What is a Domain Name ?

[Disclaimer : The article doesn't deal into technical part of domain name, but an overview for people who wants to know more about domain names. It will be also an introduction, if you are looking to invest in domain names.]

You are reading this on internet, you visit different websites everyday. Almost, all the time you use domain names. Surprised? So, what you do when you want to search something on internet? Most likely you visit some search engine like Google, by typing http://www.google.com in your internet browser’s address bar. right?

Now, let’s analyze what you did just did to search on Google.  You typed http://www.google.com . This is a web address, also known as URL (Uniform Resource Locator).

Let’s analyze this URL from right to left, com is Top Level Domain Name, google is Second Level Domain Name, www is Third Level Domain Name, in this context also a hostname.Each level of domain name is separated by dot (.).Each level of domain can have theoretically, infinite number of sub-domains and infinite level of subdomains.These top level domains (TLDs) are categorized as gTLD (Global TLD) or ccTLD (Country Code TLD). Global TLD are those which is directly contracted by ICANN and anyone in world can register a domain name under most of gTLD.ccTLD rights are delegated to respective countries. It’s possible the country in turn can put restriction or about availability for it , to be registered by someone from other geographical area.

Global Top Level Domains(gTLD) - .com,.net,.org,.info,.biz etc Less than 20 gTLD  more than 20 gTlds exists. (Thanks to Samit http://twitter.com/mwzd for correction)

Country code Top Level Domain - .in,.de,.us,.be etc – More than 200 ccTLD exists.


  • ICANN – Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is a non profit organization who are responsible to manage Top Level domain(TLD) name space (DNS root zone).
  • Top level domain name Registry – ICANN appointed body (mostly contracted) for Top Level Domains that manages and maintains domain registration data for respective Top Level Domains (TLD).
  • Domain Name Registrar – As per WikiPedia A domain name registrar is an organization or commercial entity, accredited by a generic top-level domain registry (gTLD) and/or by a country code top-level domain (ccTLD) registry, to manage the reservation of Internet domain names in accordance with the guidelines of the designated domain name registries and to offer such services to the public.

Keyword-Extension Model for explaining registration of domain name

All gTLD domain names can be registered at Second Level domain name like Google.com, att.net,wikipedia.org etc (Here, Google, att and wikipedia are keywords and .com,.net,.org are extensions). However,some ccTLD registry allow registration at third level domain instead of second level domains. Like UK allows registration like google.co.uk, example.co.uk (Here google and example are keywords while .co.uk is extension, which is in turn second level domain ). A few countries allow registration at second level domain and third level domain at the same time. Like Indian extension .in, you can see domains like ebay.in and google.co.in. Although ebay is second level domain and google is third level domain in this example, for domaining term one can say ebay and gooogle are keywords while .in and .co.in are extensions.

Why Domain Names

You would be surprised to know that internet data does not travels based on domain names but numerical representation of it, called IP Address. Format of a typical IP address When you request a page using URL, Domain name is resolved by DNS server to an IP address.As you can think of, remembering something with IP address would be not easy. That is the reason domain names were invented.Its very easy to remember Insurance.com, Business.com etc, but it would be difficult to remember or There are other technical aspect as well about co-relation of domain name and IP address, but easier recall value of Domain Names over IP address is prime reason why domain names exists.

What you get when you decide to register a domain name

You may register an available domain between 1 to 10 years for most of the extension. What you get is exclusive rights to use the domain name for period of registration and renewal date. You can sale this right to other person or entity by transferring the exclusive right to use the domain name. The domain which are already registered and sold to other entity as new “owner” is known as buying or selling in secondary market. Secondary market is also sometime called as “aftermarket”.

If you are looking for detail about the topics of Domain Name and URL, you may visit following links.




Hope, you got pretty good idea about “what is a domain name”. Please post your comments and questions using comment section of this post.Happy Domaining!!

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