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Homework Help: URL with question mark and without

  1. Oct 3, 2013 #1

    How would the action of a browser differ if you asked it to "find the document" at the URL,
    as opposed to

    My attempt:

    The question mark permits data to be passed from the web browser to the program which generates the web page,
    so it will find the document you're asking for, in opposition to the URL without the question mark.

    Is this right?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 3, 2013 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    The purpose of the question mark in the URL is to denote the beginning of what are called query parameters. Appending only a question mark as in your 2nd example won't do anything, except possibly cause an error response. For more info, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Query_string.
  4. Oct 3, 2013 #3
    Thank you! That makes much sense, as the query string isn't there an question mark isn't needed.
  5. Oct 3, 2013 #4


    Staff: Mentor

    The way that browsers work is that when you type in a URL such as http://stargazer.universer.org and press Enter, your browser sends an HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) GET request to the server. If everything goes well, it sends a 200 OK response with a body that contains the HTML markup for the web page.

    If you type in the URL with a query string, code on the server processes the parameters in the query string. Everything after the ? character is the query string, which consists of key and value pairs, separated by % character, like so.
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