What Is Web Domain?
The web domain of your website is essentially the equivalent of a physical address. In the same way that a satellite needs an address or a zip code to give directions, a web browser needs a domain name to direct you to a website.
An internet domain is formed from two main elements. For example, the domain name Facebook.com consists of the website name (Facebook) and the domain extension (.com). When a company (or person) purchases a web domain, it can specify which server the domain name points to.
Every website you visit consists of two main elements: a web domain and a web server .
- A web server is a physical machine that hosts the files and databases that make up your website and sends them to people over the Internet when they visit your site from their computer.
- The web domain or internet domain is what people type to access your site, and points the web browser to the server that stores those resources. Without a web domain, people would have to remember the specific IP address of your server, and that just isn’t going to happen.
How do domains work?
Domains work by acting as a shortcut to the server that hosts your website.
Without a domain, anyone who wanted to visit your website would have to enter the full IP address. But the problem is that an IP address is difficult to memorize or include in advertising materials.
In our case, Hostinger.es is the domain. Let’s say it points to the IP address 100.90.80.70. The IP address points to a server, but does not resolve the website if visitors try to use it. This is because for an IP address to resolve a website, the remote server must use port 80 with a default page (i.e. index.html) stored in its web applications directory.
As you can see, messing with server defaults and IP addresses can be confusing and time consuming. This is why the vast majority of website owners choose to use a service like Hostinger that offers domains included in annual web hosting packages .
Domains can also use redirects, essentially allowing you to specify that if people visit your domain, they are automatically forwarded to another. This can be useful for campaigns and microsites, or for forwarding people to special pages on your main site. They can also be helpful in avoiding spelling confusion. For example, if you visit www.fb.com , you will be forwarded to www.facebook.com.
Different Types of Domains
Not all internet domains follow the same formula, and while .com domains make up 46.5% of all websites globally, that leaves plenty of room for other types of domains like .org and .net . In general, the most common types of domains include:
TLD: Top Level Domains
A top-level domain is exactly what its name says – a type of domain that sits at the top level of the Internet domain system. There are over a thousand TLDs available, but the most common include .com , .org , .net, and .edu .
The official list of TLDs is maintained by an organization called the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) and can be viewed here . IANA notes that the list of TLDs also includes ccTLDs and gTLDs, which we will talk about below.
ccTLD: Country Code Top Level Domains
The ccTLDs use only two letters and are based on international country codes, such as .es for Spain and .jp for Japan . They often used by companies creating dedicated sites for specific regions and can be a good way to signal users that they have come to the right place.
gTLD: Generic Top Level Domains
A gTLD is essentially a TLD that does not depend on a country code. Many gTLDs targeted for a specific use case, such as .edu , which targeted at educational institutions. That said, you don’t need to meet any specific criteria to register a gTLD, which is why .com is n’t just used for commercial purposes.
Other examples of gTLDs include .mil (military), .gov (government), .org (for nonprofits and other organizations), and .net. Which originally designed for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) but is now it has a much wider use.
Other Types of Domains
Although the categories of web domains mentioned above are the most frequent, there are other variations that you can find.
Second Level Domains
You have probably seen these domains before. We are talking about a domain that is directly below a top-level domain. We’re not going to get too technical here because it’s easier to show examples, particularly when it comes to country codes.
For example, British companies occasionally use .co.uk instead of .com, and it’s a perfect example of a second-level domain. Another second-level domain is .gov.uk , which often use by government institutions, and .ac.uk , which used by academic institutions and universities.
Subdomains are useful because they do not require webmasters to acquire an additional web domain to create divisions within their site. Instead, they can create a subdomain that effectively points to a specific directory on the server. This can be very useful for campaign sites and other types of web content that must be kept separate from the main site.
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