What’s a Domain Name and How Do They Work?

what's a domain

Are you about to open a website? Do you know you’re way around the domain name? Well, you should.

There are over 335 million domains registered annually with an estimated increase of about 8 million every quarter. With such popularity, it’s crucial for one to learn what’s a domain name.

If you’re wondering how all these relate to starting a website, you just got lucky. Below is a detailed article on the meaning of a domain name and how it works.

Understanding What’s a Domain Name

Many people have tried to create a website, but when it comes to registering a domain name, they get stuck. Whether you’re a beginner or you’re looking to educate yourself, read further, and learn about what’s a web domain.

Definition of a Domain Name

The domain name is an address or a label for your website. It’s linked to an internet protocol, also known as the IP address used to allow people to access your site. Depending on where the site is hosted, the domain name will have a specific IP address that’s only identifiable by a computer.

The IP address, on the other hand, is a unique character in the form of location coordinates that are translated by the computer in the form of the domain name to direct you towards a specific website. The addresses can be seen in two ways, the IPv4 and IPV6.

The Structure of a Domain Name

The domain name has a specific structure used to identify the actual name of the domain and other supplementary names. The characters on the domain name are separated by dots to form the URL, which is the identity of the website.

● Actual name – this appears before the full stop on a domain name.
● Top level domain – also called the TLD, appears after the full stop. It is the highest level in the naming system which is monitored by IANA, through a root zone database. Common TLDs include COM, NET, ORG, EDU, MIL, and GOV.
● Sub-domain – 3rd level subsidiary name. This is optional for most sites since many belong to the second work domain system.
● Hostname – commonly seen as www for world wide web or https to mean Hypertext Transfer Protocol. If it ends with an S, it only means it’s secure or encrypted.

Since every domain name has to remain unique and controlled, there comes in domain management systems. Every domain registration has to be regulated and monitored by these registrars.

Domain Management

The domains are under the management of ICANN, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. Their primary role of this non-profit organization is to create and manage domains while implementing the prescribed policies on working domain names.

When it comes to registration of the domain name, there’s a registry under the jurisdiction of ICANN whose main responsibility is to sell and record domain names for websites. The registrar is allowed to make any changes in the naming, including renewals, and transfers to other registrars.

Specific companies can offer domain management services for your website’s domain. An easier way to keep track of your site without having to understand the technicalities of what’s a domain.

Domain Name System

People often call it domain name servers, but this system is a combination of characters that appear as data, but once input in a computer, they open up to a website. It works like an encryption process, where you input specific data, and the computer processes into a location.

How Does the Domain Name System Work

The computer understands the special code whether its numbers or special characters. But, once the protocol from the DNS is received, the computer immediately transcribes the information into an IP address which them opens up a site.

The DNS works hand in hand with network systems like the modem, wifi connections, or private networks under a TCP/ IP protocol suite to convert these work domains into a series of numbers.

It would be unrealistic to know to memorize the IP addresses of all the relevant sites you want to visit. In that case, using the domain names, the computer can work its magic, allowing you to just need a name to trace a corresponding location.

In simple terms, if you want to open a specific site, your computer will look into the DNS step by step starting from the TLD as the root record, then branch to the hostname, then to the server for the actual IP address to connect to the website.

I. DNS Servers for Your Computer

A computer is an essential tool to configuring the DNS servers. Once your internet service provider grants you access to a network, a piece of information from that address sends encryption for one or more DNS servers allowing for easier and quicker translation.

The only two crucial things the servers need to function are the internet protocols and a quick performing network service. This includes unique address lines for IPV4 and IPV6 standards, which are also controlled by IANA.

II. The Computer’s IP Address

Your computer has a specific IP address which can be used to track and locate it from a certain point. The address is found on different parts of the computer, but it’s primarily from the DHCP, Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol.

When you’re online, the function of the configuration protocol is to ensure your network remains open and has an IP address. It’s essential to note that the address is not fixed. It can change depending on the location or availability.

If you wish to have a permanent IP address, then you require a static address. This ensures that once you’re online, your address will remain fixed regardless of external factors. The surety of the same address is brought by the Media Access Control (MAC).

It monitors the network interface for either wired or wireless since the address is inscribed by the manufacturer during production.

Search no More

It’s apparent that most people don’t understand the technicalities and meanings of these website elements. Not anymore, after reading this post at least, you have an idea of what’s a domain and how it works.

If you’re thinking of creating a website, feel free to contact us and let’s guide you with the registration of your domain name and domain management.