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What is a domain name? Beginner’s Guide

A domain name in the simplest way is your website name with the dot(.) TLD, ccTLD, and nowadays gTLD (COM, IN, and TECH) at the end. For example let’s consider this website NameEssence.com on which you are currently, here NameEssence is the website name and the .com is the TLD. You can also consider this as an address of a website that people type in the browser URL bar. For a beginner domain name concept seems a bit confusing but as you go along this post you will understand all about domain names.

TLD: Top-Level Domain (COM, NET, ORG)
ccTLD: Country code top-level domain (US, IN, CA)
gTLD: Generic top-level domain (TECH, XYZ, work)

If you are not familiar with the concept of TLD don’t worry you don’t need to know right away and we will be discussing them in our next blog post. It is an interesting and fascinating topic in itself. If we have a look at the structure of a typical URL that would look like:

How does a domain name actually work?

The Internet is a giant network of computers that is connected and is able to communicate with each other. Every computer has a unique IP address that looks like 11.222.33.4. These computers also store the files and information for your favorite website. As humans, it will be impossible for us to remember these strings of numbers for different sites. To solve this problem the concept of domain names was invented.

Domain Name System (DNS) plays an important role in the working of a domain name. It is managed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). A non-profit organization that is responsible for managing the DNS. To put it in simple terms it is the address book that has all the data about domain names and associated IP addresses. 

When we type in a URL in the browser, DNS will break the structure of the domain name going into the root of the TLD, then will identify the Name Servers (NS) associated with the name which are managed by the website’s hosting provider (ns1.nameserver.com). Which contains the DNS records which are mapped to an IP address. Then the hosting company will send the request to the computer where the files are stored. Lastly, the file/web page is sent back to the browser where the URL is requested. All this process happens in microseconds.

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