What is a Domain Name and How Does It Work?
Before you actually start looking for the perfect domain name for your website I’d like to explain some basic terms that everyone needs to know. So...
What is a Domain name?
In short, domain names were created to make IPs (Internet Protocol addresses) more human-friendly.
Please don’t freak out! I’m not getting techier than this.
But it’s good to know a thing or two about how the internet works, right? After all, you use it every day and domain names and IP addresses are its building block.
Think of your physical address. In order to get the everyday mail with all the bills and flyers ( that we all love to receive ), the sender needs to know where you live, right?
It’s very similar with IPs.
Look at this number, for example, 22.214.171.124.
That’s the IP address of one of Facebook’s main servers. Every time you text a friend, your message is being transmitted to this server using the IP as a destination point.
What happens next?
The server will automatically obtain the IP address of your friend’s phone or PC and transfer the message to him/her.
Of course, you don’t need to know the IP address of Facebook or your friend in order to communicate. All you have to do is type the domain name - facebook.com in your URL bar.
The reasons why domain names exist is that long strings of random-looking numbers are hard to remember. Unlike computers that work with digits, we humans need something easier to refer to.
And this is where domain names come handy.
They are just linked to the IP addresses. There is also something called the Domain Name System (DNS) that automatically “translates” the website domain name into IP addresses and vice versa.
It is something like the phone book of the internet.
You now know that every website on the internet has a unique domain name which points to an IP address that on the other hand points to the actual server where all the site content (text documents, pictures, and videos ) is being stored.
In order just to browse the web (extract content from servers located in far away from you) all you need is an IP address for your device. It is automatically distributed to your phone or laptop every time you connect to the internet.
This is the reason why your Google search queries don’t get mixed up with someone else’s who is connected to the same Wi-Fi hotspot or network.
But if you are building a website then you are going to need a domain name so people can find you easier. You are also going to need a storage space for your site’s content (web hosting).
The domain name must be registered before you can use it for building your website. The easiest way to register it is through a domain name registrar such as BlueHost which is what I use for this website.
Keep in mind that every domain is unique and no two websites can use the same domain name.