What is a Domain Name
Definition and explanation of domain name, website, and website hosting.
A domain name is an address typed in the browser URL bar to reach a specific website. In simple terms, a website is a house, and the domain name is the address of this house in the online world.
A detailed explanation is that the internet is a network of computers connected globally through ethernet and fiber cables and wireless devices. To reach another computer on the internet, you have to type an address into your browser — a domain name or a number. That address must be unique, so computers and mobile devices know where to find each other on the internet. ICANN coordinates these unique identifiers globally, so we all are connected on one global internet.
A unique identifier is like 188.8.131.52, which seems to be challenging to remember. To solve this issue, ICANN developed domain names and delegates the specific top-level domains to registry operators who maintain the domain name registries, so you do not have to enter the difficult to remember IP addresses and can reach a website through an easy to remember domain name, like seimaxim.com.
Most Common Domain Names
The gold standard in domains names
Renewals and transfers at $9
Great for networking providers
Renewals and transfers at $13
Educational and open source
Renewals and transfers at $12
Ideal for small and large businesses
Renewals and transfers at $7
For informational sites
Renewals and transfers at $4.50
Used by sites ranking products
Renewals and transfers at $10.80
How Domain Name Works
After you type a domain name into your browser URL bar and press enter, it first sends a query request to a server already specified in the network configuration of your personal PC. These are called DNS servers, and their names are mostly like ns1.seimaxim.com. The DNS server then forwards this request to a server where your website is hosted. This server is called a web server which has special software installed such as Apache, Nginx, or others. The web server now extracts the web page data from the website hosting server and returns them to your browser.
How is Domain Name Different from your Website and Web Hosting?
A website is made of HTML pages, scripts, images, and relevant files. A website is what is shown in your browser window when you enter a URL of the website in the URL bar and press enter. On the other hand, web hosting is an account with a control panel that manages all features of hosting a website. You can consider domain as the address of your website and website hosting as the virtual space in your website files is stored and served to visitors of your website.
To create a website, you need both domain and web hosting. However, they are two separate services and can be bought from different web hosting companies. To work this out, you just need to edit domain DNS settings and set the custom name servers given by your website hosting provider. DNS server directs visitors’ browser requests to your domain name hosting your website content. It is better to buy a domain name and hosting from the same provider, which allows you to easily manage their settings.
Types of Domain Names
Domain names are available in many different types of extensions with.COM, the King of domains. There are many other popular extensions like .NET, .ORG, .INFO, .IO and more. We recommend you choose wisely according to the nature of content hosted on your website. Let take a look at the types of domain names available from domain registrars.
- Top-Level Domain – TLD
Top-level domain or TLD is generic domain name extensions that are listed at the top level in the domain naming system. There are hundreds of TLDs available, but the most common are .COM, .NET, and .ORG. Other TLDs are lesser-known, and we recommend using them. For example, .CLUB, .BIZ, .INFO, .AGENCY, and many more.
- Country Code Top Level Domain – ccTLD
Country-code top-level domain or ccTLD are country-specific domain names that end with country code extension like .NL for the Netherlands, .US for the United States, .PL for Poland. They are used by websites that want to target potential visitors in a specific country.
- Sponsored Top-Level Domain – sTLD
Sponsored top-level domain or sTLD is a subcategory of TLDs that has a sponsor representing a specific community served by the domain extension. For example, .GOV for governmental organizations, .EDU for the educational community, .MIL for the United States military institution, and more.
Who is Responsible for Domain Name System?
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, referred commonly as ICANN, manages the domain names system. It is a non-profit organization that develops and implements policies for domain names. ICANN gives permission to a third party called Domain Name Registrars for selling domain names. These domain name registrars sell you the domain names and are allowed to update the domain names registry on your request.
Domain name registrars can register your domain names, manage their renewals, and also transfer them to other registrars. Renewing a domain name before it expires is your responsibility. If the domain is not renewed before its intended expiry, your domain will enter a redemption period in which you will have to pay upward of a $250 fee to reactivate your domain.
How to Choose a Perfect Domain Name for Your Website?
- Follow the following points to choose a domain name for your website.
- No need to prefer a .COM domain name, although it is the most popular.
- Make sure it is shorter and easier to remember
- Your domain should be easy to pronounce and spell
- Avoid the use of numbers or hyphens
- Use a domain name advisor tool to find a good domain name for your business.
How to Buy a Domain Name?
There are many domain registrars from whom you can buy a domain. Some of them offer more than 700 different TLDs relevant to different sectors of businesses, education, sports, clubs, etc. A .COM domain name typically costs $9.
In addition to a domain name, you will also need to buy a website hosting service from a reputable provider. Some hosting companies give WordPress hosting and a free domain which could be an ideal offer for you as a beginner. Check out our WordPress hosting plans for more details.
We hope this knowledgebase article helped you learn what a domain name is and how do domains work. If you like this article, then subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.