How do I create my own URL protocol? (e.g. so://...)

Cover Image for How do I create my own URL protocol? (e.g. so://...)
Matheus Mello
Matheus Mello
published a few days ago. updated a few hours ago

Guide to Creating Your Own URL Protocol (🔗)

Have you ever wondered how websites have their own unique URLs with the "http" or "ftp" prefix? Well, you're not alone! Many tech enthusiasts are curious about creating their own URL protocols. Imagine having a custom URL like "so://" or "myapp://action" - it's not only cool but also can enhance the user experience of your applications. In this blog post, we will dive into the world of URL protocols, explore common issues, provide easy solutions, and ultimately empower you to create your very own URL protocol. Let's get started! 😎

Understanding URL Protocols

Before we jump into the technical aspects, let's start with the basics. The section you see at the beginning of a URL, such as "http://www..." or "ftp://blah.blah...", is called the URL protocol. It defines the communication protocol that the browser or application should use to retrieve the requested resource. Examples you might be familiar with include:

  • http:// for Hypertext Transfer Protocol (used for websites)

  • ftp:// for File Transfer Protocol (used for file transfers)

  • file:// for accessing local files

  • unreal:// for gaming purposes

  • mailto:// for launching email applications

Each of these protocols serves a specific purpose and is associated with its own set of rules. But what if you want to register your own custom protocol? Let's find out!

Registering Your Own URL Protocol

Yes, you can indeed register your own URL protocol! The process may vary depending on the operating system, so we'll cover the two most widely used ones: Windows and macOS.


  1. Add Registry Entry: Open the Registry Editor (regedit) and navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT. Create a new key with your desired protocol name (e.g., myprotocol). Inside this key, create a subkey called shell and another subkey inside it called open. Finally, create a subkey named command. The final key path should look like this: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\myprotocol\shell\open\command.

  2. Set the Command: In the command subkey, set the (Default) value to the command or path you want to associate with your protocol. For example, if you want to open a specific webpage, the command could be "C:\Program Files\MyApp\MyApp.exe" "%1".


  1. Create Info.plist: Start by creating an Info.plist file for your application. This file contains metadata about your application, including the URL scheme. Add a new CFBundleURLTypes key, and under it, add a new dictionary item called CFBundleURLSchemes. Within CFBundleURLSchemes, add a string item with your desired URL scheme (e.g. myapp).

  2. Handle Incoming Requests: To handle incoming requests to your URL scheme, you need to implement the appropriate code in your application. This will vary depending on the programming language or framework you're using. For example, in Swift, you can handle incoming requests by implementing the application(_:open:options:) method in your AppDelegate.

Addressing Common Issues

Creating your own URL protocol can sometimes come with its own set of challenges. Let's address a common issue you might encounter.

Issue: Protocol Not Recognized

Sometimes, when you try to open a URL with your custom protocol, such as myapp://action, the browser or application might not recognize it. This could be due to the lack of proper registration or the application not being installed.

Solution: Check Registration and Application

To resolve this issue, double-check the registration process outlined earlier for your respective operating system. Ensure that the registry entries (Windows) or the Info.plist file (macOS) are properly created. Additionally, make sure that the associated application (if any) is installed and set up correctly. Restart your computer or device to apply any changes if necessary.

Start Creating Your Own URL Protocols Today!

Now that you have a good understanding of URL protocols and how to create your own, it's time to unleash your creativity! 🚀 Whether you want to create custom links for your website, deep-link into your mobile app, or add a unique touch to your desktop application, the possibilities are endless.

Have fun experimenting with different URL schemes, and don't forget to share your creations with us. We'd love to see what you come up with! If you have any questions or need further assistance, feel free to leave a comment below. Happy URL protocol crafting! ✨

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