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What is a Domain Name and How Do They Work?

Are you considering of establishing your personal web site or beginning a blog but feeling a bit daunted by the prospect? For these new to net design, there is a lot to study and think about – however don’t fear! In this article, we cowl the first step of any net undertaking – the area identify.

Learn on to seek out out exactly what a domain identify is and achieve an in-depth take a look at how they work. We’ll explain technical terms like IP addresses, the Domain Name System (DNS), and prime degree domains (TLDs). We’ll then share some prime recommendations on how to decide on a domain identify, where to purchase one, what you’ll be able to anticipate to pay, and a lot far more. Are you able to get began?

What is a Domain Name?

Quite simply, a area identify is the handle of your website. It is the identify that folks sort into the URL bar of their browser to seek out your website.

The area identify for this website, for instance, is

Domain names could be bought via a area registrar or by means of your hosting supplier. They are additionally typically offered at no cost by hosting corporations or website builders.

How Do Domain Names Work?

Domain names are crucial, as they allow computers to seek out the server where your web site is hosted. Web site information can then be retrieved from that server, allowing users to entry your website on their browsers.

But to completely understand this course of, you first want an understanding of what an IP handle is, and how the Domain Name System allows computer systems to translate domains into IP addresses. Let’s discover out more…

What is an IP Tackle?

Each pc and server has its own IP tackle – a string of distinctive numbers which might be separated by full stops. Computer systems use these IP addresses to connect and communicate with each other, and importantly discover and retrieve net knowledge.

An IP handle seems something a bit like this

Nevertheless, remembering strings of numbers is not attainable for most people, which is where domains come into play. As an alternative of having to sort in an IP tackle, when someone needs to open a web site they merely sort the domain identify into their browser.

The Domain Name System then transfers this domain identify into an IP handle, which is the handle of the server that hosts the web site. The server can then shortly be contacted, and the website served to the consumer.

To know this further, let’s look in more depth at how the Domain Name System works…

What is the DNS?

Domain names are a part of a a lot bigger network referred to as the Domain Name System (DNS). The DNS is managed by the Web Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). This non-profit organization is liable for the on-going maintenance and management of the DNS, creating policies and regulating domain registrars.

The DNS is a giant community of servers which are situated across the globe. These servers include a distributed database of IP addresses and act like an handle guide, transferring domains into IP addresses. Servers can then be situated, and websites requested and served to browsers.

How Does the DNS Work?

When a area identify is typed into your browser, within the first occasion the computer will verify its cache to see if it has previously requested that domain. If not, it’s going to then contact the native DNS server (often offered by the internet service provider (ISP)). If, again, there are not any data of this area identify within the ISP cache, then the pc will next have to locate the identify servers associated with that area.

To do so, the local DNS server will break the area identify into sections. For instance, can be damaged down into .com, makeawebsite, and www. The .com part, often known as a prime degree domain (TLD), might be investigated first – the native DNS server will hook up with a root identify server to seek out out which server holds the area info for this TLD. Once recognized, it should then contact this subsequent server to seek out out which identify server holds particulars on the second a part of the domain identify (makeawebsitehub).

The identify servers are managed by your web site’s internet hosting provider. They include the DNS data of given domains and map domain names to IP addresses. As soon as the pc has situated the identify servers on your web site, your hosting company will forward the request to the pc where your web site is hosted. The online web page is then despatched to the browser that initially put out the request.

Although simplified, the above ought to offer you an concept of how the DNS works. Let’s subsequent discover out concerning the several types of domain identify extensions which are obtainable…

Totally different Forms of Domain Name Extensions


All domains are made up of a web site identify (ie – makeawebsitehub) and a prime degree domain (ie – .com). Domain identify extensions range tremendously, and it is helpful to know the several types of top-level domains which might be out there so you buy the fitting one in your venture.

Prime-level area options embrace…

  • Generic Prime-Degree Domains (gTLDs)
  • Sponsored Prime-Degree Domains (sTLDs)
  • Nation Code Prime-Degree Domains (ccTLDs)

The DNS is a hierarchical system, and there are additionally additional ranges of area extensions, including second and third degree domains, which you’ll be able to incorporate in your domain (which we’ll cowl additional on on this article).

