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Basic Guide to Paths
Path's  Url's  Uri's and all that
Here we set out those confusing terms encountered when installing scripts. What do all those terms mean such as put the full path here and here you need the relative path.

Let us start off by looking at what you are all familiar with a URL 

(note directory is meaning the same as folder in this guide and this is referring to scripts being installed on a UNIX or similar server not NT where different file structures are used.)


By entering this in your browser as you are well aware would take you to this site's front page.

This is known as a URL (Uniform Resource Locator ) Firstly let us look how this is made up.
This is made up of three parts The Protocol  The Alias  and The Domain Name.

The Protocol is the http: part   other common protocols that you have come across are mailto:
ftp: and telnet: (the protocol defines how information is dealt with)

The Alias www.

The Domain Name   webmasterworkshop.com  (note the domain name does not start with www.)

after the domain name you get either the file name or the path to a filename. If no file name is stipulated it is normally set by your server to default to index.html or index.htm.
So the file index.html would reside in the root directory of the site but to avoid confusion I will call it the home directory and use the term root to indicate the root ( top level) of the server.

A more complex url could look like this  
meaning I would be asking for the file test.html which resides in the directory area in the directory search from my home directory.

So onto PATHS

A path is the directory structure separated by the " / " character (forward slash). So the path to test.html  from the home directory in the example above would be /search/area/test.html.
NOTE a path always starts with a 
" / "  and ends without one.


/search/area/test.html is also known as a URI (Uniform resource indicator)


/search/area/test.html   is also known as a RELATIVE URL or RELATIVE PATH

So the relative path often asked for in scripts would be the part after the domain name to find that file or directory.

couple more examples


the relative path would be    /  


the relative path to the directory here would be /cgi-bin/here


the relative path to the file page.html here would be  /cgi-bin/here


That is right as the script is asking where a file resides on your server it already knows which file it is looking for it just wants to know where it can find it and in this case it would find it in the directory here.

One further thing to note is the directory htdocs or public or www or whatever the directory is called where you put your public files is invisible on the system in respect of relative paths

and finally the other paths commonly asked for by a script

Please change this to the Full path or the Absolute path is another common setup request

What they are normally requesting is Please enter the Full System Path to whatever directory

When you open your computers " C " drive (or whatever your disk drive is labeled) you are presented with a list of directories and maybe files. This is the top level of your C drive and this is what is called your root of C drive  or C drives root directory .

On a server your domain's home directory is a few directories below the servers root directory.
When you are asked for the Full System Path what is being requested is the path to the script from the server 's root directory.

A typical path to the script test.cgi in the search directory of your cgi-bin could look something like this


Note yet once again the path starts with a " / " and ends without one.

If you wanted the the full path to your sites front page on the above system it would look like this


Note this time the htdocs or whatever the directory name where you put your sites public pages is included.

This full path tells the script where it is exactly located on the server so it can reference all other directories and files in relation to itself. 

To summarize

Relative Path is normally the path after your domain name to find a file

The Full URL to this page is the full URL starting with http://

The Full System Path is the path to the file from the server's root directory also known as
 The Absolute Path or Full Path

Remember the htdocs or whatever it is called only appears in a Full Path


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