While many elements come together to make a website, one critical element is the domain name. Being the actual name of your website, it acts as a form of identity for you online.
Because of its importance, it’s good practice to have as much knowledge as possible about domain names – whether it’s for a personal or business website. There are many questions about what domain names actually are, how much they cost, as well as some of the terminologies.
Luckily, we’re here to help with that! Our guide aims to answer the most important questions about domain names and how they work.
What is a Domain Name?
A domain name is an address containing the location of a website on the internet. The domain name is what’s typed into web browsers’ URL fields to take users to their desired website. A domain name can be anything, but most
Australian businesses use their business name to best represent their brand online.
The Domain Name System (usually known as DNS) takes a domain name and converts it into an IP (internet protocol) address. The browser will use a name server to locate the IP address that is used by the domain name that was searched for, which in turn loads the website requested.
Types of Domain Names
Due to the vast size of the internet itself, there is a wide range of domain name types that can be found. We’ve listed the most common types of domain names below.
The most common form of a domain name, top-level domains (TLDs) are in the highest tier of the Domain Name System.
The most well known top-level domains include .com, .net, and .org, however some generic and sponsored top-level domains (gTLDs and sTLDs respectively) include .edu, .gov, .biz, and .info among others.
Country Code Top-Level Domains
For websites that want to identify themselves as being from a particular country, there are country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) available for a preferred domain.
Australia’s ccTLD is the .au domain, while some others include .uk for the United Kingdom, .nz for New Zealand, .us for the United States of America, .in for India, .es for Spain, and .ca for Canada.
The tier below top-level domains, second-level domains (SLDs) are the names that appear before TLDs.
This is usually the name that properly defines a business online – some examples of this are Google.com, where “Google” is the second-level domain.
Country Code Second-Level Domains
Some websites use both a standard TLD and a ccTLD together, which means – by the definition of SLDs – a top-level domain can become a country code second-level domain (ccSLD).
A common example of Australian domain names is .com.au, where .au is the ccTLD, and .com – being before it – becomes a ccSLD. Other examples include .co.uk for the United Kingdom, .co.nz for New Zealand, and .co.ca for Canada.
Domain Registration vs. Domain Hosting
Some terms that are often thrown around with regard to domain names are domain registration and domain hosting. While it is easy to dismiss the two as similar, it’s important to know the difference between the two so you know exactly what you’re getting from a service.
Domain registration is the act of claiming and reserving a domain name for a specific period of time. This is typically done through a registrar that allows you to reserve your preferred domain name for a certain number of years – usually one or two.
The cost of registering a domain will vary depending on a range of factors, such as the domain level, duration of registration, and the popularity of the domain itself. In Australia, it is common for .au domain names to have a cheaper annual cost than their .com variants.
Domain hosting is a service where a company will store your new or existing domain on their servers for the purpose of connecting a website to the domain being hosted. There are many domain hosting businesses available, with common ones including GoDaddy and Crazy Domains.
Like registering, the costs for hosting will vary based on whether you have an Australian domain name or a more unique domain extension. Some domain hosting services will have packages that include domain registration.
What’s the Difference?
The important distinguishing factor to make between domain hosting and domain registration is what is included with each.
Domain registration is purely getting ownership of a domain name that can then be used for a website, whereas domain hosting actually takes a domain and connects it to the DNS so that a website can actually appear when the domain is entered into a browser’s URL bar.
If you have a registered domain, that does not automatically mean you have a website – it means you have a plot of internet land where you can place a website. Once a website is there, domain hosting will allow users to find your website via the domain name.
Get a Result-Driven Website with Organik Web
This guide has covered the fundamentals surrounding domain names to provide you with as much information as possible so you know what you’re getting for any services related to your domain. If you have your domain registered but don’t yet have a website, we can help!
The Organik Web team have many years of experience in designing and developing quality websites focussed on getting you the results you’re looking for. If you’re ready to get started on your next website, get in touch with us today and find out more.