Understanding Domain: Types and How It Works

Understanding Domain – One of the most important aspects of building an online audience or website in general is choosing a domain name. The reason is, this name is a unique name for a website which usually consists of a site name and a domain name extension. Branding will be stronger and the audience will be helped to find our website with an easy to remember domain.

This time, Gramedia will explain various things you should know about domain names, including their importance and how they work. Apart from that, this article will also review the steps to get a domain name!

Definition of Domains

The domain name is our website, which is equivalent to a normal physical address. This name will help other users find our website easily compared to using an internet protocol or IP address. The domain name includes names and extensions that are an important part of the internet infrastructure.

Regarding the IP address, every internet website has one. This one address will refer to the location of the website, much like GPS coordinates. In general, an IP address, which is a string of numbers, would look something like this:

But unfortunately, the function of navigating to websites with complicated numbers like the one above will be a challenge for us to remember and use. For this reason, a domain name will be very helpful.

IP addresses will be translated into names that are easier to remember with a structure called the Domain Name System or DNS. Well, those names are called domain names.

What other people enter into the address bar in their browser will probably be the domain of your website. In the simplest possible terms, while an IP address is often thought of as a website’s GPS coordinates, the domain is its street address. For example, there are domain names Google.com and Gramedia.com!

When someone types a domain name into a browser, the typed domain is routed through the DNS server. The name will be decoded by that server to find which IP address it points to. Data is then fetched for the website and sent to the browser.

Even though it is quite structured, this process only happens in seconds, so we can find and view websites quickly.

Difference between Domain and URL

Despite having some similarities, domain names and URLs or Universal Resource Locators are different from each other. While a URL is a full web address that can directly direct visitors to a specific page within a site, a domain name is only a part of it.

Apart from that, a URL also consists of a domain, protocol, and path. Regarding the protocol, it shows whether a site has an SSL certificate or not. However, URLs only have a path when directing a visitor to a specific page on a site.

Sometimes, a URL is referred to as a web address which contains the site’s domain name along with other information, such as protocol and path. For example, there is “https://cloudflare.com/learning/”, “cloudflare.com” is the domain name, “https” is the protocol and “/learning/” is the path to a specific page on the Cloudflare website.

How Domains Work

There are two first elements in every website: the domain name and the web hosting server. Each domain name will be linked to their respective IP address as well as pointing to a specific server hosting the website.

Users look up the associated IP address when entering a domain name into a browser, that is, via a global network of DNS servers.

Then, with information regarding the IP address, the server returns it to the web browser and requests site-related data from the domain’s hosting service. Website data will also be stored by this web server, including databases, files, to HTML code.

The web browser will then turn it into a web page that the user can visit after the host sends back the data.

The Importance of Domains

Wondering how important domains are to us, especially for projects and businesses? Here’s the review!

1. Memory

Technically, our audience can visit websites without a domain name by entering an IP address. However, it will be difficult to remember because it is a string of numbers. It’s different if you use a domain name that can help our website become more accessible to any user.

2. Brand Effectiveness

Communication related to business and projects will be helped by a well-thought-out domain name. This can be done in a way that is aligned with our brand mission and values.

3. Credibility

Using a custom domain name will make your website look more professional than websites with free domain names, such as web.com.

4. A custom email address

With a domain name, it is possible for us to have a professional and unique email account, such as the email name [email protected]. Not only that, our presence will appear more consistent across different online channels.

5. SEO

Relevant keywords and an easy to remember domain name will have a positive impact on search engine optimization for your website and improve your search engine rankings .

Domain Types

Quoting Verisign , there are more than 360 million domains registered in 2019. So, imagine how many there will be now? There are a wide variety of types you can buy, but try to understand the anatomy of the domain first so you can make the best choice.

There is a top-level domain or TLD and a second level domain or SLD. Here are some types of domains that you need to know about.

1. Second Level Domain (SLD)

Let’s discuss SLD first, which is the domain most laymen like us think about. This type of domain is what we imagine related to “what is a domain?” because it is a unique name chosen to represent the brand so that it is easy for many people to remember.

The SLD appears just to the left of the extension on a web address, or top-level domain . SLD itself can include various numbers, letters, to the special characters we want, although it’s best to keep the domain short and easy to read.

2. Top-Level Domain (TLD)

Furthermore, there are also top-level domains or TLDs which are also often referred to as domain extensions. TLDs are a series of letters that appear to the right of our SLD after a period. Here are some popular TLDs:

  • .com: Short for “ commercial ”, this TLD is the first to be released and is intended for commercial and business use. Until now, this TLD is still the most popular.
  • .net: This TLD was created for technology organizations, but is now a common choice for business and other types of website owners too. TLD itself is an abbreviation of ” network “.
  • .edu: stands for ” education “, this type of TLD is made for colleges or universities, to other educational institutions. Currently, this TLD is widely used for most school websites.
  • .org: This TLD was developed for non-profit organizations, but is also starting to gain popularity and use among communities, schools, and non-profit corporations. The letters stand for ” organization “.
  • .gov: Short for “ government ”, this TLD was specifically created for use by government agencies.
  • .mil: This TLD was developed for use only by the military branches. Predictably, the letters are part of the word “ military ”.

