What is domain name and how it works?

What is domain name and how it works?

When you start looking for how to take your business online, you will come across terms like domain registration, hosting and so on. We tend to correlate the term ‘domain’ to business domains like finance, sales, healthcare etc. However, this domain name in the context of website and online presence has a different meaning and implication. In this post, we will try to understand what is domain name and how this domain thing works in a simplified technical terms. In the next post, we will deal with its business implication.

Internet and IP addresses

From our knowledge of business world, each company has a unique name, its own unique logo and office address. All these efforts are to easily get located in the crowded market by a customer. Obviously, same has to get reflected for its web office i.e. company website.

Let’s see how this works. When we create a group of connected computers in our office, it is called a network. Internet is a network made up of such many networks. Here, each computer is identified by a unique number called internet address of IP address. It looks something like this 192.2.10.1. As computers understand numbers, they can communicate with each other using such numbers. But, what about us, humans. We will not be able remember such numbers, forget about remembering many such numbers for each of service we are searching for.

Considering this limitation, a system called Domain Name System (DNS) was created.

Domain Name System (DNS)

Domain Name System tries to give a unique names for websites. For example, when if want to reach Magicworks company’s office on web, you type a name (technically it is called a URL: Uniform Resource Locator) https://magicworkshost.com/  rather than typing in something clumsy like 23.25.26.27. Such names are more user friendly and easy to remember.

Now, the catch is computers do not understand these names. So, you need someone who will tell the computers on the internet the IP address corresponding to magicworkshost.com. And our domain name system or servers exactly do this. When they are contacted by the web browser, they return the IP address of the server/computer on which your website is hosted. This way, customers searching for your services land into your web office( i.e. website).

Domain Name Registration

Now you know that domain name system should know the IP address of your website. Hence, when you want to create and publish you own website on internet, two things are mandatory.

  1. A unique name for your business website
  2. Registering this domain name with the DNS system

Advantages of Domain registration

You may be able to establish your online presence even without buying your own domain name. However, buying your own is a more advisable option. Here is why.

  1. Registering domain doesn’t cost much.
  2. When you do not have your own domain name, you use any third party vendor’s platform to create your website. In this case the website URL may be longer and thus not very easy to remember. Also, there is a risk that your content may vanish if the vendor shuts down its platform for some reason.
  3. When your website name matches or is aligned with you company name or brand, it sounds more authentic for a new visitor coming to your website.
  4. There is one more advantage you might not have thought of. Unique Domain name is great value because it represents a brand. Selling domain names is a multi million dollar business.
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