Domain Names, What Is a Domain Name?
What is a domain name? Well a domain names is simply a human friendly version of a website address, an IP address. Without a domain name, you would be stuck typing in a bunch of IP address numbers such as, 184.108.40.206. In case your wondering, this is simply one of Google’s IP addresses. Not great to remember or for marketing purposes is it!
- A domain name represents a physical point on the Internet, an IP address.
Your Domain Name Important
Your domain name is important, it is the first contact point people see of your website. If they like what they see there is a greater incentive to click through to your URL. When your site appears in the search engine listings, on another sites or on your business card, your domain name will be an indicator of what people can expect from your web site.
Don’t Confuse Domain Name and Web Hosting
It’s very common for newbies (we all started out as newbies) to confuse, domain name and web hosting, but these are two very different things.
- A domain name is an identification label that defines a realm of administrative control on the Internet, based on the Domain Name System (DNS).
- A web hosting service is a type of Internet hosting service that allows individuals and organizations to make their website accessible via the World Wide Web. Web hosts are companies that provide space on a server owned or leased for use by clients, as well as providing Internet connectivity, typically in a data centre.
More simply, a domain name is the name that identifies an Web site, i.e. kingsolutions.com’ is the domain name for King Solutions web site which is hosted on a JustHost server.
- We use Domain names to identify websites.
- We use a web hosting service to host the website.
Choosing a Domain Name
Domain name registrants are frequently referred to as domain owners, although domain name registration does not actually confer any legal ownership of the domain name, only an exclusive right of usage for the period contracted.
When choosing your Domain name you should select a term people will use to search for your site. Most obviously, this could be your brand or personal name. Think about how you search for items on the internet and then think about how your visitors would find you using one of the search engines.
For example. What would you expect a domain name such as, “wild-canaries.com” to be about? Birds? Soccer? The jungle? If you web site was about dogs and in particular, Dalmatians then a domain name such as, “dalmation-world.com” would be very appropriate.
Try to be specific about your website name if possible. If you have a particular niche you must be specific with your domain name to get the targeted traffic you want.
How Domain Names are Spelled
Domain names are organized right to left, with general descriptors to the right, and specific descriptors to the left. It is like family surnames to the right, specific person names to the left. These descriptors are called “domains”.
Domains consist of two parts. For example, in ‘kingsolutions.com’, the ‘.com’ represents what is known as the top level domain (TLD) and ‘kingsolutions’ represents the second level domain and is the actual domain name. The same name (max 63 characters), can be used with different TLDs, such as ‘.co.uk’ (country specific), ‘.org’, etc (see below). When a domain name is used in a web address, ‘www’ is usually put in front of it to indicate that typing that name into your web browser will take you to a website.
- Domain name holders can set up a website with that address and also use it for email addresses. When you are a domain name holder you get to decide what is in front of the @-sign in the email address.
A Domain Name is Not the Same As URL
To be technically correct, a domain name is commonly part of a larger Internet address called a “URL”. A URL goes into much more detail than domain name, providing much more information, including the specific page address, folder name, machine name, and protocol language.
The Domain Name System
The Domain Name System (DNS), is the recognized system for assigning addresses to Internet web servers (aka “Internet hosts”). Somewhat like international phone numbers, the domain name system helps to give every Internet server a memorable and easy-to-spell address whilst keeping the technical IP address invisible.
- The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) governs coordination of the links between IP addresses and domain names across the Internet. With this standardized coordination, you can find websites on the Internet by entering domain names instead of IP addresses into your Web browser.
Domain names are used to identify one or more IP addresses. For example, the domain name wikipedia.org represents dozens of IP addresses. Domain names are used in URLs to identify particular web pages. For example, in the URL http://codex.WordPress.org/WordPress_Coding_Standards, the domain name is WordPress.org.
Every domain name has a suffix that indicates which top level domain (TLD) it belongs to. For example:
- gov – Government agencies
- edu – Educational institutions
- org – Organizations (non-profit)
- mil – Military
- com – commercial business
- net – Network organizations
- ca – Canada
- co.uk – United Kingdom
Because the internet is based on IP addresses, not domain names, every web server requires a Domain Name System (DNS) server to translate domain names into IP addresses.
Domain Names, What Is a ‘Domain Name Conclusion
You can research your domain name at any good web hosting provider such as GoDaddy or at any of the registrars listed in my article, Where to Register Domain Names. Most of these registrars provide domain name registration, domain name hosting, free domain name search facilities and some even give you a FREE domain name if you accept their domain name hosting package.
Well, I hope you found something useful and enjoyed this article, ‘what is a domain name’. Don’t forget to let me have your thoughts in the comment box below. See you soon.