What is a domain name

The term domain name is something that you run into quite frequently on the internet, but what is a domain name exactly? What is a domain name for and how do you use it? Do you need a domain name? What are the different kinds of domain names?

A domain name is an identification string that designates an area of control, authority, or administrative autonomy on the Internet. A domain name is kind of like the street address of your home or your phone number and just serves as a way to recognize a designated space on the web. Domain names are registered through the Domain Name System that is administered by ICANN and must adhere to the rules and procedures they put forth.

A domain name represents an internet protocol resource such as a computer used to access the internet, a web site, a server computer that hosts a website, or any kind of service that is communicated through the internet. A domain name is a way of identifying a certain part of the internet so that ownership can be claimed and so that others can find that space easily. No two domain name owners can have the same domain name. Occasionally, there is a dispute over ownership of a domain and ICANN resolves those disputes.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers also known as ICANN manages and coordinates the top level domains or TLD. The top level domains include the .com, .org, and .info domains as well as many others. ICANN is a non-profit organization created to handle the administrative tasks surrounding domain name management registration, root server system management functions, and IP address allocations. ICANN created the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy commonly known as UDRP. This is used when two parties both believe that they have a claim on a particular domain name.

Every domain name ends in a top level domain. There are also second level domain names and these are located directly to the left of the dot (.). There are also third, fourth, and fifth level domains and the number of domain levels that you can have are endless. This is to ensure that there are still plenty of domains available for new businesses and websites.

A domain name is organized from right to left. The general descriptors of the name are on the right, and the more specific descriptors are on the left. One way to understand this is to think about your family surname being on the right and the individual names of family members on the left.

One common misconception about domain names is that the domain name and the url are the same thing. The url or Uniform Resource Locater is much more detailed than just a domain name. The Url includes the domain name, web page address, folder name, protocol language, and machine name.

Domain names provide a unique identity and many companies use their company name as part of their domain name. Generic domain names are also extremely popular and can be some of the most valuable domain names out there. Domains like music.com or food.com are as generic as they come but are quite valuable to those who own them. This is because anyone who has a business even mildly related music or food can easily use the domain.

You may be wondering how can one go about acquiring a domain name for themselves. Purchasing and registering a domain is a fairly simple process. To purchase a domain name you must go through an ICANN accredited registrar. The first step in registering a domain name is choosing a name. Most of the accredited registrar's have a search feature where you can type in the name that you want to see if it is still available. If the name you chose is not available they will show you alternatives that you might like. After you choose your name you will need to purchase it from the registrar. That is all that you need to do to purchase your domain, and it will be yours to use exclusively for one year. After the year is up you will be given the opportunity to renew ownership for another year. Most registrars will help you setup email addresses and a web page for your domain. When you purchase your domain name in addition to buying the .com domain, you may also want to buy the .net domain and the .org domain as well. This can help prevent someone from taking your idea and putting it on one of those other domains.

The resale of domain names has become a pretty large industry and there are plenty of people who participate. Many of the accredited registrars also host auctions where you can buy domains that might interest you. You can also sell domains that you purchased previously. The value of a domain varies, but some have sold for quite a lot of money. For example, the domain Sex.com sold for fourteen million dollars in 2010. A lot of people think that all of the good domains are gone, but this is doubtful considering new domains are created on a daily basis.

Domain name registration is very important especially with all of the new businesses that are only on the internet. Domain name registration is also important for any brick and mortar business that also wants a website. If you have plans to start a business regardless of whether or not it will only be online you definitely need to register a domain name that is related to your business as quickly as possible. Domain names can go really quickly especially if it is something that has recently become popular. Remember the binders full of women comment Mitt Romney made? The domain binders full of women was purchased within 90 seconds of him saying it.

As complicated as technology may sound when you break it down it really isnt. Domain names and domain name registration may sound mysterious, but in reality they are simply an address, your own personal space on the internet. Registering a domain name just lets everyone else know that it is yours.

Erin Gray is a professional author and webmaster who works for Discount Domains

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