When you’re looking to set up a website of your very own, one of the first steps is overcoming all of the jargon involved. One of these terms that you will see again and again is ‘domain name’. So, what exactly is a domain name?
Domain name meaning
Simply put, your domain name will be the address that visitors to your website will type into their browser’s address or URL bar in order to access your site. Often confused with other related aspects such as the website itself or a web hosting service, a domain name will have a suffix (domain extension) such as .com, .co.uk, .net or .biz (indeed, there are many possibilities – more of this later), and is the means by which your website is identified online. Think of it as being the virtual equivalent of your business’s address, which in the real world tells people where to find you. For more information, see https://www.pcmag.com/encyclopedia/term/internet-domain-name.
How it works
Behind the scenes, your domain name is actually a tool devised to bridge the gap between how computer works and their human users. Every internet enabled device is assigned its own unique IP address, which is a long series of numbers punctuated by dots. For the many millions of computers in the world, it’s the IP address that identifies which machine they want to connect to online.
Of course, remembering long combinations of numbers is not ideal for us humans. And that’s where domain names come in. When you enter a domain name into your browser, your computer sends a request for more information to the DNS (Domain Name System). The DNS is a network of many of servers which act as a sort of virtual phone book, matching the domain name that you entered with the IP address of the server where the website’s data files are stored. These servers which hold the files are commonly owned and operated by web hosting providers. And now that the domain name has been traced to the server where the corresponding data files are being held, the connection is complete and your website is loaded. The whole process usually takes less than a second.
Choosing a domain name
Choosing the right domain name is an important part of building a successful website. Opt for a name that reflects your brand, or the products or services that you offer. That suffix we mentioned earlier is important, too. High level domain extensions such as .com, .co.uk or .net are more expensive, but give your brand a sense of authenticity which can make them worth the money. Sites such as names.co.uk can help you find and register the perfect domain name.
So as you can see, the term domain name is a simple but important part of the journey to creating your website. And now that you understand what domain name means, you are ready to choose the best option that will be perfect for your website, helping to guarantee its success.