In the vast landscape of the internet, domain names are the digital addresses that define a brand’s online presence. They are the keystones upon which the digital world is built, providing users with a user-friendly way to access the website on the internet. Whether you are a novice seeking to create an online presence or just want to elevate your knowledge, understanding the concepts and functionality of domain names is essential. Here, we’ll explain domain names, their types, and their functionalities. By the end of this guide, you’ll be familiar with the fundamentals of domain names as well as understand how to make informed domain name decisions that will propel your online presence to new heights.
Domain Names: What is it?
A domain name is a text-based, human-friendly website address that typically consists of a brand’s name and extension used to find the site online. It is a unique web address that eliminates the need to memorize the IP address of the website. Each domain is unique worldwide, and no two websites on the web can have the same domain name, ensuring that each website can be accessed without any confusion.
To better understand what domain names are, think of it like this. You have a brilliant business idea, you have content that is ready to captivate your targeted audience, and you are willing to create a beautifully designed website to showcase your business. But how will you make your business available to your users and distinguish it from the competition?
That’s where domain names come into play.
What is the importance of a domain name?
Domain names play a significant role in various aspects of online presence and are crucial for easy website discovery. The following are several benefits of having a domain name. This section will provide you with the most notable one.
Easily Memorable: Typically, each website is assigned a unique IP address, a group of numbers like this: 22.345.44.2. This IP address is difficult to remember for individuals. Domain name resolved this issue and made it easier for users to locate their favorite websites. This implies that users can simply enter human-friendly business names instead of complicated IP addresses.
Boost Brand’s identity: A domain is a valuable element of a Brand that helps it establish its online identity. A relevant domain name speaks much about your business and values and makes you stand out from others in the vast digital landscape. It enables you to gain user trust, boost user engagement, and build fruitful relationships with potential customers.
Website’s First Impression: Your site’s domain name is the first thing that users interact with, which can significantly impact their user experience on your site. Easy and relevant domain names create a positive first impression on a website.
SEO friendly: It also plays an essential role in improving various SEO aspects, such as user-friendliness, user trust, and brand credibility, which can help boost SEO. In addition, having a domain name with a keyword relevant to your niche also improves your search results ranking.
Professional business email: With a domain name, you can have a professional-looking business email that also helps showcase your credibility and enables you to gain users’ trust while communicating via Emails.
How are domain names related to web hosting and URLs?
Domain names, web hosting, and URLs are all interrelated aspects that work jointly to make websites available on the internet. It is the online address of your site, whereas web hosting is the service that stores website files and makes them accessible.
A URL (Uniform Resource Locator), on the contrary, is the complete address of a web page on the web server, whereas a domain name is just a part of the URL.
In the simplest way, domain names provide a human-friendly way to access websites, web hosting stores the website’s files and makes them accessible, and URLs specify the exact location of a resource on the web server. These components work together to enable website access and navigation on the internet, allowing users and web browsers to access the website content.
Therefore, to create a website, you need a business name as well as web-hosting from the same or different provider and then customize the site’s URL to make it available and accessible online.
How do domain names make a website accessible?
A domain name helps users access a website on the web with the help of web hosting servers. Every domain name/website is associated with an IP address, the number-based website address linked with the hosting server. This is how it works:
- When you write a domain name into your web browser, it forwards a request to the domain name system (DNS) server.
- After receiving the request, the DNS searches for its related IP address and web server in its database.
- Once the IP address is discovered, the request is forwarded to the associated web servers.
- The web server then retrieves the requested files in its database and sends them back to the browser.
- The browser renders the data and provides it to the user as a web page.
In this manner, easy-to-remember names make it easier for users to reach and navigate a website on the internet while eliminating the need to remember the complex IP address.
How many types of Domain names are available?
There are different types of domain names available that provide additional details about a website.
1. Top Level Domain – TLD
The top-level domains or TLDs refer to the domain extensions that generally come after the name of a website. In the domain name system hierarchy, these are placed at the highest level, thus named top-level domains.
For instance, Hostkicker.com is our domain name, and ‘.com’ is the TLD here.
There are numerous TLDs available that you can add after a domain name, such as .com, org, .net, .biz, .info, and many more. These TLDs are also known as generic top-level domains or gTLDs.
Notably, the most popular TLD is .com, and websites using this are generally considered more credible.
Also, the TLDs are generally more expensive compared to the less popular ones.
2. Country Code Top Level Domain – ccTLD
The second type of domain names are Country code top-level domains or ccTLD. These are country-specific domain names and generally use the two letters of the country names based on international country codes.
