Every website has a name. Where does that name come from? What is a domain name? A domain is simply an address for your website, referred to as a URL. These names were created to make Internet Protocol or IP addresses easier to access and remember.
An IP address consists of a string of numbers assigned to every individual computer. Finding a specific website in Windsor is easy when you know the domain name or URL of the site. And thankfully you do not need to remember the IP.
How Do Domain Names Work?
To understand how domains work, you need to know what a DNS (Domain Name Server) is. If you use the internet, you have used the DNS. This type of server is similar to a phone book. The domains are translated into IP addresses so your request can be routed to the server and website you want.
This is similar to calling a phone number to reach the person you want to talk to. Except in this case the numbers call the server. The DNS is necessary because the basis of domains is IP addresses. Without a naming system, reaching the website you want would be much harder. When you enter a domain in a browser, your browser searches the DNS database for the specific IP address of that domain. The result is a direct connection to the website of your choice.
Rather than numbers you remember the domain – like cowlickstudios.com.
Hosting and Domains
When a domain name is registered, you receive a web address, not a website or hosting (those are additional services the domain company may offer). To build a website, the first step is to choose and register a domain name. Second, once your website is built, you need to find a host so visitors can view your site. We are getting ahead of ourselves now but you can read more about Website hosting here.
Another way to think of it is like a street address and a house. You planned a visit the inhabitants of the house. First you have to go to their address and the house “contains” the people you want to see. Think of your website domain like the street and number of the house. When you go to that address you see the house. The house is like the website server it “contains” the people you want to visit. So the domain takes you to the server that displays the website.
Where do domains come from?
Your domain name comes from the DNS system where domains are coordinated, maintained and managed. This is a regulated system that helps ensure the infrastructure of the internet runs smoothly. Control over top level domains like .com, .org and .net is delegated by ICANN to registrars. These registrars are companies responsible for the management and selling of domain names. Examples of registrars are GoDaddy or NameCheap.
How are New Names Released?
Top level domains are the appendix of a url, .com or .org for example. These were originally released at different times and the originals are becoming scarce. For that reason there are new top level domains available like .rocks or .design. or .website.
Domains are released in stages:
This stage offers trademark holders the opportunity to register their names before anyone else. This ensures their brands receive protection earlier. This eliminates concerns regarding remembering to renew numerous different names. Others are also prevented from using any of these names.
The second stage is called the Landrush. This stage enables anyone to bid for the most preferable name for their website design. Depending on the name you want, the process varies. You can apply for the name you want. If more than one person applies for the same name, an auction is necessary. This is common with the more attractive and desirable names.
The final stage is general availability. Names now become available to the general public. You can choose from any names remaining. The first to select the name is the recipient. If the name you requested is available, it can be registered under your name immediately. Although the process varies according to the specific extension, most purchase process are similar.
Generally you would not notice the first two stages. You would just go to the registrar website and purchase a domain.