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Apache: The Definitive Guide, Second Edition by Peter Laurie, Ben Laurie

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Chapter 1. Getting Started

When you connect to the URL of someone's home page—say the notional http://www.butterthlies.com/ we shall meet later on—you send a message across the Internet to the machine at that address. That machine, you hope, is up and running, its Internet connection is working, and it is ready to receive and act on your message.

URL stands for Universal Resource Locator. A URL such as http://www.butter-thlies.com/ comes in three parts:

         <method>://<host>/<absolute path URL (apURL)>
      

So, in our example, < method> is http, meaning that the browser should use HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol); <host> is www.butterthlies.com; and <apURL> is "/ ", meaning the top directory of the host. Using HTTP/1.1, your browser might send the following request:

GET / HTTP/1.1
Host: www.butterthlies.com

The request arrives at port 80 (the default HTTP port) on the host www.butterthlies.com. The message is again in three parts: a method (an HTTP method, not a URL method), that in this case is GET, but could equally be PUT, POST, DELETE, or CONNECT; the Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) "/"; and the version of the protocol we are using. It is then up to the web server running on that host to make something of this message.

It is worth saying here—and we will say it again—that the whole business of a web server is to translate a URL either into a filename, and then send that file back over the Internet, or into a program name, and then run that program and send its output back. ...

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