What is a domain name and why would I want one?

Written by Ewan Bain

In this article we will coverrepparttar basics of what a domain name is, how they work and why you need to have at least one. I am going to try and avoid complicated computer terms and stick to explanations that should be easily understood by someone without a computer science degree.

What is a Domain Name? Before we can go into what a domain name is I'm going to tell you why we need them asrepparttar 108269 answers compliment each other. The Internet is just a really big collection of connected computers (a network). Forrepparttar 108270 purpose of explaining domain names you can think ofrepparttar 108271 Internet a bit likerepparttar 108272 phone system and just likerepparttar 108273 phone system every computer onrepparttar 108274 Internet has it's own phone number except an Internet phone number is called an IP addresses. This address is made up of up to 12 digits inrepparttar 108275 form, computers use these IP addresses to send information to each other overrepparttar 108276 Internet.

Whenrepparttar 108277 Internet was first created it quickly became clear that these IP addresses were not easy to remember and another method was need to make these addresses more human friendly. The solution to this wasrepparttar 108278 Domain Name System (DNS). Basicallyrepparttar 108279 DNS is a really really big phone book for computers. When you type a web site address into your web browser it checksrepparttar 108280 DNS for that website name and findsrepparttar 108281 IP address. Once it hasrepparttar 108282 IP address it can then send a message to that computer and ask it forrepparttar 108283 web page you wanted.

Ok so you know a domain name is part of a web site address but which part? Lets look at a website address so we can identify and discuss what bit of it is a domain name. http://www.itxcel.com/index.html

The above address isrepparttar 108284 home page ofrepparttar 108285 itXcel web site. It can be split into 3 main parts. The first part is http:// this just tells your web browser what kind of information it is going to get and how to get it. The last part is /index.html this is name ofrepparttar 108286 files onrepparttar 108287 remote computer that you want your browser to get. The bit inrepparttar 108288 middle www.itxcel.com is a domain name. This isrepparttar 108289 name that your computer sends torepparttar 108290 DNS to get backrepparttar 108291 IP address.

So you know what a domain name is and that there is a phone book calledrepparttar 108292 DNS to change your easy to remember domain name into an IP address that you computer can understand. The Internet phone book (DNS) is special in that everyone onrepparttar 108293 Internet needs to be able to use it. This makesrepparttar 108294 DNS very very big (100+ million addresses big). Due torepparttar 108295 size of this phone book it needed to have a carefully organised and managed structure.

Domain names themselves are split into different levels like a hierarchy. The DNS system uses this hierarchy to searchrepparttar 108296 DNS forrepparttar 108297 IP address ofrepparttar 108298 domain name it is trying to find. The last bit of a domain, inrepparttar 108299 previous examplerepparttar 108300 com part is calledrepparttar 108301 top level domain. There are a large selection of top level domains like com, net, org and info. There are also very similar endings called country level domains like uk and de. Each ofrepparttar 108302 top level and country level domains are managed by a different organization, sometimes these are companies or non profit organizations and sometimes governments. Inrepparttar 108303 domain business these organisations are referred to asrepparttar 108304 registries. Each registry looks after it's own part ofrepparttar 108305 domain name system. If you decide you want to use a domain name inrepparttar 108306 top level domain com, like mycompany.com you would have to have this name assigned byrepparttar 108307 registry that manages that top level domain (for .com a US company called VeriSign). The process of being assigned a domain name is called domain registration.

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