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Well-known refers to designating a common URL on domains for data to be located typically automatically by some software (like a browser or a search engine), and is generally an antipattern to be avoided, because it breaks the portability of content across directories and systems; see follow your nose instead.

"Well-known" are prescribed URLs/paths, whereas there are also emergent common page URLs published by IndieWeb sites like about, contact, etc. See:

There are a couple of common patterns or categories of "well-known" URLs:

  1. a root level file
  2. stuff inside a root level "/.well-known/" directory, standardized by https://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc8615

Root Level

Historically there are several root level paths that are used by browser and search engines, and it's unlikely that we’ll ever be rid of them:

However there has been a disturbing pattern of new proposals in form of something.txt over the years:


(if this list gets too big, create a separate page)

API endpoints

Apparently these root files are a convention on some sites:


inside a root well-known directory

Main article: .well-known

See Also