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What is a Hyperlink?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 16, 2024
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A hyperlink is a graphic or a piece of text in an Internet document that can connect readers to another webpage, or another portion of a document. Web users will usually find at least one hyperlink on every webpage. The most simple form of these is called embedded text or an embedded link.

In this instance, a hyperlink will show up as a single word or group of words that will usually be marked as underlined, and are frequently blue in color. Clicking on the hyperlink may take one to another part of the page, or it may open another Internet page.

The HTML code for a hyperlink is relatively simple. It looks like this: <a href ="www.wisegeek.com">wiseGEEK</a> which will display like this: wiseGEEK. Clicking on this hyperlink will send the web surfer to wiseGEEK's homepage. The code is easy to duplicate. It always begins as <a href=. This is followed by the uniform resource locator (URL), that is, the webpage address that you want the link to take the web surfer to. The URL is surrounded by quotation marks. Next, comes another >, then the word that serves as the hyperlink and finally, </a>.

A more complicated link can take one to a specific place in a document. It can either be text or graphic. It may also be a blank area on a screen that performs functions when one clicks on it. There are numerous uses for the hyperlink, and constantly more being discovered.

Sometimes the use of a hyperlink may be disputed. Some companies do not wish to have unauthorized websites link to them, which might imply a relationship that does not exist. There have been a few countries where using a hyperlink has become a matter of law.

As well, some have questioned the use of hyperlinks which might lead to illegal material, or to a website linking to illegal material. This has been a concern upon those attempting to eliminate child pornography from the Internet.

Since most courts have made no final decisions on the use of the hyperlink, it is best to investigate all links on a page, and to ask permission of a site owner before using a hyperlink. This may be ultimately ruled as copyright infringement. At the very least, without stated permission, it is considered poor Internet etiquette to hyperlink to another person's document or web page.

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Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a EasyTechJunkie contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By smr898989 — On Apr 15, 2014

When I attempt to connect to a hyperlink received in an email using Microsoft Outlook, I am suddenly unable to connect when I double click on the blue highlighted hyperlink. Is there a simple answer that would resolve this problem? The extra step of copying and pasting the hyperlink to Internet Explorer becomes time consuming.

By JackWhack — On Nov 08, 2012

It seems that every time I visit a new website, I get drawn in by at least one of the hyperlinks on it. There are always interesting links to new information on what I'm reading, and I can't resist clicking on them. I may set out to be online for half an hour but wind up spending a couple of hours online because of all the hyperlinks!

By OeKc05 — On Nov 07, 2012

@Oceana – I wish I had taken the time to learn HTML code. I relied heavily on a friend when building my website, and now I can't make any changes without his help.

I made a site for my pet portrait business. I got in contact with several other businesses that sold pet related items or had a database of articles about pets, and I agreed to put a hyperlink to their sites in exchange for them linking to my site.

I got a lot of visitors this way that I otherwise would never have seen. It's always a good idea to exchange hyperlinks with others in your field or in a related field, because you get visitors who are actually interested in what you are selling, and in some cases, it's the only way they would ever find out about your site.

By Kristee — On Nov 06, 2012

I like sharing articles and photos I've found online with my friends on social media sites. I can add a hyperlink to my comment just by copying the address in the browser on the article's page and pasting it into my comment box.

I'm glad it's this easy. People who don't even know what a hyperlink is are able to do this.

By Oceana — On Nov 06, 2012

I learned how to insert a hyperlink on my webpage when I was building it from scratch. I taught myself by reading a book about building your own site, and it was very useful information.

Instead of taking shortcuts through programs designed to help newbies build pages, I learned the raw HTML code. This knowledge is something that puts me at an advantage, because if other people vying for the same job as I am don't know it, that automatically pushes me to the top.

By lluviaporos — On Nov 05, 2012

@anon22337 - I can't be sure, of course, but it might be that your computer, or individual software is registered under your husband's name, which is something that happens when you first set it up.

What I've always found when editing webpages is that html is much easier than you might think. As long as you have a list of the different codes, including the hyperlink code, it's pretty easy to set up something that looks pretty professional. It's just a matter of getting the hang of it.

By clintflint — On Nov 04, 2012

@anon31079 - Often I find in places like outlook they want you to do an extra step so that you don't click on the word with the hyperlink by accident. Generally you have to do something like hold down ctrl while you are clicking on the link or something like that.

I think if you hover the pointer over the text it might give you instructions, but I'm not sure.

By croydon — On Nov 03, 2012

@anon253609 - Sometimes people use the terms "hyperlink" and "link" interchangeably and many comment sections will not allow any kind of link to be posted, even if it isn't hyperlink text because it could be spam.

So, if you are trying to post a link, you might want to take it out. Most of the time people who want to share information on comment sections like that, just say 'go to Google and look up tortoise race and it will be the first result.'

Possibly you've just included something that triggers their spam warning like the words "weight loss" and it's a matter of figuring out which words are the problem. Generally, they'll only send an automatic reply unless you contact them to ask what the problem is. So, if all else fails, try contacting the website moderators directly.

Good luck!

By anon253609 — On Mar 10, 2012

Why does a website posted on one of the MSN website news page refuse to post a comment I made because it contains a hyperlink which it says is similar to a spam?

How can I create something when I still don't know what a hyperlink is and does and I certainly don't know where they see it in my post. No matter what changes I make to it, it still won't post it and it looks nothing like you suggested in it. What is wrong with them anyway?

By anon238235 — On Jan 02, 2012

Thank you wiseGEEK for the information.

By anon111267 — On Sep 15, 2010

Suddenly I can no longer highlight and copy anything like I used to be able to because the darn cursor becomes a 'hand'. Do you know how I can get rid of that hand so I can copy and paste info again? If you can help me, I'd appreciate it. My OS is Vista. Thanks a lot.

By anon31079 — On Apr 29, 2009

When I attempt to connect to a hyperlink received in an email using Microsoft Outlook, I am unable to connect when I double click on the blue highlighted hyperlink. Is there a simple answer that would resolve this problem? The extra step of copying and pasting the hyperlink to Internet Explorer becomes time consuming.

By anon22337 — On Dec 02, 2008

I would like to know why...when I do my school work a box will appear using my husband's name, as doing my school work. For example..."john doe just entered at such and such time and date..." and then my answer in school is written there but under my husband's name. Can you tell me why this happens? Is he spying on my computer?

By dudla — On Jun 12, 2008

A hyperlink can also be referred to as a link or hypertext.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a EasyTechJunkie contributor, Tricia...
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