A domain name is an identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority or control within the Internet. Domain names are used in various networking contexts and for application-specific naming and addressing purposes.
In general, a domain name identifies a network domain, or it represents an Internet Protocol (IP) resource, such as a personal computer used to access the Internet, a server computer hosting a website, or the web site itself or any other service communicated via the Internet.
Most of the people don’t about the term DOMAIN. We are often asked by beginners- what is the domain name? However, many beginners confuse domain name with a website or website hosting service. If you are just starting out, then all these different terms may sound too technical.
What is a domain name? This seems to be such a basic thing, but it’s not always THAT easy especially if you’re a beginner.
Creating a website? You need to get many things in place before it’s up and running. One of the prerequisites is a domain name. So…what is a domain name?
Domain name is the address of your website that people type in the browser URL bar to visit your website.
A domain name is essentially your website’s equivalent of a physical address. In the same way that a GPS needs a street address or a zipcode to provide directions, a web browser needs a domain name to direct you to a website.
In simple terms, if your website is a house, then your domain name will be its address.
The Internet is a giant network of computers connected to each other through a global network of cables. Each computer on this network can communicate with other computers.
To identify them, each computer is assigned an IP address. It is a series of numbers that identify a particular computer on the internet. A typical IP address looks like this:
Now an IP address like this is quite difficult to remember. Imagine if you had to use such numbers to visit your favorite websites.
Domain names were invented to solve this problem.
Domain names were invented to solve this problem.
Now if you want to visit a website, then you don’t need to enter a long string of numbers. Instead, you can visit it by typing an easy to remember domain name in your browser’s address bar.
Domain names serve to identify Internet resources, such as computers, networks, and services, with a text-based label that is easier to memorize than the numerical addresses used in the Internet protocols. A domain name may represent entire collections of such resources or individual instances. Individual Internet host computers use domain names as host identifiers, also called hostnames. The term hostname is also used for the leaf labels in the domain name system, usually without further subordinate domain name space. Hostnames appear as a component in Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) for Internet resources such as websites (e.g., en.wikipedia.org).
Domain names are also used as simple identification labels to indicate ownership or control of a resource. Such examples are the realm identifiers used in the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), the Domain Keys used to verify DNS domains in e-mail systems, and in many other Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs).
An important function of domain names is to provide easily recognizable and memorable names to numerically addressed Internet resources. This abstraction allows any resource to be moved to a different physical location in the address topology of the network, globally or locally in an intranet. Such a move usually requires changing the IP address of a resource and the corresponding translation of this IP address to and from its domain name.
Domain names are used to establish a unique identity. Organizations can choose a domain name that corresponds to their name, helping Internet users to reach them easily.
A generic domain is a name that defines a general category, rather than a specific or personal instance, for example, the name of an industry, rather than a company name. Some examples of generic names are books.com, music.com, and travel.info. Companies have created brands based on generic names, and such generic domain names may be valuable.
Domain names are often simply referred to as domains and domain name registrants are frequently referred to as domain owners, although domain name registration with a registrar does not confer any legal ownership of the domain name, only an exclusive right of use for a particular duration of time. The use of domain names in commerce may subject them to trademark law.
A domain name takes the form of two main elements. For example, the domain name Facebook.com consists of the website’s name (Facebook) and the domain name extension (.com). When a company (or a person) purchases a domain name, they’re able to specify which server the domain name points to.
A domain name consists of one or more parts, technically called labels, that are conventionally concatenated, and delimited by dots, such as example.com.
The right-most label conveys the top-level domain; for example, the domain name www.example.com belongs to the top-level domain com.
- The hierarchy of domains descends from the right to the left label in the name; each label to the left specifies a subdivision, or subdomain of the domain to the right. For example: the label example specifies a node example.com as a subdomain of the com domain, and www is a label to create www.example.com, a subdomain of example.com. Each label may contain from 1 to 63 octets. The empty label is reserved for the root node and when fully qualified is expressed as the empty label terminated by a dot. The full domain name may not exceed a total length of 253 ASCII characters in its textual representation. Thus, when using a single character per label, the limit is 127 levels: 127 characters plus 126 dots have a total length of 253. In practice, some domain registries may have shorter limits.
- A hostname is a domain name that has at least one associated IP address. For example, the domain names www.example.com and example.com are also hostnames, whereas the com domain is not. However, other top-level domains, particularly country code top-level domains, may indeed have an IP address, and if so, they are also hostnames.
- Hostnames impose restrictions on the characters allowed in the corresponding domain name. A valid hostname is also a valid domain name, but a valid domain name may not necessarily be valid as a hostname.
Think of a domain name as your phone number and a website on your phone. While they are connected, they are separate items.
You can change your phone (website) at any time, and still, keep your existing phone number (domain name), and just connect it to your new phone (new website).
