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What Is A Domain Name

October 10, 2013
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One of the first things you need to do when planning your online presence is pick a domain name. I will try to explain what a domain name is, why it’s important to you, and how to pick one that will be most effective for you.

What Is A Domain Name?

The internet is essentially a bunch of computers which are linked together with each other using a network protocol called TCP/IP. In order for each computer to be unique from each other they are assigned what is called an IP address (ex: 123.12.123.12). Each one of these computers (servers) have a unique IP address making it completely impossible to remember each one of these series of numbers in order to reach a website, this is where domain names were introduced. A domain name is much like your street address, it’s a readable representation of the IP address. When you type in a domain name like HarvestWebDesign.com, the browser talks with a root domain name server that acts as a dictionary and provides the appropriate IP.

What Are the Different Parts of A Domain?

A domain name consists of two parts: a top-level domain (TLD) and a second-level domain (SLD). In the domain name HarvestWebDesign.com, the TLD is “.com” and the SLD is “HarvestWebDesign” The “http” and “www” are not part of the domain name; rather, they are part of the entire web address, called a URL. So, when you choose your domain name, you are only concerned with the TLD and SLD.

.com is just one of many TLDs from which you can choose. Your choices include variations such as .net, .org, .biz, .us and many more you may have never seen. The major deciding factor when selecting a TLD is availability. For example, mystore.com may be taken while mystore.net may still be available. The second factor affecting your TLD choice may be price. A .cc domain is typically more expensive than a .com domain.

The SLD is where you get to choose something that describes your business. You can get creative here and design something that fits your business exactly. You may only use alphanumeric characters and hyphens, though hyphens can not be used adjacently. Symbols and blank spaces are also not permitted in domain names. For instance, yourshop.com, your-shop.com, and your-shop123.com are all good domains, but your–shop.com, your$shop.com, and your&shop.com are all unacceptable domains.

Now that we know what a domain name is, we can move on to learn how to pick the one that will be most effective for your online visibility.

Click here to move on to How to Pick the Right Domain.

If you need help with your domain name please Contact Us so we can assist you with all your website needs.

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