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URL is an abbreviation of "Uniform Resource Locator" and is the page's address on the web. It is the "name" by which a browser identifies a page to display. In the example "Check us out at mysite.com." the part mysite.com is the URL for the home page of your web site. Users use URLs implicitly to locate content on the web.
Drupal uses "nodes" to identify pages by their position in your database. So your page on "The History of the Macadamia Nut - Part 1" might be known as "node/167." to Drupal. By maintaining the list of nodes in your site, the URLs are maintained as a result, which in turn enables your visitors to find your site's content.
Drupal has a feature called "URL Alias" that allows you to provide a more understandable name to the content. As far as browsers, servers, and search engines go, it is totally unnecessary. But for humans, it is nearly mandatory. This is why most consultants tell people to always turn on the Path core module, which supports URL aliasing.
So, just before you submit that treatise on macadamia history, and if you have the Path module enabled (and you will want it), then you'll see a section on the edit page that says "URL path settings." So let's say you want your visitors to see it as
http://www.example.com/MacadamiaHistory. In the URL field, enter
You can administer the URL Aliases directly on the node edit or add forms, or by doing the following:
First, visit the page you created. In your browser's address field, you'll see its URL. On the end it will probably say "node/xxx" where xxx is some number. Write down that number.
Now go to:
Configuration > Search and Metadata > URL Aliases (Drupal 7)
Administer > Site building > URL Aliases (Drupal 6)
There's an "Add Alias" tab at the top. In the top box, enter "node/xxx" from above. In the second box, enter "MacadamiaHistory".
Automatic Alias Generation
If your site is going to have lots of content, particularly user-submitted content, you might want to look at the PathAuto module. Not only will this module automatically generate URL aliases for new content (according to rules you can set up), but can even go back and change aliases in bulk.
Path and clean URLs
Note that the Path module does not require Clean URLs. As an example:
With clean URLs:
Without clean URLs:
After you enable the Path module, you need to give the appropriate roles permission to use it in admin/user/permissions. Scroll down to the Path module to enable "administer url aliases" and/or "create url aliases" permissions.