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What is a Hyperlink

Last Edit: 10/01/17

The World Wide Web is a system of hypertext documents (designed using HTML); the documents on the World Wide Web are connected together through the use of hyperlinks. Therefore, a hyperlink can be thought of as a 'reference' to a resource located on the World Wide Web. A hyperlink is also referred to as a 'link'.

The World Wide Web could not function without hyperlinks: as it is the simplest process by which users can move from one document to another, and it is the primary way by which search engines and other 'information location systems' can find documents (by using spiders / robots). A hyperlink is an element (element "a") within HTML, and therefore it has a specific syntax. The syntax of a hyperlink is as follows:

<a href="">Home</a>

The text in blue is a URL ( and the hypertext is in red (home). The URL is a character string which uses the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and the domain name system (DNS) to locate the computer - connected to the Internet - which hosts (stores) the hypertext document (webpage).

The hypertext (in red) is simple text - which describes the document located at the URL - that is "held" within a hypertext element. Both the URL and hypertext are variable and can be changed to whatever a user wishes them to be. The rest of the hyperlink syntax (in black) is static and cannot be changed; otherwise it would simple produce an error in a Web browser. The attribute href is somewhat of a mystery - in terms of what it means - the best guess is that it means "hyperlink reference" or hypertext reference".