Every website has an address. And, on the internet, that address is called an IP address.
IP address is the actual address of a website which consists of numbers separated by dots(.) e.g. 192.168.23.16.
There are billions of websites and It’s difficult to remember the IP address of every website you visit; therefore domain names come in handy.
What is a domain name?
Domain name, also known as website name, is a unique address searched in a browser to access a website.
Simply put, a domain name is an easy-to-remember address of a website.
Website’s IP address gets mapped with a domain name (e.g. domainexample.com = 192.168.23.16), after that anyone can easily remember the address and access the website.
Relation between domain name and website IP address is similar to creating contact details on your phone.
Take, for instance, you create a contact number mentioning the person’s name because it’s easier to remember the person’s name than the phone number. Here, you can assume a person’s name as a domain name and phone number as the website’s IP address.
Note: Domain names are not only used in websites but also in email addresses.
How are domain names managed and organized?
350.5 million domains were registered by the first quarter of 2022, according to verisign.com. To know how and who manages these domains, there are basically three things to be understood.
- Domain Registry: They are an organization who create and manage the domain names and allow domain registrars to sell domain names to domain registrants.
- Domain Registrars: They are an authorized business company that sells domain to domain registrant.
- Domain Registrant: They are an individual person(like us) or a business who buys(reserves) domain names from domain registrars.
Buying a domain name means reserving it for a certain period of time.
You can reserve a domain for a minimum of 1 year and maximum for 10 years. Before the reservation period gets over it should be renewed, else the domain name gets released from your account and anyone can buy it.
Different parts of domain name
Domain names consist of a combination of two or more words separated by dots(.). They are splitted into two or three parts such as top-level domain(TLD), second-level domain(2LD), and third-level(3LD).
Top-level domain(TLD) TLD is also called a domain name extension. It’s the end part that comes after the last dot in a domain name. Example: “.com”, “.org”, “.net”, “.edu”, etc.
Second-level domain(2LD) 2LD is part of a domain name that comes right before TLD. Usually, it’s a business name or a person’s name who buys a domain name. Example: “google”, “facebook”, “amazon”, etc.
Third-level domain(3LD) 3LD is also known as a sub-domain name. It’s a part of a domain name that comes before 2LD. It sometimes mentions the specific part of a website or attribute of a business. Example: “blog”, “support”, “shop” etc.
Let’s understand these levels of domain names with the help of an example.
If you read the domain “google.com” from left to right, “.com” is the TLD and “google” is the 2LD.
Similarly for “support.google.com”, “.com” will be TLD, “google” will be 2LD and “support” will be the 3LD.
Different types of TLDs (Domain Extensions)
- Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs): It’s a most used and common domain extension among all the TLDs. Some examples of gTLDs are:
- .com - for commercial use
- .org - for organizational use
- .net - for networks
- .info - for information pages
- Sponsored Top-Level Domains (sTLDs): This type of domain extensions are sponsored or owned by a private business, organization or government. There are certain standards that should be covered by the organization before buying it. Some examples of the sTLDs are:
- .gov - for government
- .edu - for education
- .mil - for military
- Country Code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs): These domain extensions are reserved for countries, states and territories. Some examples of ccTLDs are:
- .us - USA
- .uk - United Kingdom
- .ca - Canada
- .np - Nepal
- .in - India
How does domain name work?
When we map a domain name to a website’s IP address, the mapping data(e.g. domainexample.com = 192.168.23.16) gets stored in the server called Domain Name System(DNS).
DNS servers store the IP address of all the websites, therefore they are also called a phonebook of the internet.
Whenever you search domain name suppose “google.com” in a web browser,
- The browser first goes to the DNS server and asks the IP address of the “google.com”.
- The DNS server looks for the registered IP address of “google.com” in its database and gives it to the browser.
- Then the browser goes to the website of that IP address, fetches the content and finally displays it to you.
How to buy a Domain Name?
Buying a domain name is really simple, the only thing you should know is that you cannot buy a domain which is already bought by others.
Hence, you should first check for the availability of the domain name before trying to buy it.
After verifying the domain availability, find a reliable domain registrars. If you are confused at this point, below are some of the best places to buy domain names.
Choose any of them and visit their website. Search for the domain you want, select it and proceed to the payment process. Finally, purchase the domain and complete its registration.