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What Is an Internet Domain?

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about how to start building a website, and specifically how to buy and use domains. This week, I’ll be covering what a domain is, how to use it, and how to get one that represents you or your company in the best way possible.

By
Eric Escobar,
June 23, 2016
Episode #226

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First and foremost, a domain is the web address that you type in or search for when you browse the internet. Examples include Google.com, Yahoo.com, Netflix.com, Amazon.com, Wikipedia.com, and so on and so forth. Domains are just easy ways for humans to understand computer addresses. The internet uses IP addresses to direct traffic and connect you where you want to go. A classic IP address is four numbers separated by periods. When you type in Google.com, your computer actually looks up Google.com to find out what its IP address is.

For me, Google.com is 216.58.195.238, this means I can type in Google.com or that address and both will take me to the same website. This sounds confusing doesn’t it? Well it is, and that’s why domains exist in the first place. The prevent the standard internet user from ever having to remember four sets of numbers. I mean how annoying would it be to have to remember 54.243.253.96 was Netflix.com every time you wanted to watch a TV show?

In any case, just take away the fact that every domain name is actually just a string of numbers.

What’s with the .com?

Have you ever wondered why the most popular domains always end in “.com”? Way back in 1985 when the internet domain name system was implemented, there were 7 top level domains. Com, edu, net, org, arpa, gov, and mil. “.com” was short for commerce, and was intended for business use. However, it was open for public domain registration and took off from there.

What domains are most popular?

As you might have guessed, “.com” is the most popular domain extension. Closely followed by .net and .org. However in the past couple of years there has been a flood of new domain endings, which have dramatically increased the potential amount of names available to consumers. Now you have .ninja, .online, .lol and a couple hundred more to pick from. The original “.com” however still remains king because it is the most well known of all the top level domains.

If you’re interested to see what other top level domains are available I’ve done a complete post on them.

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