The Problem

Sometimes on Stack Overflow (and —how meta­— on meta) you talk about URLs and use an RFC 2606 domain (such as 'http://example.com'), but you will never mean this to be a hyperlink. These URLs are meant as examples, not as links to be followed.

The extra style gives it unwanted emphasis. Currently I use `` to mark it as code and prevent it becoming a hyperlink, but that gives it even more emphasis.

Is there a way to suppress the bare URL behaviour?

The Proposal

If there isn't one, I don't think we should introduce one, as I disagree with Must URLs always be hyperlinked?.

I think we should exempt bare URLs to RFC 2606 domains from becoming hyperlinks. One could always force it with <> if one really feels the need.

The "duplicate" asks for and doesn't propose a feature. The accepted answer actually is what I said I am using at the time I asked this, but am not satisfied with. (That time was a mere 5 hours after the duplicate. Which, combined with the lack of use of the "bare URL" terminology from the FAQ in that duplicate, might explain why I didn't find it, in spite of my extensive work.)


2 Answers 2


You could escape a character:




You could escape, but that uses extra characters... Using lookalike glyphs works too:

  • http:╱╱example.com
  • http: //example.com
  • http: //example.com
  • нttp://example.com
  • hттp://example.com
  • hեեp://example.com
  • httpः//example.com

I like this one the best: hߚp://example.com it's actually a character less. ;-)

As Arjan comments, this is not a recommended solution.

It's not totally useless knowledge though, as the use of lookalike glyphs has been used to trick people into trusting a man-in-the-middled lookalike ssl protected domain. So always check the bold domain part in the location bar when you use https.

  • 12
    Apart from possible rendering problems, this also might yield surprises for copy & paste, and I doubt a screen reader will like it. Escaping is just as easy, I feel, and has no side effects I can think of. (And as for counting characters: the special glyphs surely will use additional bytes over the wire.)
    – Arjan
    Commented Apr 8, 2013 at 20:47
  • @Arjan you're absolutely right. Hence the ;-). It's a tongue in cheek answer. Commented Apr 11, 2013 at 8:33

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