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How Domain Names Work: A Quick Overview

When you are about to build your website, you are most likely going to get introduced to a number of terms for the very first time. Terms like domain names, server, IP address, DNS, SSL, and every other technical jargon that you might come across depending on what you are trying to achieve.

We decided to share this post as a way to help you understand, at least, how domain names work. Consider this a quick way for you to understand domain names.

What is a Domain Name?

A domain name is a readable character that is composed of two main parts as a way of making websites easier to access. The two parts of a domain name are the top-level (domain suffix) and second-level (domain) domains. Top-level domains (TLDs) include .com, .net, and others while second-level domains include google, yahoo, and the likes.

The Domain name for Spectrohost is spectrohost.com. It is also important to note that domain names actually point to IP addresses where the resources for a website are actually hosted.

What is a URL?

URL refers to Uniform Resource Locator and is a more complete way for getting specific sections of a website.

A URL will normally contain the following:

  • Protocol (usually http or https)
  • subdomain (most of the time is www)
  • domain name (consists of top-level and second-level domain)
  • directory (location of the content in the website folder)
  • web page (by default is index page)

The URL helps to jump to specific sections or pages on a website to ensure that you can find information faster.

What is a subdomain?

There are times when you want to have a variation of your website on the same domain. This can be for different reasons like having a different theme or language or region-specific content. subdomains are often used to make this happen.

A good example of this is google.com and docs.google.com. The main site is a search engine while the subdomain is for a cloud app that is run by Google to provide public access to their app.

How are Domain Names Registered?

Domain names are registered with bodies called domain registrars. Registrars share Domain information in domain name systems.

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is the body that is at the top of ensuring that registrars comply with the laws that guide domain name registration and ownership.

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