How to Use the URL Encoder / Decoder
URL encoding is generally used when the browser sends data to a web server. You can use our tool to automatically URL encode or decode a string of text for worldwide interoperability.
- Step #1: Copy and paste the URL or string of text that you wish to encode or decode.
- Step #2: Encode the text: ‘Reserved symbols’ will be transformed into ‘%’ symbols and two-digit hexadecimal values.
Decode the text: The string of gibberish will be stripped out and the text will be transformed into a readable format.
Why you should use the URL encoder/decoder
URL encoding and URL decoding, commonly referred to as ‘percent encoding’, change a string so that it respects the regulations imposed by the Uniform Resource Locators specification. The RFC 1738 URL specification dictates that only a small set of characters can be used in a URL structure.
These characters are: upper-case letters (A to Z), lower-case letters (a to z), digits (0 to 9), as well as several ‘reserved’ symbols (dollar sign, underscore, period, closing/opening bracket, single quote, asterisk, exclamation, plus sign, and hyphen).
All offending characters must be replaced by a %, followed by the two-digit hexadecimal value that represents the symbol in the ISO character set (e.g. @ becomes %40); otherwise you might encounter problems while trying to pass information through an URL.
Why we built this tool
In the past, people would manually URL encode special characters into their encoding string. This was a tedious task that would generally result in human error. We built this tool to help you URL encode/decode links in a matter of seconds.
What is URL encoding?
URL encoding refers to encoding certain characters in a Uniform Resource Locator (URL). URL encoding is a two-step process: the character string is encoded into a sequence of bytes and then each byte that isn’t an ASCII letter or a digit is also converted to a hexadecimal value of the byte.
What are reserved characters?
Sometimes reserved characters have special meanings, and URL encoding allows them to maintain their special character sequences. In other words, if a reserved character has a reserved purpose in a certain context, the URL scheme dictates that it is URL encoded.
A URL encode converts the character into its corresponding byte value in ASCII. This new value (two digits preceded by a %) will be used in the URL instead of the reserved character.
What is the purpose of reserved characters?
Here is a list of reserved characters, their purpose and encoding:
|Character||Purpose in URL||Character encode|
|/||Used to separate domains & directories||%2F|
|+||Indicates a space||%2B|
|%||Indicates an encoded character||%25|
|@||Separate user & pass details from domain||%40|
|:||Separate protocol from address||%3B|
|<space>||Space, not recommended in URLs||+ or %20|
|?||Separate query string||%3F|
When should I URL encode?
Strictly speaking, you should always URL encode, especially if your link or text contains non-alphabetic characters, numbers or special characters used outside their normal context.
Should I URL encode unreserved characters?
The unreserved characters (upper-case and lower-case letters, digits, and ‘-‘, ‘_’, ‘.’, ‘~’ symbols) can be encoded, but should not be encoded.