How long can a URL be?
The length of a URL can vary depending on the browser being used, as different browsers may have their own URL length limits. A URL is a character string that serves as a reference to a specific resource, and web browsers display it in the address bar above the web page. To ensure compatibility across various client and server software, it is advisable to keep URLs under 2000 characters, as extremely long URLs are often prone to errors.
There is no universal maximum URL length specified in the HTTP protocol. However, practical limits are imposed by web browsers and server software. The maximum length of a URL is determined by what the client browser and server software choose to support, and this can vary widely. For example, HTML3 imposes a 1024-character limit to attribute values, while HTML4 does not have such a restriction. As a result, it is essential to be mindful of the URL length and consider the compatibility of different browsers and server configurations.
Google Chrome browser sets a maximum length of 2MB for URLs for practical reasons and to prevent denial-of-service issues in inter-process communication. However, the omnibox in Chrome, which displays URLs, limits the display to 32kB (kMaxURLDisplayChars) on most platforms. On VR platforms, a 1kB limit is used for URL display. This is done to ensure a smooth and efficient browsing experience while still accommodating a wide range of URLs within reasonable limits.
In Firefox, the maximum length for URLs appears to be unlimited. While the location bar in Windows Firefox 1.5.x stops displaying the URL after 65,536 characters, longer URLs will still work and be functional. This means that Firefox can handle URLs longer than the displayed limit, allowing users to access and interact with websites using URLs beyond the visible range in the location bar.
The 2,083 character limit for URLs is specific to Internet Explorer, and it applies to all versions up to 7.0. Microsoft has specified that the maximum length of a URL in Internet Explorer is 2,083 characters, with a maximum of 2048 characters in the path portion of the URL. This limitation can impact the display and accessibility of longer URLs in Internet Explorer, and users should be aware of this constraint when working with URLs in the browser.
While it's true that certain web browsers may support URLs with lengths beyond the 2,083 character limit, it's important to note that the behavior can vary across different browsers and web servers. Some browsers may allow longer URLs, but there might still be practical limitations imposed by the server, proxies, or other network components.
In practice, it's generally recommended to keep URLs reasonably short and within the limits specified by common web standards (e.g., 2,083 characters for Internet Explorer). Very long URLs can become difficult to manage, share, and handle by various systems, so it's best to adhere to standard URL length guidelines whenever possible to ensure optimal compatibility and functionality across different browsers and platforms.
Opera allows for URLs with very long lengths, beyond what other browsers typically support. However, it's important to remember that just because a browser allows for longer URLs doesn't mean it's a recommended practice.
Using extremely long URLs can still lead to potential issues with usability, compatibility, and performance. While Opera may handle URLs of up to 190,000 characters, other browsers and web servers might not handle such long URLs as effectively, leading to potential problems with displaying, sharing, and processing the URLs.
In general, it's advisable to follow common web standards and keep URLs within reasonable lengths to ensure widespread compatibility and avoid potential problems with different web browsers and systems.