What Is A Domain Name? What Is Its Importance?

All your favorite websites are identified by their domain name.

website domain name
Image: Pixabay

A domain name, or simply a domain, is a website’s unique identity on the internet. It links the IP address of a website to an easy-to-remember name so that users can conveniently access it.

These names are case-insensitive and can include both alphabets and numbers — in other words, they are alphanumeric. The Domain Naming System (DNS) defines the rules and regulations. They are assigned by domain name registrars such as GoDaddy, Bluehost, HostGator, etc.

At the same time, only one website can own a particular domain name. Another website can take over once the current owner/website relinquishes the domain ownership. As of now, there are more than 350 million active domain names registered across the world.

Domain, subdomain, and other relevant parts of URL

A domain name is a crucial part of a URL — the address that pinpoints a website or webpage on the world wide web. Other URL components include the protocol, subdomain, and top-level domain (TLD).

domain name and other components of a URL
Image: Fossbytes

The domain name and top-level domain form the root domain. Essentially, this is the part you purchase on the domain name registrar’s website. While the domain name part varies with every website, TLD is usually one among the few popular options, including “.com,” “.net,” “.org,” “.gov,” etc.

Each TLD usually holds a particular meaning that is relevant to the website. Here’s what some of the most popular TLDs mean:

.com: It is the most common choice among commercial organizations. Many popular websites, including facebook.com, twitter.com, and gmail.com, use it.

.org: This one is often related to websites belonging to non-profit organizations such as charities, open-source projects, and the like.

Country-specific TLDs: There is a unique TLD for every country globally. While “.us” refers to American websites, “.jp” and “.in” refer to Japanese and Indian websites, respectively. Similarly, other countries also have their TLD versions.

.gov: This one is reserved for websites belonging to the US Government. On the other hand, the governments in the rest of the world use a combination of “.gov” and country-specific TLDs. An example is “.gov.in” TLD of the Indian government.

Once you purchase a domain for your website, you can store its other variants on subdomains. This helps differentiate the main website from its other individual sections. In the URL, the subdomain precedes the domain name. For example, “wwe.com” has an e-commerce subdomain “shop.wwe.com.”

If you like this simple explainer, check out our Short Bytes section. We take complex tech topics and break them into short, easy-to-understand articles.

Priye Rai

Priye Rai

Priye is a tech writer who writes about anything remotely related to tech, including gaming, smartphones, social media, etc. He prefers to be called a "video game journalist" and grimaces when he doesn't get to be "Player 1." If you want to share feedback or talk about games, reach out to @priyeakapj on Twitter.
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