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Whether you are creating, revamping or maintaining your company’s website, naming web files correctly will avoid unnecessary errors. If your filenames aren’t web safe, your files will cause glitches on your website. You don’t have time to waste investigating why a web page, file or image is not loading or viewing properly. Learn how to name web files correctly. Reduce headaches.

Keep this article with your other key documentation for your site (for example: website style guide, instructions for maintaining your site, and website disaster recovery information) for easy reference when naming files for your website.

What to use

  • Only use numbers and alpha characters in the file name.
  • Use the proper extension for the file’s format.
  • Use a dash (-) or underscore instead of spaces (_).
  • Keep filenames under 31 characters. You may be able to have more characters in your filename; however, longer filenames may cause the overall URL path of a specific file to exceed the maximum allowed for a URL path. The URL path is the string of words and symbols telling a browser where the file resides and the filename.
  • Keep it simple—keep your filenames lowercase. A file named MainFile and the same file named mainfile may work the same on some operating systems but other operating systems may not. Inconsistent letter casing structure for the filenames may also interfere with your web files not backing up properly.

What not to use
Illegal characters:
# pound
< left angle bracket $ dollar sign + plus sign % percent > right angle bracket
! exclamation point
` backtick
& ampersand
* asterisk
‘ single quotes
| vertical bar or pipe
{ left bracket
? question mark
“ double quotes
= equal sign
} right bracket
/ forward slash
: colon
\ back slash
blank spaces
@ at sign

Don’t start or end your filename with a hyphen, space, underline or period.

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