We are often asked by beginners: what is a domain name and how do domains work? If you are a beginner, then you may have heard that you need a domain to establish a website.
However, many newcomers confuse domain name with a website or website hosting provider. If you are just starting out, then all these distinct phrases may sound excessively technical.
What is a Domain Name?
A domain name (also known as a URL or web address) is a human-friendly address. In order to make IP (Internet Protocol) addresses more accessible and easier to remember, it was developed.
Every computer has an IP address, which is a unique string of numbers. For the uninitiated, an IP address like 184.108.40.206 is hard to remember unless you’re Sheldon Cooper. However, 123-reg.co.uk is a domain name.
Hence, domains were created: to make it easier to access a website’s location without having to remember its numeric location.
How Domain Names Actually Work?
What occurs when you type the URL into your browser will help us understand how domain names function. Your web browser first sends a request to the global network of servers that make up the Domain Name System (DNS) when you type in a domain name (DNS).
Thereafter, these servers look up for the domain’s corresponding name servers, and then send that request to them.
If your website is hosted by Bluehost, for example, the following is the information for your name servers:
Your hosting firm is in charge of these name servers. To access your website, you’ll need to use a web hosting service.
A web server is the name given to this machine. It’s equipped with specialized software (Apache, Nginx are two popular web server software). The web server now retrieves the web page and its related data. Finally, this data is sent back to the browser by the server.
Different Types of Domain Names
Domain names are offered in many distinct extensions. The most common one is .com. There are numerous other alternatives including .org, .net, .tv, .info, .io, and more. However we usually recommend utilizing .com domain extension.
Let’s take a more deep look at different types of domain names accessible.
Top Level Domain – TLD
Top level domain or TLD are generic domain extensions that are listed at the highest level in the domain name system.
There are hundreds of TLDs, but the most common ones are .com, .org, and .net. Other TLDs are lesser recognized and we don’t encourage utilizing them. For example, .business, .club, .info, .agency, and many more.
Country Code Top Level Domain – ccTLD
Nation code top-level domain or ccTLD are country specific domain names which end with country code extension like .uk for the United Kingdom, .de for Germany, .in for India.
They are used by websites that seek to target audiences in a given country.
Sponsored Top Level Domain – sTLD
Sponsored top-level domain or sTLD is a category of TLDs that has a sponsor representing a specific community served by the domain extension.
For example, .edu for education-related institutions, .gov for the United States government, .mil for the United States military, and others.
How to Buy a Domain Name?
There are numerous domain name registrars from which you can purchase domain names. There is a standard annual fee for a domain name of $14.99. Some well-known domain name registrars include:
- Domain.com is an example of a domain name (Use this Domain.com coupon to get a discount)
- Secondly, Network Solutions (use our Network Solutions coupon code to get 25 percent off).
- Go Daddy
However, registering a domain name does not entitle you to hosting. You’ll also need a web hosting account to do that.
It’s common for WordPress hosting providers to also offer domain registration services. As a result, you don’t have to bother about altering the name server settings for your domain with this service.
Bluehost is our preferred hosting provider. For WPBeginner users, they’re giving them a free domain name and a 60% discount on hosting. Starting at $2.75 a month, you can get started.