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Domain Names Explained: Key Terms To Understand About Domain Names

Paul Flyer

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Metropolitan areas are made up of property. Any piece of land typically has an address: 123 Elm Street. The property can also be developed and a house can be built upon the land.

On the Internet, websites are like the houses and buildings. Domain names are the addresses to those structures.

While it does get a little more complicated than the above illustration, it is helpful to think of the Internet in those terms.

Key terms you should know:

Internet - The collective whole of networked computers across the globe. This includes the World Wide Web, email, FTP and other protocols.

World Wide Web - a portion of the Internet where most websites reside. It is graphically capable and is supported by such languages as HTML and CSS.

URL - Universal/Uniform Resource locator - this is the complete unique address of a website on the World Wide Web. It is made up of three components: the protocol, the host type and the host name. HTTP:// is the protocol. WWW is the host type. is the host name (domain name). Put them together to get:

HTTP - Hypertext transfer protocol. The protocol of the World Wide Web.

Top Level Domains - the suffix on the end of the domain name proper: . COM, . NET, . ORG, . BIZ, etc.

Second level domains - the name portion of a domain. In, .com is the top level domain and “example" is the second level domain.

Subdomains - These could be called third level domain names. They are attached as prefixes to the second level domain. In news., “news" is the subdomain.

Domain Name - The registered domain name with the attached protocol:

Registered Domain Name - the second level and top level domain put together:

ccTLD - country code Top Level Domain Names Examples: . us, .de, . es

Domain Registrar - a company that registers domain names for individual users.

DNS - Domain Name System - The system by which domain names are translated into IP Addresses.

IP Address - a number representing the “address" of a network or a computer.

ICANN - Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. This organization manages the DNS.

Paul Flyer writes about domain name resources on his Recommended Web Tools website. For more information on choosing, registering and managing domain names, download his free ebook, The Domain Name Handbook at


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