How to Find a URL Address

By Aaron Parson

Short for uniform resource locator, a URL identifies specific pages on the Internet. To find the URL of the page you're currently reading, just check the address bar at the top of your browser. The address updates automatically as you move from one page to another. To help find other addresses, you can use a search engine or check your Web browser's history menu. If an old address won't load anymore, visit an online cache to see how the site looked before it went down.

Using Search Engines

Search engines, such as Google, Bing, Yahoo and DuckDuckGo index millions of websites, making it possible to find addresses by entering keywords and phrases. To help find the site you're looking for, use quotation marks to search for exact phrases, or a minus sign before a word to exclude it. If you know part of the site's address or its top-level domain, type "site:" followed by the address or TLD after your search terms. These methods work on a variety of search engines, but individual engines may have different features. If you can't find a site using one search engine, try another, as each produces slightly different results.

Finding a URL in Search Results

After searching for a site, you can find its URL by clicking the link and then checking your Web browser's address bar. Most search engines also show each site's URL beneath its link, but the URL may be cut off on longer addresses. If you don't want to visit a site before checking its URL, you can right-click the link and choose to copy the link location, but some engines, including Google, modify these links to include tracking information, so the copied address won't always match the site's actual URL.

Finding Previously Visited URLs

To find a site you've used before, check your browser's history by pressing "Control-H." You can sort your history by date or site name, or search using any part of the URL or site title that you remember. Web browsers have a limit on the length of time stored in history, so this method might not work if you haven't visited the site in a long time, or if you have manually cleared your history.

Accessing Broken Websites

If a site won't load after you find its URL, you can visit a snapshot taken of the site instead. Many search engines include this feature in a "cached" link after the URL, or in an adjacent drop-down menu. Alternatively, paste the entire URL into the WayBack Machine at the Internet Archive (link in Resources). This service saves multiple versions of websites, allowing you to view a site as it existed at various points in history.