What is a domain and how important is a domain name?

What is a domain and how important is a domain name?



A domain is a human-readable address that helps to identify a specific location on the internet. It is part of the Domain Name System (DNS), a hierarchical system that translates domain names into numeric IP addresses, allowing computers to locate and connect to each other over the network.


How can you obtain a domain name?

 

Obtaining a domain name involves a few steps, including: checking the domain availability, choosing a domain registrar, registering your domain, completing the registration and setup, managing the domain, renewing the domain annually, etc. Currently, there are 350 million registered domain names.

 

Domain names are managed by domain registries, and they delegate the reservation of domain names to registrars. The domain name ecosystem involves a collaborative effort between domain registries, registrars, and oversight bodies like the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). This system ensures that domain names are unique, properly managed, and globally accessible for anyone wanting to establish a website on the internet.


 

 How different is a URL from a domain name


 

A uniform resource locator (URL) and a domain are related concepts that are often confused. They both refer to different parts of a web address. Let’s see this with the help of an example: https://www.example.com/page1

The domain is the main part of a web address and represents a specific location on the internet. It is part of the hierarchical DNS. The domain in the above example is:  "example.com". 


Meanwhile, a URL is a complete web address that includes the domain along with other components specifying the protocol and the path to a particular resource. The other components may include the protocol (e.g., "http://" or "https://"), the path to a specific resource on the server ("/page1”), and optional parameters.

 

Parts of a domain name

 

A domain name comprises several parts, each serving a specific role in identifying a unique location on the internet. It consists of a subdomain, a second-level domain (SLD), top-level domain (TLD), and subdirectory. Subdomain is an optional part that comes before the main domain name. It is separated by a period and is used to create distinct sections or categories within a domain. For example, in "blog.example.com," "blog" is a subdomain.

 

Whereas the second-level domain is the core part of the domain name and is located directly to the left of the top-level domain. It is unique and customizable. For instance, in "www.example.com," "example" is the second-level domain.

 

The top-level domain is the last part of the domain name and indicates the type or purpose of the website. Common TLDs include ".com," ".org," ".net," and country code TLDs like ".us" or ".uk." In "www.example.com," ".com" is the top-level domain. Subdirectory is an optional part that comes after the main domain and is used to organize specific content or sections within the website. It is separated by slashes ("/").

 

How domains work?


 

The functioning of domains involves the DNS and the collaboration of various components to translate human-readable domain names into numerical IP addresses, facilitating the routing of data on the internet.

When a user inputs a domain name (e.g.,
www.example.com) into a web browser, the user's computer initiates a DNS resolution process to translate the domain name into an IP address. The local DNS resolver then checks its cache to see if it already has the IP address for the requested domain. If found, the resolver returns the IP address directly, bypassing further steps. And, if the IP address is not in the local cache, the resolver contacts a root DNS server. The root DNS servers provide information about the top-level domain (TLD) servers. That is, the root DNS server then directs the resolver to the TLD DNS server associated with the specific TLD of the domain (e.g., ".com" TLD server). The TLD DNS server then provides information about the authoritative DNS server for the second-level domain (SLD) within the requested domain.

 

The resolver queries the authoritative DNS server for the IP address associated with the requested domain.


The authoritative DNS server will then send a response with the IP address corresponding to the requested domain. The user's browser then uses the obtained IP address to connect to the web server hosting the content associated with the requested domain. The web server responds to the browser's request, and the requested webpage or resource will then be displayed to the user. This entire process happens quickly and transparently, allowing users to access websites by typing in easy-to-remember domain names rather than numeric IP addresses. The DNS system ensures the scalability and efficiency of this mapping process across the entire internet.

 

How important is a domain name?


The first step for creating a website will be to create a domain, and it acts as your address in the web environment. A domain name is a valuable component for various reasons, from marking the online presence, branding, and functionality of individuals, businesses, and organizations. A relevant and keyword-rich domain name can also positively impact SEO and help marketing teams gain a better ranking. It is equally important to also look out for several challenges that can affect domain names, ranging from technical issues to legal and security concerns.

 

A domain is not just an address; it is a digital passport for any entity's online presence. By serving as the digital storefront for businesses, it acts as a unique identifier for websites and the gateway for users to access information on the internet.


Hence, it is extremely important to stay away from domain-related security threats and ensure domain security. Watch out this space to learn how to safeguard and protect your domain.