Sunday, July 7, 2024

What Is A Domain Name And How Does It Work

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What is a Domain Name? Here’s How it Works! | GoDaddy Help

Simply put, Domain Name System is the phone book of the internet. Its the system that converts website domain names into numerical values so they can be found and loaded into your web browser.

This happens because machines don’t understand site names like we do. A website written as is a way for us, as humans, to remember web pages while the servers theyre stored on refer to them as numbers.

DNS works in the background, and it’s not something the average internet user will need to worry about much. But without it, your browser wouldnt know where to point your web page request, and finding the information you need would be a much more arduous process.

How Does The Domain Name System Work

Think of DNS like Siri on your iPhone. When you say call David, something amazing happens your phone calls David. This isnt magic its a complex process that receives and translates inputs into the desired output for an end user. Its mapping the users input of David with a corresponding output from its internal network.

DNS operates the same way, but with web addresses.

Just like every person has a unique phone number, every website has a unique domain name and subsequent IP address.

The translation from domain name to IP address is known as DNS resolution. The DNS resolution process includes several steps that happen almost instantaneously to resolve the DNS query.

Step 1: A user types a domain name or URL into their browser. The users internet browser issues a query request to the network to render the appropriate web page.

Step 2: A request is sent to the DNS recursor that was assigned to your computer from your Internet Service Provider . If the DNS recursor has the IP address cached, it will return the A record .

Step 3: If the users recursive resolver doesnt have the IP address cached, it will send a query for the IP address to the DNS root nameservers.

Step 4: The root nameservers examine the top-level domain of the query and refer your DNS recursor to the appropriate nameservers based on the TLD.

Step 8: Your DNS recursor returns the A record and renders the web address associated with the IP address to your browser.

Is An Ip Address The Same As A Domain Name

While both IP address and domain name are unique identifiers, the are not the same. An IP address is the true identifier of a web server and the domain name is simply a human-friendly pointer to help people find the web server.

For example, when you type in a domain name in your web browser, your browser will match that domain name to an IP address. The IP address will tell your browser which web server hosts the website of that domain name. Your browser then connects to the web server and request for a copy of the website.

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Domain Name Vs Website Vs Web Hosting

As weve already seen, a domain name is an address pointing to a specific website.

A website is made of files like HTML pages, images, articles, and other stuff while web hosting is what provides the website with the infrastructure to function on the internet.

Using our previous analogy

If your website is a house, the domain name is the address. And the actual building is hosting space. While the content inside is the website pages.

And as you can guess, you need the two to create a website a domain name and web hosting.

But, it is important for you to know that these are two different services. This means that you can get a domain name from company A and hosting from company B.

How would you bring the two to work?

Well, your hosting company B will provide you with name servers. All you have to do is change the name servers of your domain hosted at company A to the name servers provided by company B.

Again, name servers specify where to send requests whenever someone searches for your domain.

But here is the thing

We recommend that you get both services from the same hosting company. Why? This is to avoid back and forth in case of an issue. Plus, you will have an easier time managing your services, now that they are under one account.

Hosting And Domain Names

What is meant by a Domain Name and How Does it Work? [Guide]

Owning a domain name is not enough to get a website up and running. To be visible to others connected to the web, a domain name needs to be hosted on a server.

Most hosting companies will allow you to purchase a domain name along with your hosting subscription, which makes it easier to get set up right away.

However, if you buy your domain name somewhere else, such as from a domain name registering company such as Go Daddy, or by negotiating the sale of a domain name privately, you will need to work with your hosting provider to make sure the domain you own is associated with your hosting account.

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Ask Outside Dns Servers To Provide An Ip Address

ISP DNS resolvers are configured to ask other DNS servers for correct IP address mapping until they can provide data back to the requester. These are iterative DNS queries.

When a DNS client sends such a request, the first responding server does not provide the needed IP address. Instead, it directs the request to another server that is lower in the DNS hierarchy, and that one to another until the IP address is fully resolved. There are a few stops in this process.

  • Root domain nameservers. Root servers themselves do not map IP addresses to domain names. Instead, they hold the information about all top-level domain nameservers and point to their location. TLD is the rightmost section of a domain name, for example, .com in or .org in Root servers are critical since they are the first stop for all DNS lookup requests.
  • TLD nameservers. These servers contain the data for second-level domains, such as phoenixnap in Previously, the root server pointed to the location of the TLD server. Then, the TLD server needs to direct the request toward the server that contains the necessary data for the website we are trying to reach.
  • Authoritative servers are the final destination for DNS lookup requests. They provide the websites IP address back to the recursive DNS servers. If the site has subdomains, the local DNS server will keep sending requests to the authoritative server until it finally resolves the IP address.
  • What Is The Difference Between A Domain Name And Website Hosting

    Just because you register a domain name doesnt mean you automatically get a website. The domain name is the address of your website and your website hosting is the home where your website lives. If you dont have a home for your website, your address leads to nowhere. So, you need a domain name and web hosting to create a functioning website.

    The home where your website lives is the actual computer where your website files are stored. These servers are offered as a service by website hosting companies. When you purchase website hosting youll get access to these servers to store your website. Once you have built a website on a web host and registered a domain name, your site will be able to be seen by people on the web.

    Many website hosting companies allow you to register and purchase a domain name too, like Bluehost for instance, so you can easily manage your domain name and your entire website from the same account.

    Check out our other post on the difference between a domain name and web hosting for a more in-depth explanation.

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    So What Is A Domain Name

    A domain name is your websites equivalent of a physical address. It helps users find your site easily on a browser instead of using its IP address. Domain names consisting of a name and an extension are a key part of the internet infrastructure.

