No matter what you call it, a domain is important for businesses. If your goal is to start up a small-time company or you just want to have some fun with blogging on the side then there are a few things that every aspiring entrepreneur needs.
The first thing you need is a great domain name. The second is a web hosting service provider.
Many novices, on the other hand, mistake asking what is a domain name with what is a webpage. Or worse people may confuse the question of what is a website domain with what is a web hosting provider. To someone just starting, all of these various terminologies may seem to be too complicated and complex.
In this manual, we will respond to all your questions about domains like “what is a domain?”, “how do domains work?”, “What is a domain for a website” and also “what is a parked domain.”
What is a domain
A domain name is a unique identifier for your website that individuals use when typing in their browser URL bar. Once they type your domain name, their browsers then take them to your website, which is hosted on a webserver.
If you had a house, then a domain name would be like giving it an official street and number – something easy-to-identify so people can find where exactly on Earth you exist.
So, that answers the question “what is a domain” and what a domain name is used for. However, there is more to all this.
The internet and the usage of domain names
The worldwide web is a massive grid of computers connected through an intricate web of wires and wireless signals known as the internet. Each computer on this vast system can communicate with others by using their assigned IP address.
An IP address is a string of numbers. This string of numbers looks something like 22.214.171.124.
On the internet, nothing can communicate without an IP address. A computer without an IP address is like calling a person who has a phone but doesn’t have a phone number.
Therefore, an IP address is a set of numbers that identify a device on the net specifically. Devices with IP addresses can communicate freely on the net.
Nowadays, we all have a lot of trouble remembering those long strings of numbers and now letters that make up an IP address. Thankfully there are domain names for us!
When you desire to visit your favorite website but don’t know the IP address assigned to it, then all you ever will need is the domain name.
So, how do domains work?
When you type a domain name into your browser, the request needs to be sent to a mediator. Computers don’t understand domains as we do. Servers and devices on the internet only understand IP addresses.
Therefore, a domain name must be translated from its name form to an IP address. This process is done by an assortment of servers that form the Domain Name System (DNS).
A domain name server will translate a human-readable domain name into its appropriate IP address. Ip addresses that are reachable on the net are generally given out by an ISP (internet service providers).
So, when you enter a domain name to access a website, your request is sent to a domain name server and that server then points the browser to the webserver where the website sits.
A quick word on the webserver: web servers are computers on the net where your favorite website is hosted and served to visitors. Your browser and a web server communicate frequently as you browse a website.
How are domains different from websites?
Computer systems that help you create and maintain your website are called web hosting servers. The files on these servers can include HTML pages, web software, or even images for decoration.
The domain name is what tells people where to find your site. So, the website is where the domain name points to.
This process of creating a functioning online presence requires both components: A good domain name along with reliable web hosting service providers.
Ideally, your web hosting services should allow your website to be accessed from all around the world. It is also important that users can connect through any device regardless of desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
Often you can get a domain name from the same place you host your website. However, you can buy them apart and easily link the two with a few steps.
Types of domain names
There are many domain extensions available to choose from. The most popular one is .com, but other possibilities include .org, .biz, .blog, etc.
The highest and most well-known Domains are Top-level domains. Top-level domains are domain extensions that are what you are most used to. Widespread ones are .com or .org. Then there are lesser-known ones like .club.
It is up to you what type of domain extension you want. Remember that the extension (.com) is different than the actual name (Google, for example). When you put an extension together with a domain name you get something like Google.com.
Country code top-level domains are domain names with a country precise domain extension. These types of domain names come with a country code extension like .de for Germany. Or maybe you have seen amazon use .uk for its United Kingdom visitors.
Generally, website builders use country code top-level domains to target visitors in a country.
A sponsored top-level domain is a domain extension that represents a definite community on the web. Think of how many universities have students with .edu email addresses. Furthermore, the government often uses the extension .gov for its websites.
Who runs the DNS show?
The ICANN operates the DNS. It’s a non-profit society that generates and executes policies to ensure an efficient global web network environment.
The ICANN aims for minimal downtime, less censorship, and a limit to abuse of power on behalf of any single governing body—this includes ICANN themselves!
ICANN permits businesses called “domain name registrars” to sell domain names. A registrar modifies the domain names registry for you. Each time they modify the registry a new person is assigned a domain name.
A registrar can give out new or old domain names at a price. A domain name is assigned to a person and then you connect a domain name to a website. That is how you can buy a domain name from a different source than where you host your website.
ICANN requires people to provide an email, physical address, and phone number. That information is then made public by their domain registration records.
But if you want complete anonymity then ICANN offers a separate service called “Domain Privacy” which allows users to show only proxy information instead of their actual personal info.
Domain Privacy allows you to run a popular website or own a domain name without having all your personal information accessible to everyone around the world.
What is a parked domain?
A domain that is registered but not connected to an online service like a website or email hosting means it is a parked domain.
A parked domain can be activated when you need it most instead of right when you register for it. Therefore, you can pay for the domain now and then pay for hosting later.