When I send people my Web address (URL) or print it on my business cards, should I use all lowercase, or can I write it like I would in a sentence and use the caps?
In any URL, caps are optional up to the .com part. Addresses are only case-sensitive after the .com (same goes for .org, .edu, and other types of URLs).
When I’m advertising a Web address or URL, I like to use caps in the URL because most web site names are easier to read that way. I recommend:
or for my site: DigitalFamily.com
However, if anyone types your domain in all lowercase, they’ll get there just fine. (Some publications prefer that style and will only print URLs in all lowercase, but it’s not necessary.)
For example: DigitalFamily.com/Books and DigitalFamily.com/books are not the same address — the one with the capital B will not work.
The technical reason is that most web servers are case-sensitive and the part of the address that comes after the .com is based on the name of the folder or the filename that page resides in on the server.
For the same reason that links within a web site should match the case of the name of the file they link to, the address after the .com needs to match the case of the specific file or folder.
Think of a long URL as being one long link to a page within a site. In this example, DigitalFamily.com/books takes you directly to a page on my web server that is in a folder named “books.” This won’t work with “Books” because I didn’t use a cap when I named the folder. Most web designers use lowercase after the .com consistently so they can easily keep things the same, but if you do use mixed case on folders and filenames, you need to do the same in the URL (as you see in this next example).
I could have linked specifically to the page about my website that features my books, by using this URL: http://www.digitalfamily.com/books/index.html.
And here’s your bonus lesson for the day
Name your main pages index.html to create shorter sub-URLs.
The URL http://www.digitalfamily.com/books
goes to this page: http://www.digitalfamily.com/books/index.html
If you name the main page in any folder index.html, you can shorten the address and just use the folder name. That makes it easier to give the URL out in print, and because most web servers are designed to “serve” the index.html page first, you can more easily set it up.
Save people typing the extra long addresses and use index pages to take people directly to subsections of your sites.
Oh, and if you have a blog, use an SEO plugin to help create clean URLs. Short URLs are better for humans and computers…