If you are just starting out as a Salesforce Admin or maybe even a user, its very handy to know how a Salesforce URL is built up. When working with standard Salesforce records the format of the URL is usually the same unless you have custom pieces of visualforce. The format you are used to will look something like the below.
Even though this might look like jumbled up nonsense, the URL does have a very precise structure that all Salesforce Admins need to know.
Server Instance – https://na15.salesforce.com
The first part of the URL refers to the server instance your Org is on. The server instance is automatically assigned when you sign up to Salesforce. The “na” part of the link refers to the country of which the server instance is in. NA stands for North America, Salesforce also has instances in APAC (ap) and EMEA (eu). If you are running a sandbox then the abbreviation is cs. The “15” in the link simply refers to the server instance in that country you are assigned to. This information is especially helpful to know if you are having Salesforce issues, as you can easily check Salesforce’s Trust page. This gives you up to date information about every server instance and if there are any known problems.
Object Key Prefixes – 003
The three characters (Sometimes numbers and letters) at the start of the ID appended to the first part of the link references the object you are currently working on. The link above which is from one of my Dev instances, refers to the contact object. This is especially helpful to know if you are URL hacking. Here are a few examples of some other Salesforce Object Key Prefixes. You can view a more complete list of Object Key Prefixes here.
Account – 001
Contact – 003
Opportunity – 006
Report – 00O
Lead – 00Q
Record ID – i000000im5km
The last part of the Salesforce URL is the actual record ID. To tell a lie, the full ID does actually include the Object Key Prefix above so its pretty useless on its own! But its still useful to know how the Record ID is built up – Object Key Prefix + ID = Record ID.