What is a Website Domain Name?

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A domain name is a unique identifier for a website. Domain names are what users type into their browsers to visit your website. You can decide your domain name when you set up your website; it can be a combination of letters, numbers, and dashes.

Without domain names, you would have to locate websites with their IP addresses, which are strings of numbers, and this would be difficult to remember. Therefore, domain names were created as the simpler version of IP to make it easier to access websites. This article will explore different types of domain names and how to register them.

How Do Domain Names Work?

Your computer contacts a Domain Name System (DNS) server, and this server is responsible for translating the domain name into the website’s corresponding IP address. The Domain Name System (DNS) server sends a request to a database of registered domain names and their corresponding IP addresses. This request is then forwarded to the IP address, which is where the website is hosted.

Structure of a Domain Name

Domain names have multiple parts, separated by dots; each part has a specific function. At the right, after the dot, the top-level domain (TLD), which is the .com, .net, .edu, etc., followed by the second-level domain (SLD), which is the name of the website. So, for example,  in the domain name www.example.com, “example” is the SLD, and “.com” is the TLD. 

The domain name can also include subdomains, which come before SLD. Subdomains are created to organize different sections of a website. For example, you might have a subdomain for your blog (blog.example.com) or your online store (shop.example.com).

Types of Domain Names

Domain names can be registered at various levels, with .com being the most popular, but all have the same basic function: to identify a website. Let’s  explore the different types of domain names:

Top Level Domain (TLD)

It is the highest level in the domain name hierarchy. TLDs give information about the type of website and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN))  is responsible for the global coordination of TLDs and assigns new ones. There are a variety of TLDs available, but the most common ones are .com, .org, .edu, .net., and .gov.

Country Code  TLDs (ccTLDs)

These TLDs are two letters long and represent a specific country or territory. Examples of ccTLDs are .uk for the United Kingdom, .fr for France, .us for the United States, .de for Germany, .jp for Japan, and .cn for China.

Generic TLDs (gTLDs)

Generic TLDs are three letters long and are not specific to any country or territory. In 2011, the ICANN  (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) introduced many new generic by allowing organizations to register their gTLDs. Now we have .google, .oracle, etc. There are also gTLDs for specific locations, like .nyc for New York City.

Sponsored  TLDs (sTLDs)

Sponsored TLDs are managed by organizations with a specific mission or purpose. They are not open to the general public and usually have restrictions on who can register a domain name with them. For example, .edu is reserved for educational institutions, .gov is reserved for government agencies, and .aero is reserved for the air travel industry.

Second Level Domain (SLD)

This SLD is below the TLD and appears to the left of the TLD. It is usually the name of the website or organization. The SLD is unique to each website and must be registered with a domain name provider. For example, you might register the SLD “example” with the TLD “www.example.com”.

Subdomain

A subdomain is a lower level in hierarchy to the SLD and appears to the left of the SLD. It is usually used to organize different sections of a website. For example, suppose your website has a blog. In that case, the subdomain will be “www.blog.websitename.com” The subdomain also creates websites in different languages by using an additional domain name extension, like .fr for french or .es for Spanish. So, for example, “fr.wikipedia.org” is the french version of Wikipedia, and “es.wikipedia.org” is the Spanish version.

How to Buy a Domain Name

The first step is to decide on your domain name and check its availability. You can use a domain name generator to help you come up with ideas or simply brainstorm names until you find one available. Make sure the name you pick is memorable and fits your brand. Once you’ve chosen a name, you’ll need to register it with a domain name registrar.

The next step is to choose the type of domain name you want and reserve it with the provider. Again, there are many different providers to choose from, so do your research and find one that fits your needs. Also, use the database of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to check that the registrar you’re considering is legitimate.

Domain name providers are companies that manage and sell domain names. They provide registration services and handle the day-to-day tasks of keeping your domain name up and running. Some popular domain name providers include GoDaddy, Namecheap, and 1&1. Go to the registrar’s website and fill out all required information; ensure that your domain name is not misspelled. 

When you register a domain name, you must provide the following information:

  • The domain name itself
  • Your contact information (name,  address, email, billing information, phone number, etc.)

Once you have all the information, you’re ready to register your domain name.

Conclusion

Domain names are an important part of any website. They help people remember and find your site, and they can also help you rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). There are many different domain names to choose from, so it’s important to pick the right one for your business or website. You’ll also need to register your domain name with a registrar. Follow the steps in this article to buy and register your domain name.