What is a domain name?

What is a domain name?

The domain name is basically the equivalent to a physical address for your website. In the same way that a satellite navigation system requires an address or zip code, a web page needs a domain name to be able to be identified, and consequently directed towards its files on a physical server. It is worth clarifying that the domain name is unique for each site in the world.
A domain name is made up of two main elements. For example, the domain name facebook.com consists of the name of the website (Facebook) and the name of the domain extension (.com). When a company (or person) buys a domain name, they must make decisions regarding both elements. MiEmpresa.com or MiEmpresa.com.ar? In addition, when acquiring the domain (which must be available, that is, "free") you must specify which server to point it to; This process is called "delegation," and it typically requires two domain name servers, -primary and secondary- in this case corresponding to the server where we will host our site. For example, in the case of Duplika, the server names are ns1.duplika.com Y ns2.duplika.com (primary and secondary server -auxiliary- respectively).

Domain registrations are overseen by an organization called ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). This entity specifies which domain extensions are available (.com, .net, .com.ar, .es, etc., and many new ones were added over time) and maintains a central database of where the domains point to.
Each online website that we visit consists, then, of two necessary elements: a domain name and a web server that hosts its files.

  • A web server is a physical machine that has, on its hard drives, the files and databases of our website. These files are transmitted over the network to visitors when they access our site from their computers and mobile devices.
  • The domain name is the nomenclature that people must type in the address bar of a browser in order to enter any site. This domain is translated into an IP number (internet provider, or internet provider) which is, ultimately, the way to identify the server that stores the files. Without the domain name, people would have to remember the specific IP address of your server, and that's just not going to happen.

How do domains work?

Domain names work by acting as a shortcut to the server that hosts your website.
Without a domain name, anyone wanting to visit a website will need to enter the full IP address. But the problem is that an IP address is difficult to memorize, let alone be included in advertising materials. Can you imagine a poster on the street that says "cell phone offers await you at 192.168.345.2"? Hard to imagine, right?

Domains also allow you to use redirects, which essentially implies the possibility that a user, when entering a site, is automatically redirected to another (it happens even without us noticing). Redirecting can be useful for campaigns and microsites, or for forwarding people to special pages on your main site. On an advertising poster, a short address of the type www.celulares.com/sorteo it's easier to remember than www.celulares.com/novedades/2019/galaxy/sorteo.html. Then, an easy URL is created that, when entered, automatically redirects us to the content that the page owner or company really wants us to see.

Redirects are also useful to avoid confusion with spelling. For example, if you visit www.fb.com, you will be forwarded to www.facebook.com.

Different types of domains

Not all domain names follow the same formula, and while .com domains make up 46.5% of all global websites, that leaves plenty of room for other types of domain names like .org and .net. In general, the most common types of domain names include:

TLDs: Top Level Domains

A top-level domain is exactly what it sounds like: a type of domain name that sits at the top level of the Internet's domain name system. There are over a thousand TLDs available, but the most common include .com, .org, .net Y .edu, but we also find cases like .Audio either .TV
The official TLD list is maintained by an organization called Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) and can be seen here. IANA mentions that the TLD list also includes ccTLDs and gTLDs, which we will discuss below.

ccTLD: Country Code Top Level Domains

ccTLDs use only two letters and are based on international country codes, such as .us for the United States and .jp for Japan. They are often used by companies that are creating dedicated sites for specific regions, and can be a good way of signaling to users that they have come to the right place.

gTLD: Generic Top Level Domain

A gTLD is essentially a TLD that does not depend on a country code. Many gTLDs are intended for a specific use case, such as .edu, intended for educational institutions. That said, you don't need to meet any specific criteria to register a gTLD, which is why .com It is not used exclusively for commercial purposes.

Other gTLD examples include .one thousand (military), .gov (government), .org (for non-profit organizations and various institutions) and .net, which was originally designed for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) but is now used more widely.

Other types of domain names

Although the domain categories mentioned above are the most frequent, there are other variations that we can come across.

second level domains

We are talking about a domain that sits directly under a top level domain name.
In Argentina, the quintessential example is com.ar (namely, trade within Argentina). British companies occasionally use .co.uk instead of .com, and another perfect example of a second level domain is .gov.uk, which is often used by government institutions, and .ac.uk, which is used by academic institutions and universities.


Subdomains are useful because they don't require webmasters to purchase an additional domain name to create divisions within their site. Instead, they can create a subdomain that effectively points to a specific directory on the server. This can be very useful for campaign sites and other types of web content that need to be kept separate from the main site.
For example, Facebook uses developers.facebook.com to provide specific information for web and application developers who want to use the Facebook API. Another great example is support.google.com.

Every day we will meet offers.company.com (example of a subdomain where the offers of a company are located) or es.company.com (the subdomain where we will find the Spanish language of a site whose home has another language).

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