What Is A Domain

Once you’ve registered your business as a limited company, you’ll want to establish it online as this is the main way people will find your products and services. But what exactly signposts a user to your website? The answer lies in the domain.

A domain is the virtual equivalent of a physical address for your company. It is a unique location that provides customers with the directions they need to find your website. Your choice of domain name will influence how easy or difficult it is for searchers to find your business.

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Domain Names and URLs

The domain name is the most easily recognised piece of information inside the universal resource locator, or URL, which is the entire set of directions needed to find a website. In order for it to be located, the instructions within the URL, including the domain name, must correctly point to it. The Internet Protocol (IP) address is a numerical code that makes this possible.

Domain Names and IP Addresses

An IP address is different to a domain name in that it is a set of numerical instructions that communicates precise information about the address in a way that is understood by the computer but makes no sense to the user. The domain name is a part of the URL, which points to the IP address.

How do Domains Work?

A look at the common fictitious domain name, www.example.com, helps to explain how domains are split into three sections:

  • .com – the top level domain
  • .example – the second level domain
  • – the sub domain prefix for the World Wide Web

It is typical for top level domains to consist of three letters and they are separated from sub domains by a dot. The top level domain is the most significant part of the domain because it identifies the highest part of the naming system used on the Internet. This naming system was originally created to identify countries and organisations as well as categories, although in recent years this has expanded to include a new generation of top level domains.

Second level domains are arranged to the left of the top level domain and it is this part of the domain that is most recognisable to the user, as it typically comprises the company name or a carefully selected keyword.