What is a domain name, and how do they work? [Updated]

What is a domain name, and how do they work? [Updated]

Date & Time
February 24, 2024
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6 Mins Read
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Lopamudra Barik

Beginners frequently ask us what a domain name is and how it works. If you are a beginner, you may have heard that a domain name is required to create a website.

However, many newcomers confuse domain names with websites or website hosting services. If you're just getting started, all of these words may seem overly technical.

In this beginner's guide, we'll explain what a domain name is and how it works. The purpose is to assist you in understanding and selecting the appropriate domain name for your website.

What is a domain name?

A domain name is the address that online visitors enter into their browser's URL bar to view your website. To put it simply, if your website were a house, your domain name would be its address.

A more precise explanation, however, is that the internet is a massive network of computers linked together by a global network of cables. Every computer on this network is capable of communicating with other computers.

Domain names were established to address this issue .Now, when you visit a website, you don't have to input a long string of numbers.

Instead, navigate to it by typing an easy-to-remember domain name into your browser's address bar.

How Do Domain Names Really Work?

To understand how domain names function, we'll look at what occurs when you enter them into your browser. When you input a domain name into your web browser, it makes a request to a global network of computers known as the Domain Name System (DNS).

These servers then search up the name servers or DNS servers connected with the domain and route the request to those servers.

The web server now retrieves the web page and the information connected with it.

Finally, it returns this info to the user's browser.


What is the difference between a domain name, a website, and web hosting?

HTML pages, website builder software, photos, and other assets all contribute to the creation of a website. It establishes you and your business's online presence. 

If the domain name is your website's web address, web hosting is its home.

This is the real machine where your website's files are saved. Such computers are known as servers, and they are provided as a service by hosting businesses.

You will need a domain name and web hosting to create your website. You need both of them to create any type of website, whether it's personal, small business, or eCommerce.

However, keep in mind that these are two distinct services that can be purchased from various companies.

Who manages the Domain Name System?

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) oversees the domain name system. It is anon-profit organization that develops and implements domain name policies.

ICANN grants authority to companies known as Domain Name Registrars to sell domain names. These domain registrars can make modifications to the domain name registry on your behalf.

Domain name registrars can sell domain names, manage their records, perform renewals, and transfer them to other registrars.

As the domain name owner, you are responsible for informing the registrar where to send requests. You are also responsible for renewing the domain registration.

How do you choose a domain name for your website?

There are already over 350 million registered domain names, and hundreds more are registered every day.

This suggests that all of the good ones have either been registered or will be registered shortly. This creates a lot of pressure on new users to come up with a domain name for their website.

Here are some short guidelines for selecting a domain name for your new website.

  • Stick with a.com domain name because it is the most popular, memorable, and easy to promote.
  • Make it short and easy to remember.
  • Make it easy to say and spell.
  • Avoid using numerals or hyphens.
  • Use domain name generators to come up with interesting domain names.

What do domains provide for?

Domains are useful for more than just making it easier for visitors to find your website. We'll look at a few more reasons why domains are used.

1. To acquire ownership

Perhaps most crucially, a domain grants you ownership of your website's address. Nobody other can claim it while you have it registered. This gives you complete control over the website it points to, the domain name registrar that manages it, the information linked with your domain name account, who administers it, and if you wish to sell it.

2. To Establish Your Brand Identity

A domain name that matches or resembles your company's name might assist you in developing a consistent online brand identity. A visitor who moves from your website's homepage to blog to knowledge base will notice that the basic domain name, as well as other characteristics such as the colour scheme and typography, remain similar.

3. To establish credibility

A domain name that matches your company name increases credibility and helps your website appear more real and professional to users. This in stills trust in your visitors, making them feel safe taking actions such as submitting a survey or form on a web page with the same domain name.

4. To stand out from competitors

A basic but memorable domain name can distinguish your website from competitors with clumsier or confusing domain names.

5. To Increase Authority

In addition to enhancing your brand, domain names can assist you forecast how probable your website will appear in the SERPs when compared to your competitors. As a general rule, the older a domain, the greater its authority. That is because it has had time to build up quality content, internal links, and backlinks.

Configuring Your Domain

If you're looking to obtain a domain name, you'll need to purchase and register it. Simply head to a domain name registrar such as GoDaddy or Google Domains, enter your preferred domain name, verify its availability and cost, and proceed with the purchase if it fits within your budget.


How do domain names work?

Domain names work by translating human-readable text (the domain name) into a numeric IP address that computers use to identify websites. When you type a domain name into your browser, a Domain Name System (DNS) server translates it into the corresponding IP address, allowing your device to connect to the website's server.

Why are domain names important?

Domain names are essential for establishing your online identity and brand presence. They make it easier for people to find and remember your website, contribute to your website's credibility, and play a significant role in search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.

How do I choose a domain name?

When selecting a domain name, consider factors such as relevance to your brand or business, ease of typing and memorization, and availability. It's essential to choose a name that reflects your identity and is memorable to your target audience.

What are domain name extensions?

Domain name extensions, also known as top-level domains (TLDs), are the suffixes at the end of a domain name, such as .com, .org, or .net. They can indicate the type of organization or geographic location associated with the website, but their primary function is to help categorize and differentiate domain names on the internet.


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