Relative VS Absolute URLs: Beginner Guide With Tips

relative vs absolute urls

URL structures are not the only differences between relative URLs VS absolute URLs. A URL containing the entire protocol, domain name, domain extension, path, query parameter, search string, and fragment is known as an absolute URL.

Root-relative or protocol-relative URLs are examples of relative URLs. The benefits of using absolute and relative URLs vary depending on the context as well as domain types. For instance, using “protocol-relative URLs” is bad for online security but using “absolute URLs” is preferable for technical SEO needs.

We’ll go through the absolute and relative URL variations in this post, which focuses on their variances while also describing their benefits and drawbacks from the perspectives of SEO, search engines, and URL structures. You can use this information to create a good link and better linking strategy.

Absolute URL: What is it?

Absolute URLs provide more data and are longer than relative URLs. An Absolute URL explains the protocol or the subdomain of the particular website while providing information such as “HTTP” or “HTTPS,” “WWW” or without “WWW,” etc. To improve the application of Technical SEO, absolute URLs should be utilized within the “hreflang” and “canonical” variables. When contrasted to relative URLs, absolute URLs make it simpler to keep internal links consistent.

A Relative URL: What Is It?

Relative URLs only include the portion of the URL that is closely connected. “Protocol-relative URLs” and “root-relative URLs” are the two categories under which relative URLs fall. URLs that are protocol-relative do not contain information about the HTTP protocol type. It is not necessary to provide the domain name, subdomain name, or extension in root-relative URLs.

The Difference Between an Absolute URL and a Relative URL

Absolute and relative URLs differ primarily in six ways that affect user privacy, internet security, and page loading speed. Below is a list of the key distinctions in URL structure between absolute and relative URLs.

  • Length of URL: Relative URLs are shorter than absolute URLs.
  • Informativeness: Relative URLs are less informative than absolute URLs.
  • SEO techniques: All Technical SEO tags employ absolute URLs. Only some of them can be used with relative URLs.
  • Speed of URL Resolution: URLs are resolved more quickly for absolute URLs than for relative URLs. Since they are longer, absolute URLs take a while to resolve.
  • HTML Height: There is 8 KB in every character. Compared to absolute URLs, relative URLs are lighter and shorter for HTML size.

What benefits do absolute URLs have over relative URLs?

Following is a list of the benefits of absolute URLs over relative URLs:

  • Relative URLs are less informative than absolute URLs.
  • Absolute URLs are simpler to keep consistent for internal links.
  • Protocol-relative URLs are less secure than absolute URLs.
  • In contrast to relative URLs, hreflang and canonical values are utilized with absolute URLs.

What benefits do relative URLs provide over absolute URLs?

The following are some advantages of relative URLs over absolute URLs:

  • Absolute URLs are longer than relative URLs.
  • HTML Documents are larger than relative URLs.
  • Because relative URLs are simpler to resolve, they improve page performance.
  • While coding and during web development, relative URLs are simpler to comprehend.

Relative URLs VS Absolute URLs: Which is Better for SEO?

It is advisable to balance the use of absolute and relative URLs because they each offer various SEO advantages. However, relative URLs are worse for hreflang and canonical values. They are better for page speed, HTML document size, and URL resolution speed. Additionally, protocol-relative URLs lack security. Thus, both Absolute and Relative URLs should be utilized in conjunction with SEO.

  • For hreflang and canonical values, employ absolute URLs.
  • Use relative URLs while navigating within a website.
  • Avoid using protocol-relative URLs.

For a broader perspective on SEO considerations, you might also want to explore how Google’s shift to mobile-first indexing impacts the way websites are ranked and indexed, which is another crucial aspect to consider in web development and SEO strategy.

We have prepared some advice on how to change links to a single format for people who will utilize absolute routes on the site:

  • Select the HTTPS protocol. For Google, it is more dependable and secure.
  • Get your development team ready to recode each and every link on the website. Using facts to guide this is ideal.
  • Make it a habit to regularly check Screaming Frog to identify any links that do not follow the standard URL structure.
  • All URLs that can’t be declared absolute should be canonicalized. Duplicate pages will be less likely as a result of this.
  • Use the URL without the www prefix. The links will become shorter as a result.


All-encompassing SEO techniques make use of different URL architectures, such as absolute and relative URLs. An SEO specialist who specializes in all aspects of search engine optimization is called a holistic SEO specialist. Therefore, relative versus absolute URLs weigh a website’s quality differently. Using protocol-relative URLs may reduce the reliability of a website, and using root-relative URLs may result in unexpected 404s or 301s.

Using absolute URLs constantly isn’t the best approach. An SEO specialist must consider what URL structure is best for which circumstances in this case. SEO matters when it comes to the distinction between absolute URLs and relative URLs.

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