So an URL and a domain name walk in to a bar…. Just kidding, but I couldn’t help myself. Let’s look at what an address bar is and how it can help you. An address bar is a function of your web browser that tells you where you are on the internet, specifically the web address of the page you are on.
The address bar is usually located at the top of your browser. You can recognize it because it will begin with http, https, www, or a domain name without any of these prefixes. The address bar of your web browser is a handy tool. Think of it like this – if you were in the middle of a strange place and you had to tell someone where you were, wouldn’t it be helpful if you could just look up see your location and say I am at 412 Elm Street? Well that’s what an address bar is, but for the internet. You can always look at your address bar and know exactly where you are on the internet! Every single webpage on the internet has a unique address.
Ways to use your address bar
- To send a link to a webpage to a friend. The best way to do this is to go up to your address bar, highlight the address of the page you are on, copy it and then paste it in an email and send it off.
- Get your bearings. Suppose you followed a link from a website and ended up on a new site. Your address bar will tell you where you are. You can easily see that you are no longer on the site you started from.
- Security. Any web page that is asking you for banking or credit card information should always have an “https” (note the “s” – that stands for ‘secure’) before the rest of the address. Never ever enter your credit card or bank information if you do not see https at the start of the address in your address bar. Get in to the habit of looking for the “https” every time you pull out your credit card to use it on line.
Note: there are some web design technologies that mask web addresses so that no matter what page of a site you are on, the address bar will always show the same address. This is the exception, and not the rule. If you find yourself on a site like this, where the address bar does not change no matter what page you are on, never enter sensitive information unless you see an “https” before the address.
Start paying attention to the address bar in your browser. You will start to see patterns of how web addresses work, and you can use them for the purposes outlined above.