I wanted to separate a section of my website using an URL segment that contains a special (but URL-safe) character like hyphen or tilde, so that some pages would like this: example.com/-/about or example.com/~/about

Is there any problem (technical or otherwise) this (using only a special character - or several - in an URL segment) may cause down the line?

Note: I moved the context to another question - this seems like a separate concern that I'm still curious about, as I've never really seen it done on a website.

  • 1
    This is not a good idea for a variety of reasons primary of which is that it does not add semantic value to the URL. Instead, use /definition/about.
    – closetnoc
    Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 19:20
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    It does seem more logical that the word definition URLs would be of the form example.com/definition/<word> (or /define/ or /def/ or simply /d/) rather than directly off the root as you suggest (example.com/<word>), then have all the site pages off the root instead. I imagine that "some" could grow into "quite a few" pages? But maybe having 1000's of /def/ URLs doesn't fit the bigger picture? I don't think /-/about is necessarily bad IMO, it just looks a bit weird.
    – MrWhite
    Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 20:58
  • Thank you - your comments made me realise this was an XY problem and I was asking the wrong thing, so I moved it to a new question. Still, out of mere curiosity, I'm wondering if this would cause any problems.
    – fstanis
    Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 21:53

1 Answer 1


I think you could do it without any major problems. The only things I can think of that could go wrong are:

  • If you need a directory with that name on your server, it may be difficult to create and work with. Command line programs use the dash (-) to specify flags and special arguments. They don't like working with files and directories that start with a dash. The tilde (~) often means your home directory and it may get expanded to that by your shell instead of being treated as literal.
  • That isn't a "normal" practice and some users may find that it looks odd enough that they might not use your site.
  • Those are not keywords, so there is no SEO benifit

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