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?


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.

  • 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 '14 at 14:49

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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    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 '14 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 '14 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 '14 at 11:18
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    @dan Well done, IMO. The accepted answer makes the proper distinction. – leonbloy Sep 3 '14 at 11:49

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.


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

  • 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 – anonymous Jan 25 '12 at 18:47

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