Generic Prime-Degree Domains (gTLDs)

Greatest apply is to use a reputable TLD like .com, .org, or .internet in your domain identify. Nevertheless, because of the sheer variety of domain names which were registered thus far, it might be arduous to seek out an applicable identify with one in every of these extensions. If this is the case, then you possibly can look to make use of a totally different, lesser-known, TLD. Examples of generic TLDs embrace…

  • .com (business)
  • .org (organizational)
  • .internet (community)
  • .biz (business)
  • .information (info)

The record of TLDs is in depth and may be found on the IANA (Web Assigned Numbers Authority) web site. (The IANA manages all TLDs).

There are a number of prime degree domains which are sponsored by businesses or organizations for specific use. These embrace…

  • .gov (utilized by US authorities authorities)
  • .int (utilized by worldwide organizations)
  • .mil (limited to US army entities only)
  • .edu (for use by instructional establishments)

In case your group falls beneath one of many sponsored TLD categories, then chances are you’ll need to use to make use of the suitable area extension.

Nation Code Prime-Degree Domains

The country code TLDs are reserved for particular person nations, and finish with the nations two letter ISO code. Listed here are some examples…

  • .us (United States)
  • .uk (United Kingdom)
  • .ca (Canada)
  • .de (Germany)
  • . fr (France)
  • .cn (China)
  • .br (Brazil)

If your corporation and audience are based mostly in a particular nation, then it is suggested to use the relevant country code TLD.

Other Domain Name Varieties

There are a couple of other domain varieties which are value a mention…

  • Second Degree Domains – A second degree area sits immediately under a TLD within the DNS hierarchical system. These are often used together with country code TLDs, for example –,, or
  • Subdomains – A subdomain (also called a third degree area) is an extra a part of a domain identify. Subdomains are seen as separate websites by the various search engines, so, amongst other reasons, creating subdomains may help enhance your websites search engine optimisation. A very good instance of when to use a subdomain is if you wish to maintain your blog separate out of your website. In that case, your subdomain on your web site ( may appear to be this

So, now you realize concerning the domain extensions which might be obtainable. Let’s subsequent take a look at how to choose a area identify in your web site…

How to Choose a Domain Name

Lean Domain Search

Deciding on your good domain identify, that reflects what you are promoting, is straightforward on your audience to recollect, and that is nonetheless out there to purchase, isn’t a simple process.

Listed here are some prime recommendations on selecting the best area identify in your website…

  • Use Keywords – Using the identify of your enterprise, or different keywords that you really want your website to rank for, in your area identify is really helpful, as this may help drastically improve your website’s search engine optimization.
  • Maintain it Brief and Memorable – Your area identify must be distinctive and stand out from the gang. A brief and snappy area identify can be straightforward in your audience to recall – attempt and use a most of three words.
  • Make Positive It’s Straightforward to Spell – Draw back from phrases with a number of spellings, or different longer words that your viewers might find troublesome to spell. In any other case, your guests might not have the ability to find your web site as a result of they will’t spell your area identify.
  • Avoid Numbers and Hyphens – Again, you need to make your area identify as straightforward to remember and sort as attainable. Adding numbers and hyphens can add additional confusion (eg – is quantity two spelled 2 or two? And where does the dash go once more?!)
  • Do Your Research – Take a look at other web sites which have the same area identify but a totally different extension. If there is a highly regarded web site using runclub.internet, and you register, then chances are you’ll discover it onerous to rank your content material in the various search engines, as well as lose visitors to this rival website.
  • Assume Lengthy Term – Although, in fact, you’ll be able to change your website’s domain identify at any time, it might dramatically affect your web optimization and visitor numbers. Subsequently, it would be best to attempt and choose a area identify that may work long run.
  • Use the Right Domain Extension – As mentioned earlier, selecting the best domain extension is necessary. For many websites, the perfect TLD is all the time .com. Nevertheless, if in case you have created a nation or group/group specific website, then you could need to take a look at a sponsored or country code TLD.

Getting your area identify right is necessary. Not solely does it assist to define your model, nevertheless it is also the primary, and also in all probability the lasting, impression that your viewers has of your website. Subsequently, it must make an influence and assist subtly promote what you are promoting.

However don’t fear in case you are really struggling to provide you with area identify ideas. There are a variety of useful tools to assist with this…

Use a Domain Name Generator

Because of the sheer number of domains which have already been registered, it is typically the case that your ultimate identify has been lengthy taken. As an alternative of spending days and days brainstorming new names, you must think about using a domain identify generator.

