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An important decision when creating URLs is whether a URL should end with a directory or an .html extension. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages and there is no clear 'right' choice that applies to all websites. Instead, the decision depends on what your priorities are for your URL structure and what technical constraints apply to your website.

Directory URLs

A URL that ends with a directory usually looks like this: www.mein-shop.de/produkte/.

This type of URL is often preferred because they are logical and easy to understand. They give the user a clear idea of where they are on the website and what subpages are available.

Another advantage of URLs with directories is that they are easy to change if you want to change the structure of your website in the future. For example, if you move a category of products to a subdirectory of another category, you only need to change the URL of the subdirectory to reflect the changes.

A URL ending in .html

A URL ending with an .html extension usually looks like this: www.mein-shop.de/produkte.html

These types of URLs used to be commonly used before directories were available as a URL structure. Nowadays, however, they are used less frequently, as directories are usually considered a better option.

One disadvantage of URLs with .html endings is that they are not as well structured as URLs with directories. They do not give the user a clear idea of where they are on the website and what subpages are available.

Another disadvantage of URLs with .html endings is that they are more difficult to change if you want to change the structure of your website in the future. For example, if you move a page from one subdirectory to another, you may need to change the entire URL of the page to reflect the changes.

When should you use which option?

We usually recommend using URLs with directories as they are more logical and user-friendly. They give the user a clear idea of where they are on the site and what subpages are available. They are also easier to change if you want to change the structure of your website in the future.

However, there are also cases where using URLs with .html extensions may make more sense. For example, if the URL has no more sub-branches or you run a static website that is rarely updated, URLs with .html endings might be a good option. Also, if you have technical limitations that prevent the use of directories, URLs with .html endings could be a good alternative.

Summary

In this post we have discussed the advantages and disadvantages of URLs with directories and URLs with .html endings. As a rule, we recommend using URLs with directories because they are more logical, user-friendly and easier to change. However, there are also cases where using URLs with .html endings may make more sense. Ultimately, the decision depends on what your priorities are for your URL structure and what technical restrictions apply to your website.