Or, you can move your phone number (domain name) to a different phone service provider (domain name registrar), and still keep it connected to your existing phone (your website).
Confused yet? Let’s do a simple illustration:
- I can purchase a new domain name (let’s say www.vaishnogsoftwares.com) and connect it to this website you are on right now. All the content on this site will not change at all.
- I can build a brand new website elsewhere, and disconnect www.vaishnogsoftwares.com from this website, and reconnect it to the new website I’ve built elsewhere. So when you type in the web address, you will be taken to the new website.
The key is that your domain name is not permanently stuck with any specific website.
Domain names work because they provide computer users with a short name that is easy to remember. Users enter web addresses into the URL field at the top of their browser’s page from left to right. The domain name itself is read from right to left according to the naming hierarchy discussed below. This link provides directions to the network, which ultimately results in a successful page load at the client end of the transaction.
The common fictitious domain name, www.example.com, is comprised of three essential parts:
- .com – This is the top-level domain.
- .example. – This is a sub-domain.
- www. – This is a sub-domain prefix for the World Wide Web. The original use of this prefix was partly accidental, and pronunciation difficulties raised interest in creating viable alternatives.
Many servers use a three-letter naming convention for top-level domains, and they are separated from sub-domains by a dot. The significance of the top-level domain is the most important for new users to grasp. It identifies the highest part of the naming system used on the Internet. This naming system was originally created to identify countries and organizations as well as categories.
The most common categories are easily recognized by new computer users, and they include:
A significant expansion of the top-level domains occurred, and they now include:
- And many more
Country codes are also easily recognizable to new users because the abbreviations are the same ones used for other purposes. The organization of the domain name hierarchy and the ability to reserve them for only one purpose has already undergone several modifications. Discussions and debates concerning the availability and affordability of domain names can be expected to continue.
Sub-domains are organized to the left of the top-level domain, and this is the part of the domain system that is most recognizable to humans. It is common to see several levels of sub-domains, and some countries developed specific conventions of organization to communicate information within their internal naming systems.
- Create a lasting first impression: A domain URL is the very first thing a prospective customer will see and is their initial interaction with your brand. A unique or memorable domain name will speak to what they want and stick in their head. An unfitting domain, on the other hand, can turn off prospective customers.
- Define your brand: A domain name can be used to instantly speak to your brand, letting the customers know who you are and what you are selling. A relevant domain name can help key your customers in on your product, or a unique domain name can create a link that associates your name with your product.
- Optimize SEO: Search engine optimization utilizes keywords in order to help your SEO rankings. Exact match domains are not necessary, but it is helpful to use a domain that is close.
- Choose a name that’s easy to type and Pronounce:If people struggle to spell it or pronounce it correctly, it will affect the memorability of the name and hurt your brand.
- Pick a name that can be turned into a brand: You don’t want exact and partial keyword match domain names because they’re too generic and very difficult to brand. You should also steer clear from numbers and hypens in your domain name-they’re too difficult to remember and pronounce.
- Keep it short and simple:Long, complex domain names run a huge risk of being mistyped and misspelled. That’s just an unnecessary headache.
- Avoid names that can be confused with existing brands: If you think you can piggyback on some other brand’s success, you’re hugely mistaken. Brand confusion will be the least of your concerns when you get used!
- Use an appropriate extension: with the newTLDs rocking the internet, you’d think everyone’s going for something as eye-catching as “.boutique”. Yet the prevailing advice among the marketers is to stick to the old good “.com”. merely because it’s the most recognized suffix outside the tech world. If you’re targeting a local market, then ccTLDs is probably a better choice for your business.
- Choose a name that indicates what your business does: I recommend you that consumers what they can expect to find when they land on your site is a great advantage to any business.
Domain names work by acting as a shortcut to the server that hosts your website.
Without a domain name, anyone who wanted to visit your website would have to enter the full IP address. But the problem is that an IP address is difficult for people to memorize or to include on advertising materials.
Just like every street needing a name and each house on it needing a number to receive its post, all devices connected to the internet needed to have a specific descriptor that allowed the traffic to be sent to the correct device.
In order to form a rudimentary virtual address book, computer scientists created the Internet Protocol Address System. It assigned a unique 32-bit or 128-bit string of digits, called the IP address (i.e. Internet Protocol address) to each computer or website so that they could all be distinguished.
Of course, trying to memorize the IP address of every site you often visit is not simply a burden but completely impossible for adept internet users. That is why computer scientists also devised a domain name system that assigned a unique name to every IP address, making it easy for any visitor to connect to a site.
When people think of a website, the standard ‘.com’ pops into their mind. Although it is, in fact, the most common extension, there are different types of extensions available for use.
There are, actually five extensions that you can use with your desired domain name, however, some of them are only available if you are running a specific kind of website.
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