The address bar is the narrow text field at the top of a Web browser where the currently displayed website address appears. It is also called the Universal Resource Locator (URL).
Website addresses that appear in the address bar start with http://, which tells the browser that the page is written in HyperText Markup Language (HTML). If visiting a site to download files via File Transfer Protocol (FTP), the address in the bar will start with ftp://. The Web browser can also be used like a file manager to look at hard drive files. In this case, the address bar is used to navigate to the file by starting with C:\, or the drive of choice.
Surfers get around the Web by clicking on active links that automatically paste the destination address into the Web’s address bar for them. Another way to surf is to type an address into the bar manually. If there is a typo, the Web browser will either show an error page, or if a domain was purchased as typed, the browser will take you to that page. Often, misspelled Web addresses are purchased by third parties to redirect traffic to an unintended site. Phishing scams employ a similar technique, using an alternate spelling of a legitimate site to trick people into giving them personal information.
Websites that offer free anonymous surfing provide their own address bar for surfers. The surfer must enter the destination Web address into the special bar provided by the site, rather than into his or her browser’s bar. By using the provided bar, the anonymous service serves as a proxy. It passes all information through to the surfer’s browser while leaving its own tracks across the Web, rather than the surfer’s Internet protocol (IP) address.
It has become popular to have a tiny personalized icon appear in the address bar next to the website address. The icon, called a favicon, is often a company logo. When the site is bookmarked, the favicon will appear in the bookmarks menu as well.