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Website Basics – What is a Domain Name?

domain namesDomain names are basically a string of letters used for identifying an IP address. For instance, the domain “microsoft.com” represents dozens of IP addresses. They are also used in website URLs to identify specific Web pages. To clarify, in the URL https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page, the domain name is wikipedia.org.

Spelling Domain Names

A domain name is organized from right to left, where general descriptors are on the right and specific descriptors on the left; similar to family surnames that are on the right, and specific names of the person that are to the left. These descriptors are known as “Domains”.

The top level domains, also known as TLD or parent domain, are on the far right of the domain name. The Mid level domain is in the middle. Lastly, the machine name, which is often “www”, is on the left. These levels of domains are separated using periods (“dots”).

Domain Names Aren’t the Same as URLs

In an effort to be technically correct, a domain name will commonly be a component of a larger Web address known as a URL.

URLs go into more details than just a domain name. They provide a lot more info, including specific address of a page, the folder name, the machine name, and the protocol language being used.

Domain Names aren’t the Same as IP Addresses

Essentially, a domain name is meant to be a memorable, user friendly ‘nickname’ for a website. The actual technical address of the Web host is the IP Address, or Internet Protocol Address.

Domain Names & Domain Name Systems

A DNS, or Domain Name System, is the universally recognized system that assigns addresses to Internet Hosts (aka Internet Servers).  Similar to international telephone numbers, the DNS helps every internet user get an easy-to-spell, memorable address. At the same time, a domain name keeps the technical IP address hidden from most users.

Up Next- How To Register A Domain Name

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