What is a domain? Is it the same as URL? Does it refer to the website’s name? Or does it refer to .COM?
These are some of the commonly asked questions we ask when we become interested in the making of a website. The technical explanation of a domain is defined by the device’s IP address which is identified by a 4-part number. This numerical information is used to access the Internet or the web site. As the web sites available on the Internet are numerous, it is almost impossible to remember and locate every IP address. Therefore, a domain name helps to make the process easier.
With the implementation of the Domain Name System (DNS), we can now match names to the numerical address of the website. The DNS will connect and sync these names with IP addresses. In other words, the domain name is an alias of the IP address numerical code.
What is a URL?
The entire link that you see on your browser address bar is the Universal Resource Locator (URL) link. For example, the full URL link of this blog you are currency reading link is https://www.exabytes.sg/blog/what-is-a-domain/. A URL comprises a scheme, domain and subdirectory.
A scheme informs you the protocol used to access a website. ‘HTTPS’ (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is the most common scheme used for a more secure and encrypted browsing experience. The subdirectory indicates a particular section of a webpage you are on while browsing the website.
In this essence, a domain is part of the URL link. Hubspot gave an excellent yet easy to understand explanation of the URL structure.
Components of a Domain
The most commonly used third-level domain (or subdomain) refers to “www” which is the first part of the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) link. You can also add a subdomain that is associated with your main domain, e.g. myname.yoursite.com. This separates and organizes your content for a specific purpose from the rest of your website. Check out over here if you want to know how to create a subdomain.
The second-level domain refers to the name of the website “exabytes” in our case. When you are searching for an available website name at Exabytes, you are actually looking for a second-level domain. This is an important part of your website for people to remember.
The top-level domain (TLD) refers to the letters at the end of the URL link. It tells you the nature of the website, such as its purpose, geographical area or even the organization that owns it. For example “exabytes.sg”, ‘.sg’ is the TLD.
An interesting fact behind the labeling of these components is that the web browser reads it from right to left. As the letters after the last dot are the first thing it reads, these letters, for example ‘.com,’ ‘.sg,’ ‘.org,’ are recognized as the TLD.
Knowing the relationship between the domain, URL, and website, it is a step forward in building your website. It also gives you insights on giving you more control over your brand, as well as helping you run your business in the right direction.
Nonetheless, you are not alone in this journey. There are professionals who can guide you with the basics or fix issues so that you can operate your business smoothly.