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What is the difference between these two URLs:

  • http://example.com/
  • http://example.com

Should we always add the final / or avoid it? Does it make a difference?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 12 down vote accepted

There's no difference between them. (As opposed to not putting a slash on links into a directory, for example.) I don't think I've ever seen anything saying that you should or shouldn't use a trailing slash for absolute URLs, though being consistent in your own behavior is generally not a bad idea either.

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1  
+1 the only correct answer here. –  DisgruntledGoat Oct 3 '11 at 14:30
    
+1 Good answer. –  Book Of Zeus Oct 9 '11 at 23:54
    
The server internally adds it for the request, at one time you got quicker response by having it there ahead of time. Fast hardware now, meh. –  Fiasco Labs Sep 3 at 14:49

The other answers have identified that it doesn't seem to technically matter.

For me it is a matter of perception, if there is a trailing slash I'd expect something to be following it, a file name, an anchor.

I also think a lack of a trailing slash looks cleaner.

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It's a matter of Apache configuration (can't say about others)

Some Apaches can't handle site/path as site/path/index.file

Semantically both URL declare the same resource

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It's nothing whatsoever to do with Apache. It's a browser issue. –  DisgruntledGoat Oct 3 '11 at 14:30
    
@disgruntledgoat- Wrong statement! The DirectorySlash directive determines whether mod_dir should fixup URLs pointing to a directory or not. Typically if a user requests a resource without a trailing slash, which points to a directory, mod_dir redirects him to the same resource, but with trailing slash for some good reasons... –  Lazy Badger Oct 3 '11 at 14:38
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the question is not about directories, it's about the root domain. –  DisgruntledGoat Oct 3 '11 at 15:01
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Apache is not the only webserver –  slow diver Jan 25 '12 at 18:47

One of the most wasteful redirects happens frequently and web developers are generally not aware of it. It occurs when a trailing slash (/) is missing from a URL that should otherwise have one. For example, going to "http://astrology.yahoo.com/astrology" results in a 301 response containing a redirect to "http://astrology.yahoo.com/astrology/" (notice the added trailing slash). This is fixed in Apache by using Alias or mod_rewrite, or the DirectorySlash directive if you're using Apache handlers.

from: http://developer.yahoo.com/performance/rules.html

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4  
But this does not apply to the question example –  leonbloy Oct 3 '11 at 2:25
    
@leonbloy how does it not? as it shows not only a programmer issue, but given the site you frequent, could mean milliseconds of difference in page load time! –  SpYk3HH Sep 2 at 21:41
    
@SpYk3HH My comment (almost 3 years ago) referred to a previous version of the question, the posterior editions changed (I wonder why) the original meaning. webmasters.stackexchange.com/posts/20373/revisions –  leonbloy Sep 3 at 0:30
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@leonbloy Unfortunately the edits did change the meaning significantly, so I rolled the question back to an earlier version. –  dan Sep 3 at 11:18
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@dan Well done, IMO. The accepted answer makes the proper distinction. –  leonbloy Sep 3 at 11:49

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