For instance, .uk, .in, .ca, .us, .jp, .au are some ccTLD.
- .uk is used for the United Kingdome
- .in is used for India
- .ca is used for Canada
- .us is used for the United States
- .jp is used for Japan
- .au is used for Australia
Websites that desire to target the audience of a particular geographical location can use the ccTLD of the specific country.
3. Sponsored Top Level Domains – sTLD
Sponsored top-level domains or sTLD is the third type of domain name that are categorized under the TLDs. These are generally associated with a particular community and are represented by a sponsor association that sets rules for the specific TLD.
For instance, .gov, .edu, .mil are some common examples of sTLD.
- The .govt extension is used by government-operated organizations
- The .edu extension is used by education-based websites
- The .mil is used by the military of the United States.
4. Second Level Domain-SLD
The second-level domain or SLD is the website or business name that generally comes before the top-level domain or TLD before the last dot. In the domain name system hierarchy, these are placed below the Top-level Domain (TLD) and thus named second-level domains.
For instance, Hostkicker.com is our domain name, where hostkicker is the SLD and .com is the TLD.
What is a Subdomain?
A subdomain is a subdivision or subpart of a domain name that provides an opportunity to create a separate section within a website and organize the content under the main domain. They are generally created to direct users to a specific section or services within a website. It can be easily created by adding a prefix to the main domain and is separated by a dot.
For instance, Google has a subdomain with the name ‘developers’ under its domain name, which provides information for the developers, i.e., developers.google.com.
Also, many websites create separate subdomains, such as blogs or news, to provide specific content. For instance, “blog.example.com” and “news.example.com” are the subdomains under the domain name example.com.
Typically, in all websites, the www part in the URL represents the subdomain.
What is a Naked Domain?
A naked domain name is a name that does not include the www prefix(subdomain). For example, hostkicker.com is a naked domain, whereas www.hostkicker.com is a non-naked domain.
How can you buy a domain name?
In order to get a domain name for your website, you need to register a name of your choice with a domain registrar. There are several domain registrars, but you need to register it with a legitimate one. If you are a newcomer, you can look for a credible registrar listed by ICANN.
The ICANN stands for Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. It is an organization that controls the domain name system.
In addition to this, many hosting providers also offer domain name registration services and allow users to purchase a name for your brand.
At hostkicker, we also provide domain names at affordable prices. You can easily search for a relevant and unique name for your website and register it with us.
Whichever domain registrar you choose, ensure to look for the prices and the registration period before making your final move.
What to do after purchasing a domain name?
Once you’ve got the right domain for your site, you need to follow a few steps to connect your web hosting with your domain name. This will make your website accessible online.
1. Purchase web hosting: In order to proceed and go live, you’d need web hosting and a website. We are assuming that you have already purchased web hosting from a reputable hosting provider. If not, go and purchase reliable web hosting.
2. Hosting Nameservers: Once done, request the hosting nameservers from your hosting provider.
Hostkicker’s nameservers look like this:
3. Connect domain name to a web host: In order to sync your domain name with your web hosting account, visit your domain registrar and enter your nameservers in the required field. That’s it. This will sync your domain name and web hosting account.
Note that it might take 12-24 hours to transfer Domain name Servers. If it takes longer, you can connect with your hosting provider.
Configuring name servers is essential as it ensures that the visitors are directed to the right server when they enter your domain name in their web browser.
4. Create your website: Once you successfully connect your hosting account & domain name, the next step is creating a website. You can build your site on any platform. We recommend you to get started with WordPress. It is a popular and user-friendly CMS that lets you easily create a beautiful-looking website.
For further instructions, you can refer to our step-wise guide on how to create a WordPress website.
Go Live with the Right Domain!
In conclusion, a domain name is a crucial component of your online presence, which serves as the digital address that users use to find your website. It’s significance cannot be overlooked, as it usually gives users the first impression of your online identity. It’s an important part of branding and can greatly impact your website’s discoverability. Furthermore, obtaining a distinct and memorable brand name is critical in order to stand out in this highly competitive world.
Understanding its many types, from Top-level domains (TLDs) to country code top-level domains (ccTLDs), is also important in selecting the one that best fits the purpose and target audience of your website. The domain name you choose is important since it not only displays your brand but also influences search engine optimization (SEO) and user trust.
The process of acquiring a domain name is quite simple. By following the above-stated steps, you may register a domain name for your website and link it with your web hosting. This will help you create your online identity and establish a strong foundation for your digital presence. Remember that choosing the right domain name and registrar is key to a successful online venture.
We hope this guide has helped you understand the concept and functionality of domain names.