Tech Tuesday – The Address Bar

By John Carter

Hi Net Neighbors! Welcome to another wonderful installment of Tech Tuesday, where we take deep dives into the technology issues plaguing you. Last time we talked a bit about internet browsers but there was still a lot left to be discussed. Today I would like to pick up where I left off by introducing you to the Address Bar. But before we get started, I want to remind you of the metaphor we used last time to talk about browsers. That they are cars on a road that is the internet.

What is the Address Bar?

I’m glad you asked. The Address Bar is a critical part of any browser, it is also the part most people miss when they first open a browser. You are probably reading this in a browser right now, if so look at the top of the screen.  See that long bar with followed by what seems like a stream of nonsense? That’s the Address Bar.

What do I do with it?

The Address Bar is used, in modern browsers, for two separate tasks: direct navigation and searching. Let’s take a look at both.

Direct Navigation

When we speak of direct navigation, we are talking about actively visiting a site. You directly navigate to web sites all the time. Ever type in a web address such as or If you have, then you have directly visited a site using your address bar. When we want to go to these locations directly we simply click in the Address Bar and type the address followed by the ENTER key. As soon as you do, you’re there. It might take a minute, it might be an instant, but as soon as you hit that fabled key your computer does the rest, navigating the ‘roads’ of the internet to reach your destination.


Sometimes though, you don’t know a site’s address, or you don’t know there is even a site for your topic. In those cases, the Address Bar can still be a real asset. Remember how I said under Direct Navigation that, if you know an address you just click on the Address Bar and type it? Well, the same is true for when you are searching for something.

Want to find out how to change a tire? Then type how do I change a tire and hit ENTER. Need to know where the nearest Thai place is, then type that. Gone are the days of complex Boolean logic-based searches, just ask. Ask it like you were asking someone where you might find the nearest gas station.

Is there anything I shouldn’t do with the Address Bar?

Don’t feed it to your cat, it is not that type of bar.

In all seriousness, the one thing you should never do is type your email address into the Address Bar. I know, it sounds counter intuitive. As we’ve previously discussed, an email address is a location on the internet. The reason you cannot use the Address Bar for your email is the same reason you cannot use tell someone your phone number when they ask for your address. Web addresses and email addresses are different things and need to be interacted with differently.

To help you remember the difference, remember this. If you are trying to type an address into the Address Bar and you use the @ sign then you are not typing the right thing. What you should be typing is what comes after the @, the domain. So instead of typing into your Address Bar just type

Now what?

Well, if you are asking the Address Bar questions and going to websites then you are off to a great start. Once you get comfortable with that, we are going to talk about Search Engines, which are vital tools in the kit you are building.

Until then, have fun, find adventure, and stay safe.



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