As most of you know, putting a link into a post automatically makes it a link (e.g. http://localhost/) We can force the linkification with angle brackets (<http://localhost/>) if the markdown somehow misses it. But (as far as I know) there's no way to force the address to not be made a link. Such a feature would be nice when we need example addresses, there's no reason to have a link to, for instance, or, from the question where I thought of this.

I think an easy way to mark this up would be something like <!>, making the address appear in plain text without the hyperlink.

This came to my attention in this question: can't open transfered website from old DS to new DS

  • As for any nice feature that is not essential for SE sites to operate correctly, I'd say: first convince the author of the Markdown specification... – Arjan Jan 20 '12 at 21:12
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    @arjan technically auto-linking isn't part of the markdown spec. Technically, per the spec, only links in angle brackets are supposed to auto-link, but this is.. not how the world expects things to work these days. – Jeff Atwood Jan 20 '12 at 21:18
  • True, @Jeff (though I did not even realize that). Still then, defining !<...> would be a deviation from the original Markdown that other parsers won't understand? Bare URLs might simply not be auto-linked by other parsers, but such does not really break the rendering, nor the content. (Related: I like the syntax for spoiler text, which does not break other parsers either.) – Arjan Jan 20 '12 at 21:28
  • I thought I was going crazy, because all of the examples here whereby it's not supposed to create a link are appearing as links. Then I remembered I have a Chrome extension that turns non-linked URLs into links. – ale Jan 21 '12 at 2:35
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    We do not allow IP address based hosts, see more at: (this message will be automatically removed when the link is fixed) – Community May 14 '12 at 5:33
up vote 22 down vote accepted


Implementation changes might break this, but for now you can use any non-whitelisted HTML-like-code to prevent the auto-linker from kicking in, despite the code being stripped.

This doesn't work in chat or comments.

If you put the link in code tags, it won't be linked automatically.

Like this:

What I did was use the backtick `` marks around it, so it works inline, too.` like that.

This would make semantic sense, too; because if you are wanting to insert a URL but don't want it to operate as a link, it's almost always because it's in code, or a value for some code.

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    I know it doesn't link in code, but I feel that unnecessarily highlights the address. I just want it to look like normal text. – Kevin Jan 20 '12 at 21:05
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    I think the use for that would be minimal (though obviously, you disagree). I suppose you could always do something like insert the HTML code for a zero-width space or some such. – Andrew Barber Jan 20 '12 at 21:06
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    Can't you just drop the http:// then, @Kevin? – Arjan Jan 20 '12 at 21:15
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    @arjan that was also the answer when this came up recently in the context of "why can't the tooltip text for a URL itself be a hyperlink too", which I consider a rather.. insanely obscure.. request. – Jeff Atwood Jan 20 '12 at 21:19

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