An Introduction to Domaining and Domain Names – What is a Domain?

November 24, 2011 by  Filed under: Domain 

Domaining is perhaps best described by the “real estate of the web” analogy. One-word dictionary domains are your beach-front villas. Premium keyword domains are your two-story homes, the LLL.coms (Letter Letter Letter) are your land lots etc.

What Is A Domain Name?

A domain name is an entity’s registered name on the Internet.

In the past, a website was accessed by an IP address ( e.g. Because humans find it easier to remember keywords then numbers, and because a website may change it’s IP address multiple times during its lifetime, these days that IP address is represented by a domain name. Today, we type a domain name in the URL of our browser to access specific websites.

Each domain name has a suffix – an extension which indicates what top level domain (TLD) that domain belongs to. For example, belongs to the .com Tld.

Types Of Domain Names

Domains are classified by their top level domains (TLDs). Top level domains – TLDs – are the letters that follow the last dot of a domain name.

There are three types of top level domains currently identified by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA):

1. ccTLDs or Country Code Top Level Domains are used by countries and dependent territories. They are limited to two letters. Examples of ccTLDs are .us (United States), .de (Germany), .it (Italy).

The rules of registration of ccTLD domains vary from country to country. For example, Indian TLD domains (.in) can be registered by anyone, while Andorran TLD domains (.ad) can only be registered by Andorran entities (Andorran individuals and organizations).

2. gTLDs or Generic Top Level Domains were in theory meant to be used by specific types of organizations. Today, almost all gTLD domains can be purchased by anyone – with the exception of .mil and .gov which are restricted to US authorities. Examples of gTLDs are .com, .net, .info, .org, .asia etc.

3. iTLDs or Infrastructure Top Level Domains have a limited use. The only known iTLDs are .root and .arpa.

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