RFC 1738: Uniform Resource Locators (URL) - Berners-Lee, Masinter & McCahill
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3.1. Common Internet Scheme Syntax
While the syntax for the rest of the URL may vary depending on the
particular scheme selected, URL schemes that involve the direct use
of an IP-based protocol to a specified host on the Internet use a
common syntax for the scheme-specific data:
Some or all of the parts ":@", ":",
":", and "/" may be excluded. The scheme specific
data start with a double slash "//" to indicate that it complies with
the common Internet scheme syntax. The different components obey the
An optional user name. Some schemes (e.g., ftp) allow the
specification of a user name.
An optional password. If present, it follows the user
name separated from it by a colon.
The user name (and password), if present, are followed by a
commercial at-sign "@". Within the user and password field, any ":",
"@", or "/" must be encoded.
Note that an empty user name or password is different than no user
name or password; there is no way to specify a password without
specifying a user name. E.g., has an empty
user name and no password, has no user name,
while has a user name of "foo" and an
The fully qualified domain name of a network host, or its IP
address as a set of four decimal digit groups separated by
".". Fully qualified domain names take the form as described
in Section 3.5 of RFC 1034  and Section 2.1 of RFC 1123
: a sequence of domain labels separated by ".", each domain
label starting and ending with an alphanumerical character and
possibly also containing "-" characters. The rightmost domain
label will never start with a digit, though, which
syntactically distinguishes all domain names from the IP
The port number to connect to. Most schemes designate
protocols that have a default port number. Another port number
may optionally be supplied, in decimal, separated from the
host by a colon. If the port is omitted, the colon is as well.
The rest of the locator consists of data specific to the
scheme, and is known as the "url-path". It supplies the
details of how the specified resource can be accessed. Note
that the "/" between the host (or port) and the url-path is
NOT part of the url-path.
The url-path syntax depends on the scheme being used, as does the
manner in which it is interpreted.
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