Should a URL terminate in a period? This question has been asked several times. Read this article to learn about the best practices for writing URLs.
Web addresses are unusual in that they resemble equations or long numbers rather than words. All of the rules for handling URLs in writing are based on personal preference, but certain styles work better than others.
Internal periods are always present in URLs, as are other punctuation marks and symbols like question marks, slashes, and percent signs. So, what happens if one appears at the conclusion of a sentence? Should you use a period or another type of terminal punctuation mark at the conclusion of the phrase as usual?
Remove the period to prevent the reader from inadvertently including it in the address? Or try something different, like putting quotation marks around the URL? Consider the medium i.e. print or the web when making a decision.
We have some handy tips for both:
Web addresses don’t need to be treated differently if you’re writing for print. Put a period, a question mark, or an exclamation point at the conclusion of the sentence, just as if it finished with a word or a number.
Since most people nowadays know that URLs don’t terminate in periods, there’s little chance that they’ll mistake the period for part of the address if they manually type it into an address bar. A good tactic is to color code the URL — for instance, use the font color blue.
Moreover, unlike web, text in print is not inherently clickable. So, even if you put a full-stop, there is no URL anchor that will be affected.
When you include a URL in any online environment where the link will be active, you also had to worry whether your URL was at the end of a sentence, the interface would automatically generate an active link on the address with a period in the end, and the link would be incorrect when people clicked on it. Although systems have improved, it is no longer required to leave a space.
So adding a period at the end of the sentence on many occasions works fine.
So, should a sentence ending with a URL terminate in a period?
The choice depends on your requirements. If you prefer to style your text in a way that seems appealing, you can opt for or against including a period. Following are some great alternatives:
- Rewrite the text such that the address does not appear at the end.
- Set the address off with a full stop (no period) like this:
- On web, replace the link with text that is hyperlinked; for example ‘follow this website to learn more about UX design.’ It’s recommended to leave off the terminal punctuation or rephrase the text, so the URL doesn’t come at the end unless you have complete control over how the address is produced.
This question is an excellent example of how quotation marks can be used. It removes any doubt about where the URL finishes and the surrounding text starts. In theory, quotation marks could be used in a URL, but they’d have to be encoded as URL anyhow.
This is similar to how quotation marks are commonly used to distinguish between use and mention. All characters in a URL, including punctuation characters, are referred to like characters in a URL string rather than being utilized as periods, slashes, colons, and so on. As a result, putting them in quotation marks makes great sense, for example,” www.uxpickle.com“. There’s a handy thread on WordReference about this.