Hosting Guide #1: Domain Names – What Are They? Why Are They Important?
WHAT IS A DOMAIN NAME? AND WHAT CAN I DO WITH ONE?
On the Internet, your domain name is your unique identity. Any individual, business or organization planning to have a website should invest in a domain name.
Having your own domain name, will allow people to easily visit your website and send you emails which look authentic and professional (like email@example.com).
Another reason for a business to register a domain name is to protect copyrights and trademarks, build creditability, increase brand awareness, and search engine positioning.
An example of a domain name is michaelperes.com or facebook.com. Consequently, an email account with such a domain name would be firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, respectively.
HOW DOES A DOMAIN NAME WORK?
Before we discuss HOW domain names work, let’s first talk about IP Addresses:
An IP address, short for Internet Protocol address, is a unique identifier, or computer address for your website. Having an IP address allows a device to communicate with other devices over the internet. An example of an ip address is 188.8.131.52.
So here’s the obvious question: If domain names are unique identifiers for a website, and IP addresses are the same, why do we need both?
As it turns out, computers are great with numbers (IP addresses) and humans are great with names (Domain names), and this is why we have both.
Technically, all we need is an IP address to keep the robots happy. That IP address I listed above, 184.108.40.206, is in fact the IP address of google.com.
TRY IT OUT! You can either copy this address, 220.127.116.11, and paste it in the address bar of your browser, or click this linked address, 18.104.22.168 and notice Google’s page loads with just the IP address in the address bar. Cool, eh!?
In fact, a domain name is just to keep the humans from going crazy. It’s easy for us to remember google.com, compared to 22.214.171.124.
Now, all you need to buy is the domain name, you don’t need to worry about an IP address it moreless gets taken care of automatically. We’ll elaborate on such in a later guideline.
So, every time you type a domain name (like google.com) into a web browser, it is converted to its respective IP address (126.96.36.199) and sent off to the robots to fetch your requested website. The archive for IP addresses and domain names are stored on a DNS server.
A DNS server is a computer server that contains a database of public IP addresses and their domain names. Don’t worry about this, you now know more than enough to move on! 🙂