The internet has seen rapid growth in recent years with lots of activities that traditionally required physical presence being moved to the internet. Such activities include education, commerce and even entertainment. In order to understand how the internet is structured, it is important to know the basics. For instance, domain names play a very important role in how the internet is organized a basis for accessing resources on the internet.
So, what is a domain name? Simply put, a domain name can be said to be the human readable form of an internet address. Domain names are used to locate resources on the internet such as websites. A domain name also comes in handy in other applications of the internet such as email and file transfer. Domain names are used for various purposes but the most important is accessing websites on the internet. Since every resource on the world wide web is assigned a unique address known as an IP address, a domain name makes it easier to reach this resource.
Domain names are easier to remember than IP addresses and this is why they are widely used. They are also handy in branding a business that has a presence on the internet. For this reason, using domain names in commerce usually subjects them to trademark law since they represent a business. In some cases, it may become necessary to move a resource to a different physical location in the address topology of the network. In such a situation, the IP address of the resource may change. However, the domain name will still remain the same making it easy to access the resource.
Domain names are used to establish a unique identity for websites and other resources on the internet. In order to enable internet users reach them easily, organizations and businesses can choose a domain name corresponding to their name. Domain names also have a syntax in order to enable easier identification and organization of internet resources.
The domain name is usually made up of more than one part. These parts are usually known as labels and are separated by dots. For instance, example.com is a domain name for an internet resource. In this case, example is the middle level domain. The .com part is known as the top-level domain and is general for most sites. Most of the time, American servers use the three letter top level domains such as .com and .edu while other countries use two letters or a combination of two letters such as google.ca. or .co.jp. In the case of www.example.co.jp, example is the lesser mid-level domain, .co is the larger mid-level domain while .jp is the top-level domain. There are also lower level domain with virtually no limitations in the number. This means that a domain name can be made up of fourth and even fifth-level domains. These lower level domains are usually used to identify a particular host server. For instance, a single domain may have different physical servers each assigned to perform a single task such as file hosting or email.
In some cases, top level domains can be classified as generic top level domain and country code top level domain. The generic top level domains are general and can be used for all sites. Country code top level domains on the other hand, are specific for certain countries and are administered independently by designated registration authorities.
It is important to remember that a URL is not the same as a domain name. A URL (uniform resource locator) usually has more details than just the domain name and gives more information such as the specific address of a page on a website, the folder in which the page is located and the protocol language being used. Domain names can also be used for other resources apart from just websites such as virtual machines and web applications.
In conclusion, a domain name can be said to be a human friendly identifier for a resource on the internet. Instead of having to remember an IP address, one simply needs to remember a domain name in order to be able to access this resource. A domain name can be considered to be a nick name for an IP address with a whole lot of benefits.