of the most exciting activities associated with starting a web site
is picking the domain name. With online tools available to help
you search for and register available names, it has become a quick
and easy process to stake claim to a domain. But what exactly is
a domain name? What does it represent? This article digs deeper
into the origins and definitions of internet domain names.
Like an Address
you visit a website using your browser, you enter the location of
the website which is usually denoted as "www.site-name.com",
where site-name could be Yahoo, Ebay, or Amazon. The entire tail
end of the name "site-name.com" is also called a domain
name. A domain name is simply a unique address that specifies the
location of a website. Just like every physical location has a street
address (e.g. 123 Apple St.) which idenitifes its location (street
number, city, zip code), a domain name specifies the address of
a website. However, unlike your home address, web site domains are
based on a different structure that underneath it all, helps your
internet browser search through the entire world wide web to locate
a specific web page.
1971 a protocol was developed called TCP/IP. Although it was not
fully adopted until 1984, TCP/IP became (and still is) the primary
method for computers to communicate over telecommunications networks.
The entire backbone of the internet is based on the TCP/IP protocol.
Without getting under the hood of TCP/IP and how it operates, simply
understand that TCP/IP is a communications language that allows
two computers (which may be different) to communicate with one another.
As part of this protocol, an addressing scheme had to be developed
so that one computer could identify another computer over a network.
This TCP/IP address or "IP Address" uniquely identifies
every location on the internet. A TCP/IP address is composed of
4 numbers separated by a period. Each number can range from 0 to
255. For example, an IP address may look something like : 188.8.131.52.
Every network connected device in the entire internet must be assigned
a unique IP address so that communications can occur between it
and other computers.
although the TCP/IP protocol provided for a simple and effective
way for computers to communicate across networks, it did create
problems as the size of the internet grew. If you can imagine, in
order for one computer to communicate with another, it had to have
knowledge of the IP address of the destination computer. Certainly,
you can see how hard it would be to maintain a list of 100 IP addresses
and remember which destination computer is associated with it. In
order to make the process of remembering the address of computers
on the internet, a system was developed in 1984 called the Domain
Name System. The domain name system established a way to recognize
host computers on the internet without having to remember their
numerical IP addresses. Using the domain name system, a computer
on the internet whose IP address is "184.108.40.206" could
call itself "www.amazon.com". Within the internet, there
are domain name servers which are computers that store the millions
of internet IP addresses and their associated domain name. So, when
you type in "www.amazon.com" in your browser, your computer
first goes to one of the many domain name servers on the internet,
finds (or resolves) the IP address associated with "www.amazon.com"
and, using that IP address, begins a communication session with
the amazon system.
Them While They're Hot
acquiring a domain name is very simple. In order to stake a claim
to a domain name to call your own, you must first find an available
name and then register the name with a registrar. A domain name
registrar is a company who is responsible for distributing domain
names to people.
the home page, there is a list of registrars who can register your
domain name. Domain names are registered yearly, if you let the
registration lapse then somebody else can register the name.