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Root URL

A Root URL (root URL) is the home page or index of a domain on a web server. Colloquially, many users call the home page the "root URL". Since root means "the basic cause, source or origin of something" (Oxford English Dictionary), the root URL could also be considered as the "source directory" or "source URL" for all subpages of a domain.

Root file storage

If files are stored in the "root" of a web server, they are always located just after the sidebar (/) and after the web address.


An image file named fish.jpg is stored in the server's root directory at After uploading, it can be accessed at if there are no further restrictions on root access, such as a password prompt.

In this way, the root URL is correctly considered the full URL including a sidebar, for example

Effects on traffic

The user assumes that it does not matter if he enters a URL with or without a slash, after all, the desired website will appear in both cases. Regardless, it does matter for the web server. There is an invisible procedure that runs in the background. The browser indicates that is not reachable. You should get information from the web server about which directory is defined as the root directory. This is done by redirecting to the root URL. If a web portal is not called via the root URL, this causes increased load on the web server. In this way, increased traffic can lead to increased waiting times.

Relevance for search engine optimization

If a URL version is specified as the root URL, only it should be indexed. In extreme cases, the home page of a web portal may be available under three or more different URLs. This poses the risk of duplicating content, since the same content can be accessed through different URLs.


To avoid errors, the webmaster must choose one version of the main page and redirect all other versions through a 301 that redirects to the original version.

At the same time, this circumstance must also be observed when it consists of link building. If the links are established referring to the main page, they must refer directly to the domain followed by a sidebar or in a different root directory, the respective root URL. This also applies to entries in search engines or directories. With proper visibility, a lot of traffic will come from them and if there are any errors in the entry of the root URL, the traffic would have to be redirected every time. Alternatively, redirects must be configured for all URLs that refer to the home page.

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