Everyone who knows something about website development has heard the word domain. However, the question is “What is a domain name?”
The domain name is a name of a website that represents a unique IP address for that website.
However, most beginners get confused between a website domain name and a website hosting service. If you have the same confusion then stay with us.
In this article, we will answer all the important questions to resolve your confusion. You will learn what a domain name is, how does it work, where a domain name and website hosting differs, and many more.
The goal of this tutorial is to give you a clear understanding and help you to choose a perfect domain name for your website.
Real also: How to Redirect HTTP to HTTPS Complete Guide
What is a Domain Name?
The domain name is an address that we type in the browser search bar to visit a website. It is a unique name for a website.
For example, if you want to visit Facebook then you will type facebook.com inside your web browser. This will take you to the Facebook website.
Here, facebook.com is the domain name of this website.
Usually, each domain name consists of two main sections i.e. Website’s name (facebook) and domain name extension (.com).
The internet is a giant network that connects a huge number of computers, mobiles, and other electric devices together.
Now the question is how this network identifies those devices separately.
In more simple words, when you search for any website how does the internet understand which computer or device you are trying to connect to.
To solve this issue, the internet uses a system called DNS (Domain Name System).
What is Domain Name System (DNS)?
DNS (Domain Name System) is basically a database or collection of all domain names with their corresponding IP numbers.
Every device connected to this giant network has a unique number; this number is called an IP address.
Therefore, when you are searching with a domain name, you are trying to connect to a specific IP address. Every domain represents a specific IP.
For example, if you type google.com that means you are typing this “22.214.171.124” IP address. You can also use an IP number instead of that domain.
So, when you enter a domain name in your browser, it looks into the DNS server to find out the IP for that domain.
When your browser finds the address then it can connect to the server or computer where that website is being hosted.
If the IP address of your website domain changes then DNS automatically updates itself with the new address.
Why Do We Use Domain Name Instead of IP?
The simple answer is that domain names are much easier to remember and use than IP addresses.
IP is a set of numbers that is hard to remember. The human brain can easily memorize a name than a number.
There are a large number of websites that we visit in our daily life. It would be very difficult to memorize all the IP addresses.
That is why domain names were introduced to make this process simple.
Now we can easily remember website names and visit. You don’t need to care about those long numbers (IP).
Free VS Paid Domain Names
More specifically, these website builders give you a “sub-domain” of their website. If you don’t know what a sub-domain is don’t worry, we will discuss it in the later section.
In short, a sub-domain is an additional section of the main domain name. Sub-domains usually look something like this:
A free sub-domain is not always convenient for your website if you are considering long-term business and trying to build a unique brand.
Because you don’t have full control over the free sub-domain provided by website builders.
In this case, you have to purchase a domain name for your website. You will have a full section dedicated to how to choose a perfect domain name and how can you buy it.
How Does Domain Name Actually Work?
You already know all the basics to understand how a domain name works when you type it in your browser.
When you enter a website name in your web browser, it first sends a request to a global network of servers that creates the Domain Name System (DNS).
DNS contains all the names and IP addresses. These servers then look up the IP address associated with the name you have entered in your browser.
When the browser receives the actual IP address from DNS, it connects with the name servers by following the number address.
For example, if you are using Namecheap as your hosting provider, then the name servers will be like this:
These name servers are the computers maintained by the hosting company. Then these computers will forward your request to the specific computer where your desired website is stored.
The computer where the website is stored is called a web server. Now web server will process the request for webpage and information.
Finally, the web server then sends the webpage and information back to your browser. This is how a domain name works behind the scenes when we browse websites.
Different Types of Domain Names
A domain name contains two main sections one is a website name and another one is an extension. Website domains are available with different extensions.
Most popular one is .com extension among all extensions. There are many other options, you can use like .org, .net, .info, .edu, .gov, and more.
Top-Level Domain – TLD
Top-level domains or TLDs are generic domain extensions that have the highest position in the Domain Name System (DNS).
The domains that include .com, .org, .net extensions, are in this category.
There are many other TLDs but they are less popular. We don’t recommend using them for your website.
For example, .biz, .club, .tv, .info, .name, and many more.
Second Level Domain - SLD
According to Wikipedia, a second-level domain (SLD) is a domain that is directly below a top-level domain (TLD).
For example, in webmound.com, webmound is the second-level domain
SLDs are the name of a business that registered the domain name with a registrar. The brand name or company name is the indicator for potential customers.
Country Code Top Level Domain – ccTLD
Country-specific domain names with country code extensions are called Country-code top-level domain or ccTLD.
For example, .au defines Australia .uk defines the United Kingdom, .de defines Germany, .ca defines Canada etc.
You can use a domain name with those extensions to target audiences in a specific country.
If you have a website with a .uk extension that means your website is strongly associated with The United Kingdom.
Sponsored Top-Level Domain – sTLD
Sponsored top-level domain or sTLD is a category of TLDs according to ICANN. These sTLDs are proposed and sponsored by specific communities or private organizations.
For example, .edu for education-related organizations, .gov for different government sectors, .mil for military-related websites, and more.
Differences Between a Domain Name and a URL
Some people get confused between a domain name and a URL (Universal Resource Locator). They have some similarities but these two do not indicate the same thing.
