Miscellaneous Web Tips

A few miscellaneous web tips not included elsewhere are described below:

  • Location shortcut. With most browsers, you can put the cursor in the URL location field in one action by pressing the <tab> key or <shift><tab>. The current URL will then be highlighted, and you can start typing a new URL or edit the existing one. Remember that you don’t need to type the “http://”, since it will be added automatically.
  • Finding phrases. There are so many pages on the Web that they include many odd combinations of words. Try searching for odd phrases of words, any real or nonsensical phrase, and see if someone somewhere has written it. A few examples are shown below:
  • Protocol change. You can sometimes change the “http” to “ftp” in the location field to access an Internet site running the file transfer protocol, as in:


    If the site is running an FTP server, then this will display all of the folders and files on the site without the web structuring, letting you explore the underlying structure of the site.

  • Searching yourself. You can search for names and numbers that identify yourself. For example, you can search for the digits of your phone number, your name, your address, and related information and see what you find. Is the data you find related to you, or is it shared by someone else?
  • Hidden words. Pages with a large blank space at the end are sometimes loaded with repeated text to bias search engines towards those words. These words are often hidden by making them the same colour as the background of the site, but you sometimes reveal them by selecting “select all” with the command <ctrl>-a, which will cause the browser to highlight and reveal all of the text on the page.