Understanding Domains is the First Step Toward Registering Your Own Domain Name

What You Need to Know About How Does Domain Names work

Most of us already have an idea about what a domain name is - it is part of the website address. But which part exactly? And more importantly, how does it magically translate to the right IP address and help the browser load the website? We answer all those questions here in this article on how domain names work.

What Is A Domain Name?

A domain name, in the simplest terms, is usually the identity of a website on the World WideWeb. It is also found as part of professional email addresses after the "@" symbol. This name usually consists of letters only but can also contain digits and hyphens, like “1and1.com” or “Euro-space.net”.

The purpose of a domain name is to make the IP addresses of a particular online entity (like websites) more readable and easily memorable for humans. So you can identify them much more effortlessly among the billion entities residing on the internet.

It also helps to establish the professional identity of a company during email communications. The system that makes all this possible is called the Domain Name System (DNS).

What You Need to Know About How Does Domain Names work

An IP address consists of a series or sequence of digits separated by dots. In the vast space of the Internet, it is impossible for someone to remember these unique sequences of numbers to access their favorite web pages.

That is why we use domain names instead which are generally compact and easy to pronounce.

As a result, it is easier for us to commit them to memory or search for them on global search engines.

What Is The Difference Between A Domain Name And A Website?

Although it is a common practice to use the terms “domain names” and “websites” interchangeably, they are in fact not the same thing.

A domain name works as the identity of a website. It represents the unique location of a website and helps you identify it easily in the vast internet universe. So, a website is like a house and its domain name is like its official address.

After purchasing and registering a domain name, you will own only the address, not the house itself. You'll still need a web hosting service. Many domain hosting services are both domain name registrars (where you can register domain names) and web hosting services, so you can get both services at the same provider.

What Is The Difference Between A Domain Name And A URL?

This is another common confusion among the masses. The domain name, being the identity of that website, is also a part of its URL. A URL or Uniform Resource Locator may contain other portions along with the domain name since it refers to a specific web page every time.

The domain name refers to the whole website, so it doesn’t need any other component. By appending certain slugs and subdirectories to the common base formed of a domain name, we can reach a particular webpage.

This entire address together represents the URL to that webpage.

Where Do Domain Names Come From?

Domain names basically come from ICANN or the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. It is an organization supervising the process of allocating domain names to IP addresses. More specifically, it connects each domain name to its corresponding IP address.

This makes sure all unique domain names around the world are coordinated properly so that the internet itself can function seamlessly. It has been doing so since its inception in 1998.

Ultimately, their contribution maintains a stable environment for the DNS (more on that in the next point) and allows the overall web infrastructure to run smoothly.

What Is DNS?

DNS is short for Domain Name System. This is the magician that turns the complex IP addresses into easy domain names.

As Cloudflare puts it, DNS is the internet’s phonebook which keeps a record of which domain name refers to which IP address.

This is how your internet browser receives information every time you type the website URL in the address bar.

To learn about DNS management applicable to web hosting, see this article on DNS for Web Hosting and this article on DNS tools.

How Does DNS Work?

DNS is short for Domain Name System. This is the magician that turns the complex IP addresses into easy domain names. As Cloudflare puts it, DNS is the internet’s phonebook, which keeps a record of which domain name refers to which IP address.

This is how your internet browser receives information every time you type the website URL in the address bar. That is why it is an indispensable part of web hosting.

How To Get Your Domain Name?

To get the domain name of your choice, you may need to rely on a domain name registrar. This registrar will, in turn, communicate with ICANN who’s the one responsible for assigning a domain name to your IP address.

This process will include paying a small registration fee. The registered name will be in your reign for a year. After that time period ends, you need to renew your domain name.

The most fascinating part about how a domain name works is that this whole process of complicated steps is executed within the blink of an eye. In a nanosecond, the browser, the operating system, and the nameservers communicate with each other to bring you the right website or to route your email to the right recipient.

If you're looking for a new domain name, you can use HostAdvice's Whois Lookup tool to see if the domain name you want is available or is already taken.

Next time you visit your favorite website, don’t forget to marvel at the incredible technology we are fortunate enough to take advantage of every day.

Here are the Best Domain Web Hosting Services

Patricia Eldridge Patricia is a tech and business blogger. She is a single mother writing full time to support her kids. She is an animal rights activists who also believe that there is a special place in hell for people who put pineapple on pizza. She is a professional writer with over six years experience.

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"Understanding Domains is the First Step Toward Registering Your Own Domain Name"

Understanding Domains is the First Step Toward Registering Your Own Domain Name