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  What Is a Domain Name?

What is a domain name?

  • Why do I need a domain name?
  • When should I get a domain name?
  • What is an IP address?
  • What’s the “www” part about?
  • How do domain names work?

PRO TIP

Never, ever let anyone own a domain name for you. There is NEVER a reason to transfer a domain name to another person. NEVER let anyone purchase a domain name for you. If your name is not listed as the Registrant on the WHOIS information of your domain you don't own it. In many cases, you cannot successfully sue to get control of a domain in dispute when you don't own it and/or are not the named registrant.

If a developer or anyone else tells you they need your domain transferred to their account, or they will buy a domain and hold it for you, don't let them. With some registrars, you can give admin control without giving up ownership. You can always ask them to tell you in detail what they need and then contact your domain registrar support to complete their request.

No one likes to think about bad things that might never happen. But, if you lose control of your domain to someone who has a disagreement with you, you're in big trouble. They can point your domain so no one can get to your website content. They can render your incoming and outgoing email to your domain useless.

Domain Names Are Like Mailing Addresses

A domain name, for example, myartiststudio.com, is similar to a street address for a house or business. For instance, the street address of the White House is 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20500. With that information, you can navigate to the exact place where the White House stands.

Every website has numerical address known as an IP address, which is an acronym for Internet Protocol. Domain names make it easy for humans to recognize and remember numerical addresses. Domain names are assigned to identify IP addresses of a website. When you know the domain name, it's easy to reach the exact location of a website without having to remember its IP (numeric) address.

Domain Names Have Levels

A domain name consists of, at least, a top-level and a second-level domain. A top-level domain (TLD) is the part of the domain name located to the right of the dot ("."). The most common TLDs are .com, .net, and .org. Many domains, also called extensions, can be registered by anyone, like .com, .net, and .org. Many dozens of new TLDs have been added in recent years. Examples include gallery, .club. .marketing., .pizza and more. The jury is still out on the whether they will catch on and get widespread use by the public.

A second level domain (SLD) is the portion of the domain name that is located immediately to the left of the dot and domain name extension. For example, an SLD for myartiststudio.com is blog.myartiststudio.com. These are also known as sub-domains.

Advanced Domain Name Description:

A domain name represents a physical point on the Internet — an IP address. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) governs coordination of the links between IP addresses and domain names across the Internet. With this standardized coordination, you can find websites on the Internet by entering domain names instead of IP addresses into your Web browser.