Domain Name

What is a Domain Name?

A domain name is a user-friendly way of accessing a series of files that are related and stores on a server. Most domain names are made up of words or names that can be easily typed into the address bar of a browser such as Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari.

When a domain name is entered an online table is looked up to find the actual Internet address that corresponds to the physical location of all the files that make up the underlying website. So in a sense a domain name is just a convenient and often memorable shorthand for an Internet address.

Domain names are purchaseable and any business operating online really needs to have one. They are cheap now although in the early days of the Internet they were expensive. You can buy domains for a few dollars or less now although the cost is on-going and you may have to renew your domain name every year, again for a small fee. This fee goes to the business that organises the domain for you with a mandatory payment to the official Internet domain controller called ICANN.

Once you have acquired a domain you will need to assign a nameserver to it. This is the Internet address that corresponds to the physical server on which you will store your web pages.

For example, the domain name is associated with two nameservers on which all the pages of this site are stored. A domain name is a bit like giving your house a name when its real address is a number. It becomes easier to remember especially when numeric web addresses are actually 12 digits long and set to get longer.

Domain name selection is an important aspect of establishing your online presence and it pays to give it some thought. You also need to be careful not to use as a domain name a term or phrase that is trademarked.