Domain Name is a unique name identifying a website on the Internet. The site address entered in a browser is resolved to an IP address for looking up the requested content. Since it is difficult to remember IP addresses of many sites, domain names are used as a human memorable names equivalent to the numeral IP addresses for the sake of easiness.
Explanation of Domain Name
The complete domain name contains the followings:
- http:// – Transmission protocol
- .com – Domain extension, other examples include .org and .net
- webnots – Unique domain name
- www – Subdomain of a unique domain
When an URL is entered in the browser running on a local client computer, the browser gets the DNS server details from the network settings of your computer. DNS servers will have the required mapping of domain names to IP address and work like a network structure in hierarchy.
If the first DNS server does not have the mapping it will request the next level DNS server 2. This will continue till the time the IP address is obtained and the same is returned to the browser. (You will see a resolving host message till the time browser gets the IP address of the site you entered).
DNS Caching is used in every level including Chrome browser and your local PC or mac in order to save time during this resolving host process. This means browser and DNS servers cache the IP address of the host names and use it when the same request is requested next time though the real mapping is not available. Here is another issue of IP change, if the IP is changed for a particular site you try open then the cached IP returned by the DNS servers will not match with the new IP of the site. Again browser will try to resolve the host till the time it gets the correct IP.
How Browser Displays a Webpage?
This whole communication happens through TCP/IP protocol structured in every computer. Once the IP address is known, the browser will directly broadcast request to the server through Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and get the required HTML code of the webpage. The codes are then interpreted by the browser to display it in a readable format and you see an attractive webpage.
Note the followings:
- It is not necessary that all domain names should be associated with an IP address.
- It is also not necessary that all domain names should be associated with an unique IP address. For example, in shared hosting scenario many domains are mapped to a single IP address.
- Though generic top level domains like .com, .net or .org do not have an IP address, most of the country specific top level domains like .us or .ca may have an IP address associated to it.
How to Buy a Domain?
Domain names are to be registered with the domain registrars like GoDaddy who are authorized by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names And Numbers). The domain name registration fee includes the fee for registrars and the fee for ICANN and ranging anything from free to $15 per month. Generally domain names are offered as a free add-on service for one year along with main hosting or site building services.
Domain names are registered for a particular period of time and needs to be extended before it expires for further duration. Search engines also consider the length of domain registration period since it indicates the planned online presence of a site. Note that it is also possible to buy a domain from one registrar and then transfer to another.
Domain Name Extensions
More than 90% of the websites use one of the popular extensions like .com, .net or .org. However, there are more than 100 domain extensions available for you to choose like .ai, .online, .store, .life. .vip, etc. Sites like GoDaddy will suggest different domain extensions when the searched .com domain is not available for sale. As you can see, same name costs you differently based on the domain extension and the duration of registration. For example, .ai extension will cost $59.99 for the first year for two years registration. Make sure to understand the renewal price which is much more than the initial offer.
The above examples are called top-level domains. In addition, you can also register for a country specific domain for a specific country. For example, google.com is a global domain primarily used in US and the country specific domains include google.co.jp for Japan and google.co.in for India.
Building a Website
Domain name is only an address to your website to connect the pages saved on a hosting server. Once you have purchased a domain the next step is to buy a hosting space and install any content management systems (CMS) on it. There are many CMS like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc. and you can choose one suitable for your need. CMS is the front end helps to create web pages and store it on a hosting server. Visitors can access your web pages stored on a hosting server through your domain name. Learn more on how to create your own blog.
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