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Domains Part I: So What’s a Domain Name Do?

A Domain Name System (DNS) is the Internet Protocol (IP) resource established to identify and map to websites. Domain names are useful because they help people navigate the internet. On the more technical side of things, the IP address is more like the “physical location” while domain name is kind of like your GPS.

To help explain, consider that every resource that connects to the internet (computer, smartphone, tablet) has a unique IP address (which stands for Internet Protocol) comprised of a complex list of numbers. So, rather than typing out a 10 digit number to be directed to where you want to go, you can simply type something like www.newtekone.com.

In simple terms, all a domain name really is an easily remembered mnemonic device so we don’t have to recall lengthy numerical addresses. For the sake of organization, domain names are organized in subdomains which include:

  • Top-level domains (TLDs) – are the first-level set of domain names (these include generic top-level domains (gTLDs) such as .com, .net and .org as well as country code top-level domains (ccTLDs). The ccTLDs are noted to the right of the dot, such as .fr or .au in the examples google.fr and google.com.au.
  • Second level domain names in the DNS hierarchy are typically available for end-users to reserve so they can run web sites, create publicly accessible Internet resources, and connect the Internet to local area networks. These typically provide the name of the organization and/or are descriptive of the service provided.
  •  Third level domains often refer to specific servers within an organization.

In summation, domain Names are used for different purposes, including application-specific naming, addressing, as well as for various networking purposes in order to establish:

Simple identification of hostnames and hosts. Hostnames appear as an element in Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) for Internet resources, such as web sites. For example, the www in www.google.com is a third level domain, and .com is a top level domain while google is a second level domain.

Simple, easily memorable names. Domain names are useful because they are memorable. For example, books.com is easier to remember than the Internet Protocol (IP) address of 65.204.48.126.

Understanding what domain are and what they do, is an integral part of fully grasping how technology decisions impact your business efficiency.

This blog is the first of a five part series.

 

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