    Here are some facts related to the question of what a domain name is:

  • Every domain name is connected to an IP address, and DNS servers connect the two.
  • All trustworthy domain name registrars are collected in the ICANN database.
  • Servers are responsible for storing your websites files.
  • .com is the most popular top-level domain, with over 52% of all websites using it.
  • ccTLDs use country codes for websites focusing on specific regions.
  • Some gTLDs are only available for specific use cases, such as .edu for academic institutions.
  • More popular domain names tend to be more expensive.
  • Every domain name registrar has a different signup process.
  • There are domain name generators that help find available names.
  • Domain names can be transferred from one provider to another.
  • Can I Use A Domain Name Thats Already In Use

    What is a Domain Name? – A Beginners Guide to How Domain Names Work!

    If someone already has the domain name you want, youre kind of out of luck. These are unique identifiers, which means there cant be more than one. If youre desperate for the one thats taken, you can try to contact the site and see if they will sell it to you.

    When considering buying a domain name, remember that youre never really buying it since there is not an it. Instead, youre buying the right to control it, which you will need to pay to maintain. So, when you buy a domain name, you are paying the person who currently pays to control it for the right to pay to control it yourself.

    In some cases, this is totally worth it, but there are other options, such as using a different TLD or slightly changing the spelling of the name you seek, that might be cheaper, less hassle, and equally as effective.

    Read Also: How Much Does It Cost To Register A Domain

    Other Domain Name Types

    We focused on the different extension types above. The following are the different available structures of domain names:

    Second-Level Domains

    Second-level domains are below TLDs in the domain name hierarchy. An SLD is the section of a domain name located on the left side of the last dot. Take, for example hostinger is the SLD, and .com is the TLD.

    Some domain name registries use an SLD to indicate a specific type of entity registering. For example, academic institutions in the United Kingdom mostly register websites under


    A subdomain is a separate division from a larger domain but still shares the same servers. There is no need to purchase and register a subdomain. Technically, the www on most URLs is a subdomain that indicates a site is part of the world wide web.

    The most common use for a subdomain is to organize and divide web content into separate sections. For example, Google uses to provide specific information for developers.

    Another use of a subdomain is to create another website with the same name but different languages. Take Wikipedia as an example, which has a separate subdomain for each language. It uses for the English version and for the Spanish one.

    Free Domains

    A free web address often uses the same structure as subdomains. For example, instead of, it would be or

    Brief History Of Domain Names

    Domain names first started in the mid-1980s. The first domain name registered was on 15th March in 1985.

    In that same year, five more domain names were registered:


    Initially, you could register domain names for free. However, in 1995, the National Science Foundation awarded Network Solutions, a tech consulting company, to charge for registration.

    From 1995, domain names were first sold starting from $100 for two years of registration. By the end of the third quarter of 2020, there were 370.7 million domain names registered.

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    Can I Sell A Domain Name

    Yes, you can sell your website name at a high price. There is a huge demand for a brandable name.

    Many people are making a good amount of money by selling domain names and creating a profitable business. It has become a multi-million dollar industry.

    You dont need to have a business to sell a website domain. You can do this very easily by using different online marketplaces.

    Here are some online websites where you can trade your website domain at a suitable price:

    However, nowadays most domain providers also give options to buy and sell your domains on their platforms.

    You just have to purchase a good domain name and then you can list that domain name there for sale.

    Domain Names And Urls

    What is a Domain Name and How does it work?

    The universal resource locator, or URL, is an entire set of directions, and it contains extremely detailed information. The domain name is one of the pieces inside of a URL. It is also the most easily recognized part of the entire address. When computer users type a web address directly into the field at the top of their browser window, it initiates a process of locating the page requested. To do so, the instructions contained inside the URL, including the domain name, must correctly point to that location. The IP address is a numerical code that makes this possible.

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    Understanding Domains And Trademarks

    As you might imagine, many brands target their organization name as their domain name. For instance, GoDaddy uses, Pepsi uses and McDonalds uses

    The value of a branded domain cannot be overstated, but are brands awarded these domains under trademark laws? Are domain owners awarded any protection over their domain names?

    The relationship between domain names and trademarks is important to understand before you purchase a domain and start building a website and business. There are risks to purchasing a domain name without researching trademarks first.

    Domain availability doesnt protect from trademarks

    Just because a domain name is available, doesnt mean there isnt a trademark protecting that brand name.

    For instance, if you found a variation of GoDaddy that was available for registration, you could not purchase and operate a business on that domain because it would still be protected under trademark law.

    Choosing a domain name requires more research than just availability you need to make sure that you are not walking into any legal conflict by picking a domain name that is protected by the United States Patent and Trademark Office .

    When it comes to domains and trademarks, remember these basic considerations.

    Related: Trademark vs. copyright Which one does your business need?

    Protecting domain names with trademarks

    Domain name and trademark case study:

    Protecting yourself from trademark infringement

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    Domain Names And Ip Addresses

    An Internet Protocol, or IP, address is different than a domain name. The IP address is an actual set of numerical instructions. It communicates exact information about the address in a way that is useful to the computer but makes no sense to humans. The domain name functions as a link to the IP address. Links do not contain actual information, but they do point to the place where the IP address information resides. It is convenient to think of IP addresses as the actual code and the domain name as a nickname for that code. A typical IP address looks like a string of numbers. It could be, for example. However, humans cannot understand or use that code. To summarize, the domain name is a part of the URL, which points to the IP address.

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