Domain Name 101 : A Beginner’s Guide

Domain Name, URL, IP Address, Domain Registrar, HTTPS are some of the common web terms to be aware of. This basic knowledge proves to be handy if you are planning to buy a domain and web hosting.

Here’s a blog that defines these web terms in layman’s language. Let’s get rolling …

What is a URL?

URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. It is a complete web address that helps in finding a particular website. See Figure # 1.

Every URL contains a domain name as well as other components needed to locate the specific page of a website. Each page of a website has a unique URL. One needs to type the complete URL or web address in the web browser address bar to access a website.

Figure # 1

What is a Domain Name?

In simple words, a domain name or a domain is the name of the website. It is a unique identification string that defines your web address on the internet. Domain name is what comes after “www.” in a website address. See below Figure # 2.

Examples of domain names –,,

One needs to purchase ($6.99 approx. per year) a domain name. However, few of the popular web hosting companies provide it for free. Generally, they do not charge for the 1st year of hosting subscription.

A domain name consists of two parts that have a separator as a dot (.). These are Top-Level Domain (TLD) and Second Level Domain (SLD). See below Figure # 2.

Figure # 2

What is an IP Address?

An Internet Protocol (IP) Address is a unique series of numbers assigned to a website. It serves two main functions – web host or network interface identification and location addressing. In simple words, this numeric set is used by the computer to connect to the server where the website resides.

Example of an IP Address :

Computers or servers love numbers so it is easy for them to identify websites using IP Addresses. However, for humans it is difficult to remember numbers so they identify the websites through words i.e. a domain name or a URL.

Let’s take an analogy, mobile numbers are numerals and unique. While storing them on our mobile phone we associate a name with it. So, if you want to make a call then you search for the name and hit the dial button. In the background, your mobile number (unique) connects to another mobile number (unique) through a mobile network.

What is the difference between HTTP and HTTPS?

HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol and HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure.

HTTP provides set of rules and standards that govern how information should be transmitted over the World Wide Web. In essence, HTTP offers standard rules for web browsers to communicate with web servers.

HTTPS is highly advanced and secure version of HTTP. For communication, it uses port # 443. By using SSL, it encrypts the entire communication and allows secure transactions. Basically, it encrypts the information. It is a perfect combination of SSL/TLS protocol and HTTP.

Since, HTTPS is highly secure so websites collecting customer information or performing financial transactions need to install SSL certificate. For this reason, many web hosting providers offer free SSL certificate for the 1st year of web hosting subscription.

What is a Website?

A website is a collection of related web pages that is identified by a domain name and hosted on a web server. Some websites are accessible to the public whereas some are internal to an organization (referred to as an Intranet).

Websites are a perfect way for businesses and individuals to showcase their portfolio, products, services and passion. In order to publish or launch a website, one needs to buy a domain name, hosting space and build a website accessible on the internet.

These days building a website is much easier, faster and economical than having a brick and mortar store. Thanks to powerful web building tools like WordPress, WooCommerce, SquareSpace, Wix, etc. which are free to use.

What is a Web Browser?

A web browser or simply a browser is a software application for accessing information (text, images, videos, etc.) on the internet or World Wide Web. The user needs to type in the domain name or URL in the address bar of a web browser to retrieve the contents of that website. The browser sends a requests to the web server and displays the response on the screen. Some of the most popular browsers are Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Opera, Safari, etc. These are free to use.

Image Courtesy : Network Encyclopedia

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