If you are familiar with URL and US-ASCII character sets, then you may have heard about URL encoding and decoding. In this article, we will discuss the processes of URL encoding and decoding. You can use the URL Decode tool https://url-decode.com/ to decode your URL. Furthermore, we will also have a look at the role of reserved characters in the URL and how they are encoded and decoded. So stick till the end. Let’s begin with the basics Latest Technologies.
What is a URL?
Your website’s URL is like the address of your house on the internet. Just like your house address allows others to locate your house, the URL is used to locate your website on the search engine. URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. It is the most common element on the network, and no website could function without a valid URL. It is mainly operated by web servers. A URL is used by browsers or networks to distinguish between different web pages. Every URL comes from a unique resource. This resource can be a program file, sheet, video, or image. A usual web page’s URL consists of three major parts: Protocol, Domain, and Path.
URL is basically a type of Universal Resource Identifier (URI). URI is a set of characters referring to the virtual or physical resources used in the web and network. It can be used for literally everything. For example, a URI can refer to a person, place, daily used object, online articles, or web tools. Another popular type of URI is Uniform Resource Name (URN).
What is URL Encoding?
URL is made up of different alphabets, numbers, and some symbols. All the characters used in the URL are US-ASCII characters. You can not enter any extra characters except those in the US-ASCII character set. So when you type a random set of characters, it needs to be encoded to be used as a URL. In encoding, these extra characters are replaced with some US-ASCII characters. You can also call it “Percentage Encoding.” It uses a percentage sign (%) at the start of the character.
The UTF-8 is used for the encoding of extra characters. There is a UTF-8 alternative for all alphabets, numbers, symbols, and other keys. It is already defined according to Unicode standards. Moreover, all of these characters are totally up to the US-ASCII character set.
For example, we can not use the question sign (?) in the URL because it has some specific meaning. In other words, it is a reserved character in the URL. So that is why we have to replace it with UTF-8 characters. The hexadecimal value for the question sign (?) is “3F.” So we have to add a percent sign (%) before the hexadecimal value. The replacement for the question sign (?) will be “%3F.”
What is URL Decoding?
On the other hand, decoding is the opposite of encoding. In encoding, the abnormal characters are replaced by US-ASCII characters. And in decoding, those characters are reversed to their original form. This will make it easier for the reader to understand the text used in the URL. The percentage sign (?) and the hexadecimal value is removed. It is replaced by the actual alphabet, number, or symbol. You can use the URL Decode Tool to Decode a URL.
What are Reserved Characters in URL?
The reserved characters in the URL are characters already defined in the URL. You can not use these characters randomly in the URL, and using these will not make any sense. For example, question mark (?), slash (/), colon (:), hash (#), and many more are the reserved characters in the URL. Other currency symbols are also reserved characters. You can not use these even in the domain or path section of the URL.
Using these characters makes your URL invalid. So you have to encode them before. But do not worry; you will not lose your original characters. You can get the original characters by decoding the URL with the URL Decode tool.
How to Decode Reserved Characters Using URL Decode Tool?
You can find many similar tools on the internet, but https://url-decode.com/ is one of the best. It is entirely free and can be accessed anywhere, anytime. Its interface is very user-friendly, making it straightforward to use. You can turn any URL into a readable text form with the URL Decode Tool.
Let’s have a look at the process of Decoding URLs using the URL Decode Tool. The process is very simple. You just have to follow these short steps:
- Open your browser and search for URL Decode.com Tool
- Open the web page
- You have to paste the URL in the text bar
- You can also upload a file with the URL
- Then click on the “URL Decode” button on the tool
- Results will be shown below
- It will include the original version of your URL