Online URL Encoder/Decoder

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Use the online-URL-encoder-decoder tool to either encode or decode a string of text. For websites to achieve worldwide interoperability, the websites URLs have to be uniformly encoded. It is a two-step process:

  • Converting the character string into a series of bytes by using the UTF-8 encoding
  • Convert each byte that’s not an ASCII letter or numeric digit to the hexadecimal value of the byte.

URL encoding is also known as percent encoding in the internet SEO world. Under certain circumstance, URL encoding is used to encode information in a ‘Uniform Resource Identifier’ also known by the acronym URI.

The characters permitted in a URI are termed as reserved and unreserved. The set of reserved and unreserved characters can be found by conducting a search on any search engine. The sets have changed slightly with revisions of rules that govern URI and URLs.

Certain rules apply to sending URLs over the Internet. The general rule set is:

  • The standard ASCII character set must be used to send URLs over the Internet.
  • URLs containing non-ASCII have to be converted into a valid ASCII format.
  • In URLs, unsafe ASCII characters are encoded and replaced with a "%" followed by two hexadecimal digits.
  • Spaces in URLs are not allowed. With URL encoding the space is replaced with either a plus (+) sign or with %20.

URL encoding is the routine of translating unprintable or special meaning characters in URLs to universally readable and unambiguous characters. For example, this string of characters ‘Fran%C3%A7ois’ would make no sense. Whereas ‘François’ is readable; ‘Fran%C3%A7ois’ is the URL encoded version of ‘François.'

All SEOs, webmasters and to large extent people who use laptops, computers, tablets and mobile phones are aware of the fact that there are alphabets, numeric and extraordinary characters that they can use in typing. If you were to look at any ASCII table, you would see the decimal, hexadecimal code and the character. Computers use binary codes for their internal operations. Therefore all characters that are input in a computer are translated via hexadecimal into binary code. Previously different computer manufacturers used their conversion tables to convert alpha-numeric characters into binary code. But now ASCII has become the universal standard.

URL encoding entails converting character strings into valid URL formats. URL encoding is required to convert special characters into standard form. Some of the special characters are ‘/’. ‘#’, ‘+’. ‘,’. ‘.’. If these characters exist in a URL name and are not encoded, their behavior can be very different to the expected conduct. When a visitor types in a URL containing special characters which have not been encoded, he or she can get a ‘website not found’ or a ‘404 error’.

Now, when a URL is encoded, it also has to be decoded. What decoding a URL essentially means is that an encoded URL should be translated into a human-readable form. It is where decoding is used.

When selecting a URL name, it’s advisable to choose a human-readable name and avoid the use of special characters in it. Also, URL names cannot contain a ‘space’ in them. It’s better to jam the words together when selecting a URL name rather than using special characters in them.

The simple question that webmasters would ask is what I should encode? All data that contains special characters in a URL should be encoded. You won’t find any special characters in URLs except if they are using form data. Most URLs use simple characters that don’t require any encoding.

If you submit any data using the Common Gateway Interface using the GET technique you should encode the data. If you want to use the RSS feed for promoting your website, you will have to encode the URL to add to the script of the URL you are promoting.

Any alphabet, numeric, unique character that you want to use outside its normal context will need to be encoded. To do this, you can look at any reserved characters encoding table which are easily found on the internet.

You must be careful when doing the manual encoding. If you don’t know how to do that, it’s advisable not to experiment on your website especially if it’s up on the internet and running, live. For example by looking at, an encoding table you would use %24 to denote an ampersand to an HTML page. It would be wrong; you will use "&"; or "&". It would render the ‘&’ to the HTML page.

Do not confuse HTML writing with URL encoding. They are two different entities and not interchangeable.

If you are well versed with website creation languages like C+, Java, PHP or HTML you can use URL encode c#, URL encode java, URL encode PHP, HTML encoder. All these utilities are available on the internet. To encode the text which contains special characters which are not in the regular ASCII set to look up the equivalence table of the language in which the web pages have been programmed and convert them accordingly. Using PHP code to encode Java will create havoc. It’s best to get expert help where needed and not experiment yourself.

There are several URL encoder-decoder applications available on the internet. However, has a well tested and user-friendly Online URL encoder-decoder tool. Search for the site on any search engine and click on the ‘Free SEO Tools.' Scroll down the icons till you spot the icon and click on it. Enter the text to encode and decode. It will display the original entry and the encoded and decoded values.

This tool is extremely helpful for webmasters if they want to link their sites to pages on other sites or use the RSS feed. They can use this if they want to code the links to their website hard.