There is more to a domain name than you might think. If you’re new to domain names and building websites, you might be overwhelmed by the terminology associated with them.
This article serves as a simple guide for you to enter the world of domain names. I’ll provide twelve key domain name terms for you to familiarize yourself with, hopefully enabling you to purchase a domain name on your own.
Let’s get started.
A domain name is a convenient way to help users get to where a website is located. It’s essentially the name and address of a website. For instance, example.com is a domain name.
Because there are millions of domain names out there, it can be a hassle to find the domain name you want. Thus, you can use a domain name search tool to help you check whether the domain name you are looking for is still available for sale. If it isn’t available, the tool will provide great alternatives for you to use.
Domain Name Extension
A domain name extension, also referred to as a top-level domain, is the last segment of a domain name, like .co.in or .com.
Various domain extensions are available, although the most common ones are classified as generic top-level domains (gTLDs) and country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs).
Generic Top-Level Domain
Generic top-level domains, as the name implies, are domain extensions used by a wide variety of websites. Despite the definition containing the word generic, which usually means bland or ordinary, websites that use gTLDs are popular, valuable, and sought-after.
Examples of gTLDs include .com, .info, .net, and .org. There are also restricted forms of gTLDs, which require proof of eligibility for domain registration. Such gTLDs include .gov, .edu, .int, and .mil.
Country-Code Top-Level Domain
Country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs) are two-letter domain extensions that specify where a website is based. For example, the .in extension signifies websites based in India, and the .uk extension is used for websites from the United Kingdom.
There are over 300 ccTLDs, but most internet users will rarely encounter them because of the popularity of gTLDs.
Because of that, Google has coined an additional term, called generic country-code TLDs (gccTLDs). When a ccTLD is used by enough websites, Google will treat it the same as a gTLD.
Premium Domain Names
Premium domain names are brandable, shorter, and memorable pre-registered sought-after domain names. Domain investors register premium domain names and wait before selling them for a profit.
A premium domain name typically costs between a few hundred and thousands of dollars. The price depends on the name’s uniqueness, overall brand potential, and domain length. In most cases, the shorter the length is, the higher the price will be.
A number of sites let private sellers list premium domain names for sale. However, I recommend buying domain names from reputable marketplaces, such as Domain and Sedo. This way, you’ll ensure a safe environment for the domain transfer.
A subdomain is an additional part of a domain name. Subdomains help organize and navigate different parts of a website. In a web address like store.website.com, ‘store’ is the subdomain.
Domain Name System
The domain name system (DNS) functions as the internet’s phonebook because it is the database containing every domain name and its associated IP address.
To put it simply, DNS connects domain names to IP addresses. Whenever users type in a website’s URL on their web browsers, the DNS locates the IP address matching the domain name.
The DNS directory is massive because there are over 363.5 million registered domain names as of early 2021. To function correctly, the DNS directory is distributed globally and stored on DNS servers. The servers regularly communicate with each other to provide updates and clear redundancies.
Domain Name Registrar
As the name implies, domain name registrars are companies that manage and sell domain names.
To use the services of a domain registrar, you first need to type in the domain name you want to see whether it’s available. For this purpose, registrars usually have a domain name checker.
Once you’ve found the right domain name, the next step is to find the right domain extension. Usually, there will be a list of available TLDs along with the prices.
After making the choice, head to the checkout page and purchase the domain name. Remember that you’ll need to renew it every year. If that seems like a hassle, you can instead buy the domain name for a period of two to ten years.
ICANN is the acronym for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. It’s a non-profit organization based in the United States that sets the rules and regulations for web address use.
In addition to that, ICANN manages a big part of the infrastructure that supports the internet. It’s also responsible for overseeing the IP address allocation and the name system management of gTLDs and ccTLDs.
Domain transfer is the process of changing the registrar of a domain name. Users may want to move their domain name to a different registrar because of a number of reasons. Some of them include:
- The other registrar has a more affordable hosting plan.
- The domain name is being sold.
- The new registrar offers better services.
The price of switching registrars depends on the new registrar’s policies. Make sure to consult them before the move.
Domain parking is the act of registering a domain name without using it. Its owners usually try to make money from the unused domain.
For example, instead of a website, advertising may be placed. This way, domain owners generate revenue through the number of visitors and clicks the ads receive.
When the owners deem the domain name to have increased in value, they’ll sell it and purchase another domain to park.
Domain privacy is a service offered by a lot of domain registrars. Its purpose is to hide or mask the registration details of the domain owner from the public WHOIS directory.
Whenever you register a domain name, your personal details are entered into the WHOIS database, allowing anyone to access them. Opting for domain privacy means that your domain registrar will replace your information with their own.
Knowing the essential terminology related to domain names is crucial to building a successful online presence. Hopefully, this brief glossary has helped you better understand what the domain name industry is all about.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below.
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