What is a Domain Name?

by | Aug 27, 2020 | Blogging | 0 comments

When you decide to bring your business or brand online, there are a lot of terms out there that you will come across. Domain name, website URL and domain registrar are just a few of them.

While they all relate to having a website, they don’t mean the same thing and it can be confusing for beginners to understand them all. But we’re here to help! We’ll explain what each term means and clarify any confusion around web content. Once you discover how useful these terms can be, navigating your way around the web will be second nature!

What Is A Domain Name?

Not sure what a domain name is? Look at the address bar in your browser.

You will see:

SSL padlock

That’s a domain name.

The term ‘domain name’ is often interchanged with domain. This is the main part of the address you use when you visit your favorite website.

A domain name is an identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority or control within the Internet. Domain names are used in various networking contexts and for application-specific naming and addressing purposes.Wiki

The domain name is, in simple terms, the name of a website.

Examples of domain names

  • google.com
  • msn.com
  • yahoo.com

Domain name vs URL

A URL (Universal Resource Locator) is the complete web address for any resource on the internet.

These resources can be documents other regular web pages, such as PDFs, CSS files or images.

So while a domain name is the name of the website, a URL will take you to a specific resource or item on that website.

Every URL contains a domain name and sometimes other information needed to locate a particular page or document on a website.

Examples of URLs

  • https://www.google.com
  • https://www.msn.com/en-xl/northamerica
  • https://shopping.yahoo.com/

Domain name vs Website

Registering a domain name does not mean you automatically have a website.

A domain is the name of a website, a URL is used to locate the website and a website is what people see and interact with when they get there.

So even when you purchase a domain you will still have to build your website.

A website is a collection of pages or resources grouped under the domain name.

Websites are stored on web servers.

The domain name in the URL directs you to the proper web server and the rest of the URL to the specific file or page.

To create your own blog or website, you will need:

  1. Domain Name
  2. Web Hosting
  3. Content Management System*

Why do we need domain names?

To answer this we have to first speak about the internet as a whole. The internet is a huge network of computers connected through cables (Yes you can count wireless). Each computer on the internet can communicate with each other. To identify each computer differently, an IP address is assigned.

IP addresses look like this:

This is an IP address for a public DNS server. It’s not too hard to remember, right?

Lets try another:

This is an IP address for a Blizzard game server. This one is not too easy to remember, but you can if you try.

It can get confusing when we need to do this for multiple websites. This is why domain names exist.

They allow us to easily remember website addresses in the form of words which we are accustomed to.

IP addresses are the original identifiers for computers and other devices on the internet. Domain names do not replace IP addresses. Instead, what happens is that when a website address is entered, it is connected to the related IP address.

How Much Does a Domain Cost?

The cost to register a domain is typically between $10-$20 per year. This price can vary depending on:

  1. Popularity of the name
  2. Duration of registration
  3. The TLD being used
  4. The domain registrar being used

This regular domain cost doesnt factor in special promotions and discounts.

1. Popularity of the name

All names aren’t equal, even if they have the same amount of letters. Most registrars know this and assign some domains a higher value.

silverhand.com, for example, costs $39,000.

domain registration cost for silverhand on godaddy registrar

These names tend to be very brandable. This name is easy to remember and I could picture a company being named this.

These types are domains are called premium domains and has that premium price to go along with it.

godaddy what is a premium domain

2. Duration of registration

The default registration period is one year. Most registrars, however, give you the option to register for multiple years at a time. Naturally as you increase the duration, the cost goes up.

namecheap 10 year .com domain registration price

Depending on the registrar used, there might be special discounts.

3. The TLD used

The standard TLDs mostly cost the same, as long as it isnt a premium name.

A .com domain, which is the most common domain name, costs $8.88/year on namecheap.

namecheap main domains .com .net

For some of the more exotic domain names, the price can vary wildly.

godaddy chinstu .org .xyz .store domain name prices

How to register a Domain Name?

Domain registrars are the main way to get a domain name. Some of the most popular domain registrars include:

  1. Godaddy
  2. Namecheap

They typically cost about 14.99 for 1 year but this is for the most common domain names.

namecheap .so .online .us .top .eu domain name sales prices

Some registrars allow you to buy more than 1 year at a time.

Most of these registrars offer you a first time discount on a domain name registration.

Be careful with this.

Some domain names, because of this discount, start with a very low price but end up costing much higher than average upon renewal.

For example,on Namecheap, a .tech domain has an initial price of $4.99.

namecheap .tech domain name sale price

This then renews for $28.88 a month.

namecheap .tech renewal registration transfer prices1

This is almost double the average price of $14.99.

You could save a bit and do an initial registration for five [5] years to lock in the low price for that time period.

But eventually you would be stuck with this high price after that time period expires.


Some web host offer a free domain name as an incentive. Bluehost is one of those companies.

Bluehost special shared hosting discount popup


What is a subdomain

Can I cancel my registration of a domain name?

Can I move my website to a different domain name?

Can I sell a domain name?

What is domain privacy? Do I need it?

Can I buy more than one domain name?

Are domain names with .com always preferable?

Domain name vs website vs website hosting


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