There are numerous domain identify turbines out there. They work by taking a key phrase from you, and then turning it into hundreds of relevant strategies. Let’s have a take a look at a few domain identify turbines that will help you get started…

  • Lean Domain Search – Delivered to you by Automated, Lean Domain Search will show you how to find domain names by pairing your search phrase with other widespread and related keywords. It additionally exhibits you which ones are available to register.
  • Domain Hole – This area identify generator lets you search, find, and purchase new and expired domains. It comes jam-packed with an array of domain identify tools including a identify spinner, a brainstormer, and a full availability checker.
  • Name Mesh – With over six million words within the Name Mesh library, this identify generator will have the ability to find the appropriate domain identify for you. Merely enter your keyword, and Name Mesh will provide a vary of ideas, as well as examine the supply for commonest TLDs.

For extra info on domain identify turbines, take a look at our article 9 Greatest Weblog and Domain Name Turbines.

Upon getting selected an applicable domain identify on your web site, you’ll now need to purchase it. However how much will it value and the place do you have to purchase it from? Let’s discover out more…

How A lot Does a Domain Value?

Domain names range in worth dramatically. Some domain names literally value hundreds of thousands, yet some you will get at no cost. Nevertheless, on common, a regular domain identify will value you from around $10-15 a yr.

Million Dollar Plus Domain Names

GoDaddy lately revealed a record of the costliest domain names which were publicly reported. Listed here are just a few…

  • – $49.7 million
  • – $35 million
  • – $30 million
  • – $16 million
  • – $11 million

I’ve also revealed a record of the oldest .com domains right here.

As you possibly can see, these in style domains promote for giant cash. But let’s additionally take a look at the opposite finish of the spectrum – how do you get a free domain identify?

Free Domain Names


Quite a lot of internet hosting corporations provide free domains in case you sign up for considered one of their internet hosting packages. This freebie often lasts for the primary yr, or the initial time period of the hosting package deal (ie – for those who signal up to a three yr hosting deal then the domain identify might be free for those first three years). Once the term has elapsed, you’ll then have to rebuy the area identify on the internet hosting suppliers’ prices.

Listed here are a number of internet hosting corporations that presently throw in a free area identify with their plans…

  • Bluehost – This fashionable internet hosting provider provides a free area identify for the first yr for those who sign up for an preliminary time period of 36 months.
  • Hostinger – A price range host, Hostinger gives a free area to anybody who indicators up for certainly one of their Premium or Business internet hosting plans.
  • DreamHost – Qualify for a free one-year domain identify with DreamHost by signing up for certainly one of their annual hosting packages (Starter plan not included).
  • GoDaddy – One other in style hosting firm, GoDaddy provides a free domain with all their plans. Simply enroll on a 12, 24, or 36 month contract – the domain will remain free for the whole size of the selected package deal.

For those who select to create your website with an all-in-one website builder answer, like Wix or Squarespace, then you’ll discover that these platforms all permit their customers to create as many free subdomains as they need. A subdomain, with Wix for example, will look one thing like this ‘mysite’ Though this is a good choice when you’re simply starting off, if you’d like what you are promoting to seem professional, you will have to purchase an precise domain identify down the line.

Regular Domain Pricing

If your hosting plan doesn’t embrace a free area identify, then you will have to purchase a area identify. As mentioned, the typical value of a area identify is between $10-15 a yr. Nevertheless, the worth of domain names does range relying on a number of elements. These embrace…

  • Reputation – If in case you have chosen a widespread area identify phrase then it might nicely have already been purchased with the intention of being resold at an inflated worth. You will want to determine if this area identify is well worth the cash.
  • Domain Extension – Usually the more respected area extensions (.com, .internet, .org) will value more than a few of the newer TLDs (.me, .be, .membership).
  • Domain Registrar – You can find the costs of domain names differ depending on the area registrar. Typically, if you are going to buy your domain identify immediately by means of your website builder or internet hosting supplier you will end up paying more than in case you buy from a third celebration registrar.
  • Length of Term – Some domain registrars will cost much less in case you register a domain for a long run (eg – 24 or 36 months).

So now you understand roughly what you possibly can anticipate to pay for a area identify. So the place can you purchase one?

The place Ought to You Purchase a Domain Name?

