What is a Relative Path?
A relative path is a link that points to a file location on the page where the link is located. Unlike an absolute path, a relative path does not include the domain name of the website. Instead, it contains just the directory and slug.
More About Relative Paths
Relative vs Absolute Paths
Relative and absolute paths are two different ways of addressing a location on the web. A relative path points to a file or directory in relation to the current page, whereas an absolute path is an exact address of the file or directory. Relative paths are more commonly used as they are shorter and easier to maintain. For example, if you wanted to link to a page within your website from another page, using a relative path would be much simpler than having to type out the full URL every time.
Paths can be useful for identifying specific locations in a directory structure. There are two types of paths: absolute and relative.
Absolute paths are the full, exact addresses of a file or directory. An absolute path always starts from the root directory and lists each subdirectory until it reaches its destination. Since an absolute path is the full address, it will work regardless of where it is used – making it especially useful when creating links to pages on other websites. This type of path makes navigation much easier since you don’t have to remember what page you’re currently on in order to reference another page; you just need to enter in the full address.
Relative paths only point to a particular file or page, omitting the domain name and protocol. When a user clicks on a relative link, the browser searches the current website’s directory for that file and redirects to the new page.
However, relative paths can lead to potential issues since they rely on the user being in the same directory as the linked file. If a user is navigating different directories on a website, they can only be directed to another page if that page exists within those directories. If not, then the relative path will fail and the browser will not be able to locate and redirect to the new page. This creates user experience and accessibility issues for users and search engine crawlers.