Are you trying to create a website? You are new to the Internet and creating websites and just came across a word – domain or domain name.
So what is a domain name? When you try to reach a website, what do you do? You type the address in the address bar of your web browser. For example, if you wan to visit Google, you type “www.google.com” in the browser. Here, “google.com” is the domain name. It is the address of the website.
All websites are hosted on Web servers which are powerful computer systems connected with the Internet. Every computer connected on the Internet (including your’s) is assigned an IP (Internet Protocol) address. It is a huge numeric value which is basically meant for computer machine, not humans. For example, Google’s IP address is 22.214.171.124. You can access Google by entering this value in your Web browser. Do you think it will be easy to remember this address?
To make sure that it is easy to reach websites, human-readable domain names were created. Domain names are easy-to-memorize address for websites. Each domain name has an IP address linked to it. When you type the domain name, the Web browser’s request is directed to the designated web server which hosts the website.
How does the computer know which IP address is linked to the domain name? Actually, it doesn’t. Each time you type a domain name in your Web browser, it sends the request to a Domain Name Server (DNS) to look up for the IP address. DNS servers are like online address books which maintain the record of domains and their IP address.
How does a DNS server know the IP address of a website? When you plan to start a website you get a domain name registered with a domain registrar. You also buy web hosting space or set up your own Web server. You link the IP address of your server (self or rented) to the domain name. The domain registrar keeps a record of the domains and IP addresses. This record is shared with all DNS servers across the globe. So when any person types a website’s URL address in his web browser, it connects to a DNS server (usually the one given by your Internet provider) for directions to the right Web server.
If “google.com” is the domain name, what is “www.google.com“? In crude terms, both of them are domain names. While “google.com” is the naked domain, www.google.com is the subdomain. You can have any number of subdomains for a domain. For example, you can have www.google.com, www1.google.com, news.google.com, video.google.com, i10.google.com, youtube.google.com or crazy.google.com. Do you notice that the “www” part can be replace with just anything? All of these are subdomains.
So what is “http” in http://www.google.com? It is the protocol (communication method) being used by the Web browser to communicate with the server. It is not part of the domain name.