Domain names could be purchased from numerous third-party area registrars, in addition to by way of many hosting suppliers. All domain providers are registered by means of ICANN, serving to to ensure reputability. The primary differences between the registrars are the providers they offer alongside the domains, for example, e-mail and WhoIs protection.

Listed here are a few area registrars that we might advocate…

  • – Choose from the preferred TLDs, or from over 25 nation code TLDs. All purchased domains include a free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates, domain ‘transfer lock’ protection, and control over DNS management. Use discount coupon code SiteHub to get 25% off your purchase.
  • Name Low cost – This well-liked area registrar already manages over 10 million domains worldwide. All domains purchased include free WHOIS guard, two months e mail, 24/7 help, and more. And for those on a price range, there are also a vary of extraordinarily low cost TLDs to pick from.
  • GoDaddy – In addition to a well-known internet hosting supplier, GoDaddy is additionally the world’s largest area registrar, managing over 78 million domains throughout the globe. Buy a domain from as little as $zero.99, or a .com or .internet domain beginning at just $12.17.
  • Google Domains – You gained’t discover low cost costs at Google Domains, but in case you are trying to shortly and simply register a new area, then this can be the registrar for you.
  • – Providing a whole lot of area extensions and quick integrations with a vast assortment of providers and apps, the impressive user-experience will allow you to easily register a area and get started in your new website.

Use Discount Code “Sitehub” to get 25% OFF your area identify purchase.

Snap up your enterprise / model identify shortly earlier than someone beats you to it. Use and get an additional 25% OFF your buy with our unique coupon code. You will get a .com for as little as $7.49 using our coupon code Sitehub.


Most internet hosting corporations like Hostgator and different EIG brands will encourage you to purchase a area identify immediately with them. Although you don’t need to, this is undoubtedly the only option to arrange your website’s area.

Chances are you’ll find a cheaper domain with a third get together domain registrar. If this is the case then you should purchase the domain identify by means of them. Nevertheless, you will then have to level the domain at your internet hosting server, a course of which could be a little bit technical.

What Else Ought to You Contemplate When Buying a Domain?

Upon getting found a domain registrar and area identify that works in your undertaking, you’re almost ready to make a buy. Before you do, listed here are a few different factors to think about…

  • Set Your Domain to Auto Renew – Whenever you purchase a domain identify you’ll be able to often choose the size of term (usually 12 or 24 months). Because the term involves an finish, your domain registrar will often ship you a variety of emails reminding you to renew the domain identify. Nevertheless, in the event you fail to take action, you will not solely lose your domain identify, but as anyone can then buy it, it might be snapped up by another person. Subsequently, selecting to set your domain to auto renew provides you peace of mind that your area will keep indefinitely registered to you.
  • Domain Privacy – Whenever you register a area, your private details shall be stored on the WHOIS register and may be seen by anyone. So paying additional for area privacy, so your info can’t be accessed by the general public, is beneficial. (Some domain registrars embrace this service in the domain identify purchase worth).
  • Buy up Different Domain Extensions – Relying in your finances, you could need to purchase up the other foremost TLDs too. For instance, in case your new area identify is, you also needs to think about buying, getblogging.internet,, and so on. It will forestall you from dropping guests who mistype your website’s TLD, in addition to forestall rivals from establishing comparable websites and hijacking your visitors.
  • Buy the Misspellings of Your Domain – If there are some apparent misspellings of your area identify then it might be value purchasing these. The misspelled domains could be redirected to your website, making certain you don’t lose visitors on account of visitors’ spelling errors!

Last Ideas on Domain Names

As you possibly can see, establishing your new area identify is truly a comparatively fast and straightforward course of. The toughest part is deciding on the precise identify, especially as so many domains have already been taken. So your first step is to get brainstorming – sort some keywords into a area generator, share your ideas with associates and family, and make a agency determination in your new domain identify.

When you’ve registered your domain identify, you’re prepared to start out creating your web site. For more info on how to do that, take a look at our information on establishing your first blog. Good Luck!

More questions on domain names? Be happy to ask away within the comments under…

Featured picture credit: Photograph by Patrick Fore –

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Megan is a freelance writer who loves all issues WordPress. She presently lives in Brighton together with her associate and two young children. When she isn’t on-line she likes strolling by the sea, coffee and traveling anyplace and all over the place. She is out there for hire so take a look at her website