What is a Domain Name?
Domain Name, URL, Web Address, That Thingy You Type In to Go to a Website.
A domain name is simply a unique address to a website. Example: omnistudios.com. Without a domain name, a search would have to use a number (Internet Protocol (IP) address). Something like: 126.96.36.199. But that would be very difficult to remember. Also, not very sexy.
A domain name (with words, letters or a combination of letters and numbers) is typically easier to remember.
If that is all you wanted to know, then you might be done reading. However, if you want to know more, please continue to read on.
Having a domain is a good start.
But that is not where it ends. Unless you are just squatting on a domain (bad dog).
If you are looking to have a website developed then you will also need:
- A web hosting company
- A web developer (if you are not trying it yourself)
Now, depending on where you buy your domain, that company might also be able to host your website. What is Web Hosting?
Anatomy of a Domain Name
In order to have a website live on the world wide web, you need a domain name. Whether it is your very own or part of someone else’s.
There are many, many places to buy a domain name online.
How do domain names work?
A domain name is like your work or house address. If you expect people to find you (clients, Canada Post, FedEx, UPS and other deliveries) an address is required.
There are computers, phones
In a standard set up, there are many parties involved.
You should not host your own website
But how exactly do domain names work and what are they anyway? Find out everything you wanted to know about domain names in our Ultimate Guide to Domains and DNS!
A domain name ( or domain) is the custom address to your website.
You can have your very own (www.omnistudios.com)
Or it might be a part of your web hosting company (which is a HUGE mistake by the way. More on that later.).
a structured label which is connected to a specific IP (Internet Protocol) address of a server where the web page is being hosted. Here’s an example: https://domain.me is a domain name of our own site. You’ll notice we said that domains are structured labels. Let’s have a look at the structure of the domain.
Every domain consists of at least two parts: the actual domain name and the TLD or Top Level Domain. In our domain.me example, “.ME” is the TLD of Montenegro and the “domain” part is a domain name or domain label we chose for our site. You’ve surely heard of some other top-level domains like .COM, .NET, .ORG, .INFO, .US etc.
Domains are under the jurisdiction of ICANN. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. ICANN handles creating new and maintaining current top-level domains.
You can choose your domain name and register it with a domain name registry. So, if you want to register this-is.me, go right ahead!
Now you know that a domain name consists of an actual name and the TLD suffix.
Once you own a domain name, you can add subdomains to the original domain. There are many ways to take advantage of a subdomain. One way is to create seperate websites for different offices in different cities. If you have franchised your business or are planning to franchise. You may want to set up subdomains like this:
The city is the subdomain and omnistudios.com is the top level domain (TLD).
By now, you have learned what domains are and that they consist of a domain name and TLDs like .ME or .COM. You also know that websites are hosted on servers all over the world. The problem is, the servers aren’t really recognized by domain names. They’re actually recognized by IP addresses. A typical IP address looks something like 125.45.678.90.
DNS stands for Domain Name System. It is a set of specialized servers that have only one purpose. An IP address is like a house address. If you were mailing a letter to John Smith. Labelling an envelope “To John Smith” is not enough for Canada Post to deliver the envelope. Now if you add John Smith’s address to it, it will the mail carrier deliver it to the correct John Smith.
You can buy a domain name from any number of registry websites.
Most of the registry’s you buy a domain name will also host your website.
Like your cell phone carrier …
Buy from a reputable registry.
They serve as a database, or to be more precise – they serve as a phone book for connecting IP addresses with corresponding domain names. These servers are called name servers.
The sole purpose of the DNS system is to make your browsing more comfortable. You don’t want to remember all those number-dot-numbers-dot-more-numbers, right? It’s a lot easier to remember domain.me or some other domain.
When you enter that pretty domain name, the browser will search through the DNS system and find the exact IP address of the corresponding website.
This is where domain name hierarchy shines. If you want to open domain.me, the browser will first go to the root DNS records. try to find all the name servers within the .me top-level domain. It will then go to the first server on the list and try to find the actual IP address which is connected to domain.me. Once found, the browser knows the IP address of the “domain.me” domain and opens up the site.