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Are there illegal charaters for urls?

 10:03 pm on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

I know this isnt 2001, but isnt it generally good practices to get pass through variables out of the url? Less important that it was?

Are there still characters you should not have in your url?

ie + or -


Thank you


[edited by: encyclo at 11:42 pm (utc) on Sep. 7, 2007]
[edit reason] switched to example.com [/edit]



 10:16 pm on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yes, the use of many characters is prohibited, and what is allowed varies depending upon the part of the URI. See RFC 2396 - Uniform Resource Identifiers (URI): Generic Syntax [faqs.org]

The "unreserved" characters are generally "safe" to use:
2.3. Unreserved Characters

Data characters that are allowed in a URI but do not have a reserved
purpose are called unreserved. These include upper and lower case
letters, decimal digits, and a limited set of punctuation marks and

unreserved = alphanum mark

mark = "-" "_" "." "!" "~" "*" "'" "(" ")"

Unreserved characters can be escaped without changing the semantics
of the URI, but this should not be done unless the URI is being used
in a context that does not allow the unescaped character to appear.

For details, see the cited document.

[added] Use of other characters is not "illegal" per se, but the client and the server will send them as escaped hex-encoded entities. For example, a space is sent as "%20" -- which looks awful in the browser address bar, is very difficult to remember and to type, and should therefore be avoided. [/added]


[edited by: jdMorgan at 10:19 pm (utc) on Sep. 7, 2007]


 10:32 pm on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

Thank you for your response.

IOW after reading what you sent to me + is reserved and should NOT be used.




 11:26 pm on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

Here's an example URL with an attached query string:


If a "+" is included in the URL, it will be encoded as "%2b". This encoded character will appear in the browser address bar and in search engine listings.

If a "+" is included in the query-string, it will pass through unchanged.

As an experiment, try making a test page with links including these characters to see how they behave.



 9:33 pm on Sep 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Always avoid spaces and underscores in URLs.

Hyphens are good for word spacers, but I usually use dots instead.

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