URL parameters or query strings are the part of a URL that typically comes after a question mark (?) and are used to pass data along with the URL. They can be active parameters that modify page content or passive parameters that are mostly used for tracking and do not change the content.
They are made up of key-value pairs, where the key tells you what data is being passed and the value is the data you’re passing, such as an identifier. They look like ?key=value but may be separated by ampersands (&) like ?key=value&key2=value2 if there is more than one pair.
Parts of a URL parameter
Explanation of URL parameter parts.
In this guide, we’ll be covering what you need to know about URL parameters.
How parameters are used
As I mentioned in the intro, parameters can be active or passive. Let’s look at some examples of each.
Active parameters modify the content of the page in some way.
Filter. Removes some of the content, leaving more specific content on the page that a user wants to see. An example of this is faceted navigation in e-commerce.
Sort. Reorders the content in some way, such as by price or rating.
Paginate. Divides content into a series of related pages.
Translate. Changes the language of the content.
Search. Queries a website for information that a user is looking for.
On our search engine, yep.com, we use the key “q” for the query, and the value contains info about the user query.
Passive parameters do not change the content. They are typically used for tracking. Let’s look at some examples of each.
Affiliate IDs. Passes an identifier used to track whatsapp number list where sales and signups come from.
Advertising tags. Tracks advertising campaigns.
Session IDs. Identifies a particular user. It’s not common on modern websites to use session IDs to track users.
Video timestamps. Jumps to the designated timestamp in a video.