Things You Need to Know: What Is a Domain Name

You heard a lot about domain names. It’s everything you see on the internet begins. So, let’s understand the basics.

Domain names keep the web navigable and organized. Without them, URLs are hard to understand. They’d just be a series of characters, numbers, or IP addresses. Basically, they make everything easy to remember.

However, domain names are more than what we think. They are an important aspect to almost anything you do on the Internet, for instance, setting up websites, creating an online store, and even sending or receiving emails. Hence, let’s further discover what domain names really do.

The Anatomy of a Domain Name

Perhaps you are wondering how domain names are structured. Well, we’ve got answers. A domain name may appear like a single Internet address, but it actually has four important parts.

1. Protocol

This is the first part of every web address – the protocol. Often recognizable as the http:// or the HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP), the purpose of this part is to identify the specific protocol that enables computers to browse the web by collecting data from a remote server.

2. The Type of Web Address

A web address comes in different types. But among all, www is the most popular. Also known as the world wide web, the www determines the type of page that will be displayed in the browser. Usually, you can notice it omitted, for instance, maps.google.com. Though it still resides on the server of the main domain, it is actually separated and is considered a sub-domain.

3. Domain Name

The unique name of every website, which the owner uses for registration, a domain name may contain a combination of numbers and characters. Although rarely used, it may also include hyphens.

4. Extension

The extension tells the visitors what they can expect to see on a website. Normally, for commercial businesses, a “.com” extension is used. Other extensions include .org, .net, .gov, .edu.

How a Domain Name Works

A domain name is there for one reason. It provides computer users a name that is easy to remember. All they need to do is to input the domain name in the URL field located at the top of the web browser. By doing that, they are actually providing directions to a network, helping them land in a successful, correct web page. That’s it.

Domain Names and IP Addresses

Domain names and IP addresses are often confused with each other. Technically, an IP address is a set of numerical instructions used in communicating and relaying details to end devices in a way that only computers understand. A domain name, on the other hand, functions as a link to these IP addresses. Although they do not contain enough information, they still point to the correct place, where an IP address information is found.

To make things easier to understand, think of an IP address as a code that needs to be deciphered and domain name as a nickname for such code. An IP address comes in a string of numbers, 192.168.252.48, for instance. But humans cannot remember and understand the code. So, it has to be given a nickname, which is your domain name. That means a domain name is a part of the URL, which will point you to an IP address.

Domain Names: They Build the Online World

Yes, the Internet has changed the way we see the world. And interestingly, it is slowly defining and shaping our future. Thus, it pays to understand the foundation of the web, starting with a domain name.

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