A URL is a complete address that points toward a specific page on a website. On the other hand, a domain name represents the entire website.
The domain name is a part of a URL. It shows which website this URL belongs to.
A URL has a few different parts. It has a protocol, a domain name, and a unique path. This unique path represents a specific page of that website.
Difference Between Domain Name and Web Hosting
As a beginner, many people get confused about this domain name and web hosting. They are separate services but have a connection to run a website.
The domain name is the web address of your website and web hosting is the actual home where your website lives.
Such computers are known as servers and they are provided and maintained by hosting companies.
Though domain and hosting are separate services, you can buy them from the same company or different companies.
How it will work if you buy them from separate companies?
Every hosting company has specific name servers. You can connect your domain name and web hosting by using name servers.
You need to update domain name settings by entering Name Server information provided by the hosting company.
How to Choose a Domain Name for Your Website?
Now you know what a domain name is, how it works, and the different types of website names. Therefore, the question is how you can choose a convenient name for your business.
There are billions of registered domain names and thousands more are being registered each day.
That means many good names are already registered or will be registered very soon.
That is why finding a good name has become a very hard job nowadays. Still, you can do this job by being careful and by following some tips and tricks.
Here are some quick tips that will help you to choose a suitable website name for your business.
- Try to keep the name short and simple.
- Choose something that is easy to pronounce.
- Try to avoid numbers and hyphens inside the name.
- Purchase the Right Domain Name Extension like .com.
- Try to consider a brandable name for your business website.
- You can use a domain name generator like LeanDomainSearch to collect ideas.
This is how you can choose a name for your website. It may be e-commerce, business, blog, portfolio, etc. You can follow the same process.
How to Buy a Domain Name?
There are many companies that provide domain names. A domain name at best costs $10-$12 per year.
You can buy a name for way less than this price. Some popular companies are:
You know to run a website, you will need web hosting as well. The above companies also provide web hosting.
Otherwise, you can consider the following companies who are popular for providing web hosting at a very low cost.
But If you have a little more budget for your hosting then you can consider Cloudways managed VPS hosting.
It provides very secure and fast website speed. It is also very easy to manage. You can set up your web server and install WordPress within a few clicks.
You don't need to know any technical knowledge about servers. They also provide high-quality support if you face any kinds of problems.
I hope this will solve your problem regarding the domain name and web hosting.
Additional Quick Questions About Domain Names
I hope that the above information has given you a clear idea about domain and hosting and how they work together.
Still some common questions that come to our mind as a beginner. By thinking about this, I am going to answer some common questions below.
Following are the answers to the most frequently asked questions about domain names.
What is a Subdomain?
Basically, a subdomain is a child name under the main domain name. For example, blog.example.com is the subdomain of example.com.
Once you purchase a domain name, you can create subdomains by yourself according to your requirement.
You can create as much as you want but it depends on your hosting providers. Different providers offer different amount subdomains.
Subdomains are normally used by companies or websites to create child websites under the same name.
For example, you can create subdomains of your main website for your blog as blog.example.com or online store as store.example.com.
Can I Sell a Domain Name?
Yes, you can sell your website name at a high price. There is a huge demand for a brandable name.
Many people are making a good amount of money by selling domain names and creating a profitable business. It has become a multi-million dollar industry.
You don’t need to have a business to sell a website domain. You can do this very easily by using different online marketplaces.
Here are some online websites where you can trade your website domain at a suitable price:
However, nowadays most domain providers also give options to buy and sell your domains on their platforms.
You just have to purchase a good domain name and then you can list that domain name there for sale.
Can I Transfer My Website to a Different Domain Name?
Yes, you can. You can change your website domain from one to another.
You can easily set which domain you want to use for your website. It is possible to point more than one domain to the same website.
However, this is not good practice. Search engines will consider it as duplicate content. This may affect your search ranking.
Therefore, you can change your website name by pointing to another in your hosting server.
We have a step-by-step tutorial on how to move a website to a new domain or hosting and set up 301 redirects so that it does not hurt your SEO and search ranking.
What is Domain Privacy? Should I Use It?
When you purchase a domain name, you have to provide an email, physical address, mobile number, and some other personal information.
This information is available publicly and open to everyone. However, you can hide your information from showing publicly.
Domain Privacy is a separate add-on service provided by domain registrars. Most domain providers offer this service free of cost.
This service allows you to display proxy of fake information instead of your real personal info.
It is not compulsory to have a domain privacy service for your domain. However, if you are concerned about your personal information, then you should obviously consider this.
How Can I Create My Website Easily?
Creating a website seems a very complicated process for a beginner. If you have knowledge of programming or coding, then it is very easy for you.
However, if you don’t have coding knowledge, that’s also ok. You don’t need this to create a website nowadays.
You can create a complete professional website without writing a single line of code.
There are many companies that provide you website builders with easy drag and drop features to create and maintain a website. For example, WordPress, Wix, Shopify, Squarespace, etc.
We will suggest you go for WordPress. It is free to use and open-source. You will get many features out of the box without spending any money.
In the article, I have discussed domain names. Specifically what a domain name is, how a domain works, different types of domains, some tips, and tricks to choose a good brandable domain name, and many more.
I hope now you have a clear idea about this topic.