatever is printed without adding or removing characters.

SOURCE: By Jennifer Kyrnin, About.com Guide

21 comments
Please to comment
Nov 10th 2013 at 5:00 PM by 01systems
twitter pl0x? (^_^)
   
Oct 17th 2013 at 3:10 AM by marty
Thanks for sharing.
   
Oct 2nd 2012 at 9:23 AM by troy48
interesting, never thought about it
   
Mar 20th 2012 at 9:36 AM by TimRR
very well done
   
Mar 21st 2011 at 1:50 PM by trucker6
You are welcome JM and nice to see I helped.
   
Mar 21st 2011 at 12:02 PM by One24Eubanks
Wow, didn't know this. Thanks so much!
   
Mar 18th 2011 at 7:45 AM by trucker6
Thanks very much Judy and glad if I did help you. Always nice to hear from you. Take care.
   
Mar 17th 2011 at 3:30 PM by judycook4
Hi Mike I've got many 404 Error. I'm glad you shared this with others. And I really liked your word pictures in the always include the trailing slash in your url link. Thank you
   
Jan 4th 2011 at 10:45 AM by trucker6
Real happy Lonnie if I did help. Have a great 2011 year.
   
Jan 4th 2011 at 10:42 AM by LonnieG
I HAVE wondered about the "/" either being or not being at the end of a url ... thanks for the extra knowledge, Mike! ~L
   
Dec 19th 2010 at 9:31 AM by trucker6
Surely useful Bill and nice if I helped you. All the best, my friend.
   
Dec 19th 2010 at 9:19 AM by AbdeelMarketing
Thanks Mike. I did not know this. I will certainly use it when promoting in TE's from now on. Every second counts there!
   
Oct 7th 2010 at 10:00 PM by trucker6
You are very welcome Rhonda.
   
Oct 7th 2010 at 6:57 PM by rhondamorton
Thanks for this information Mike :)
   
Sep 23rd 2010 at 6:57 PM by trucker6
Nice to see that the article may have helped you Dee. Hope you will stay in touch. Talk later.
   
Sep 23rd 2010 at 6:35 PM by deewest
interesting.. will have to read it again.. thanks for sharing useful information Thanks for following me Dee
   
Sep 12th 2010 at 8:00 AM by Siamak
Great article! Sure liked it
   
Sep 10th 2010 at 6:31 PM by trucker6
Thanks Alexis for more infos. That's the reason why these groups are useful, lots of info. Have a great week-end.
   
Sep 10th 2010 at 3:27 PM by snapwebsites
Trucker, I had that problem before, but now I use Drupal (Snap! is built with Drupal...) and the slash problem generally disappear. I have a couple of modules that are sensitive to it though... Thanks for the post! Alexis
   
Sep 7th 2010 at 9:48 AM by trucker6
Thanks very much Pat.
   
Sep 7th 2010 at 9:17 AM by pwcarr
Good info.
   

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