What Is a Domain Name?
Domain Name System (DNS) is the internet’s phone book equivalent. This friendly naming system provides addresses to servers on the web and web pages. The directory is maintained by domain names translated into IP addresses. Just like with international phone numbers, DNS systems give each server a memorable address that is easy to spell. Simultaneously, domain names hide the technical IP address that viewers are not interested.
Although everyone easily remembers domain names, computer devices access websites through IP addresses. Information from the DNS across the internet is gathered together and placed in one location within the Central Registry. Internet services provide and hosting companies interact through the Central Registry where they regularly schedule DNS information updates.
On typing a web address, your ISP checks the DNS associated with the name of the domain translates it into a friendly IP address device and directs your connection to the right website. After registering your domain name, once you update the DNS on your domain name, it takes around 12 hours to 36 hours for the worldwide DNS servers to be updated and allow access to the information. That period of 36 hours is what is called propagation.
Examples of domains names on the internet include, lifewire.com, nytimes.com, Wikipedia.org, Harvard.edu, japantimes.co.jp, monster.ca, Dublin.ie, spain.info, gamesindustry.biz, sourceforge.net, to mention but a few.
How it works
Domain names are arranged from right to left with the general descriptors on the right and the specific ones on the left. Think of family surnames falling on the right and the specific personal names on the left. The descriptors are what we call domains.
The TLD, or Top Level Domain, is the parent domain that is to the far right of the domain name. Mid-level domain names the children and grandchildren in our case are placed in the middle. And the name of the device, usually ‘www’ is on the far left.
Domain name levels are separated by periods, dots. For example, life wire is the midlevel domain name, and .com is the TLD. Like we saw earlier in the domain name examples, the combination of the two levels makes lifewire.com.
In America, most servers use three letter TLDs such as .com or, .edu. In other countries, most use two-letter TLDs such as .au, or a combination of two letters such as .co.jp.
It is important to note that domain names are not the same as URL even though it makes a large part of the URL. A URL is much more detailed than domain name providing more information including specific page addresses, machine names, folder names, and protocol language. An example is http://azureus.sourceforge.net/download.php
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