On the other hand, there are also TLDs that are used for various countries. For example, “.ca” is for Canada. Apart from that, there are also custom domains such as “ .cheap ”, “ .coffee ”, and “ .ninja ”. In all, there are over 1,500 different TLDs to choose from, and counting.

Even so, fees for TLDs also vary. The reason is, some TLDs carry more weight than others, and this should influence our decision when buying a domain.

ccTLD: Country Code Top-Level Domain

ccTLD is a special extension for certain countries, consisting of two letters based on international country codes.

The correct country code can be found with the help of several platforms, such as the World Intellectual Property Organization or WIPO database . For example, the “ .jp ” extension is used by sites from Japan, whereas US-based websites mostly use the “ .us ” domain.

The use of ccTLDs is for companies that focus on a particular country. By using it, international companies can differentiate content for different regions. For example, the BBC uses “ bbc.co.uk ” as their UK domain, and targets local residents.

Meanwhile, ” bbc.com ” is used for international viewers.

gTLD: Generic Top-Level Domain

Generic Top-Level Domain is an extension independent of country code. So, there are no specific criteria to be able to use gTLD. Even so, some extensions are sponsored by specific organizations or institutions.

Then, most importantly, we must be careful not to confuse site visitors because there are several domains that have certain associations. For example, the “ .org ” extension relates to an organization’s website.

For certain types of registrars, some gTLDs are reserved. For example, government agencies may use “ .gov ” while academic institutions may use “ .edu ”. Friends, if your project or company doesn’t fall into a category, you won’t be able to use the gTLD associated with that category.

Even so, we can still use popular extensions instead, such as “ .net ” as an alternative or “ .com ”, “ .icu ”, and “ .xyz ”.

Other Domain Types

Below are some other types of domains that we should know about!

1. Subdomains

From the parent domain, subdomains denote separate parts that are still joined on the same server. Technically, the www of most URLs is a subdomain that designates a site as part of the world wide web . We don’t need to register subdomains.

Creating subdomains is important, and the most common reason is to divide and organize web content into separate sections. For example, Google uses developers.google.com when providing more developer-specific information.

There is also another use for subdomains, which is to create another website with the same name, but in a different language. If we look at Wikipedia, it has separate subdomains for each language. For example, en.wikipedia.org for the English version, and id.wikipedia.org for the Indonesian version.

2. Free Domains

Often, content management systems like Blogger or website builders like WordPress.com, offer a free domain name to their new users. Meanwhile, beginners often take this opportunity to create an initial website before starting to invest in it.

Often times, free web addresses follow the same structure as their subdomains. For example, the domain would be hostingertutorials.wordpress.com or hostingertutorials.blogspot.com, rather than hostingertutorials.com .

Always remember that free domains often only provide minimal tools and features.

How to Own a Domain

So, after getting to know the domain further, then how can we have our own domain? Of course you want to know, especially if you are interested in creating a website for a specific purpose.

Check out the reviews below!

1. Adjust Domain Fees With Needs

When you buy a domain name through a domain registrar, we register it for one year with the multi-year registration option. You will be able to renew your domain name registration when the initial period is over, and you will usually be warned by the registrar to do so.

The domain name is also sometimes included in the web hosting package and if not, is usually offered by the hosting company.

Domains purchased through Mailchimp are priced based on the TLD we choose, such as “ .com ” or “ .net ”.

A domain name with a common top-level domain, such as “ .com ”, can be obtained from USD 12.99 per year, and promotions are often available. Internet domains purchased through Mailchimp also come with free WHOIS privacy protection and a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate to provide websites with free verification and encryption.

You do need to have a web hosting package to get your site online , but you don’t need to have hosting to buy a domain. Assuming we have a business or blog name, we can reserve a brand name for the future by buying and registering a domain name.

Then, we will have plenty of time to consider how to build a website.

2. Define a Domain Name

Because your domain name can have a huge impact on your online presence , what you choose is an important first step in brand building. Finding the perfect domain name, however, can be challenging.

While it is true that there are millions of domain names available, many of the popular domain names that are easy to remember are used. Fortunately, we can still get what we need if we go through a simple process and use a little imagination.

3. Make It Branded, Not Generic

A creative and memorable domain name is always better than a generic one. After all, your domain name is how people will find, remember, and spread the word about your business on the internet. It’s much better to have something that aligns with the brand than a domain name consisting of a bunch of common keywords.

For example, can you tell the difference between cheapcarinsurance.com and Affordableautoinsurance.com ? Which will you trust when buying insurance? Maybe not. Both sound a little redundant, and are very common.

On the other hand, we probably know where the progressive.com or geico.com domain names will lead us. Those companies have invested in their brand, and they’ve used it in their domain names. We can trust that these sites are legit.

Even if you haven’t built trust and loyalty yet, you can start by choosing a strong domain name that fits your brand.

That’s a review regarding the meaning of the domain that is worth studying. Hopefully all the discussion above is useful and can also add to your insight.