What is a Domain Name?

Domain names were created to have a fast and easy way to remember hosts. In the previous time to the beginning of the internet, the world wide network was using IP addresses to browse the information that was hosted inside the web servers.

However, when the network started to grow, none would ever be able to remember so many IP addresses. That’s why engineers found a better way to address server information, they create the domain names.

What is a Domain name after all?

A domain name is just a name with a suffix, for example:

nixcp.com  or nasa.gov

Domain names exist to identify one or more IP addresses. Let’s see a practical example

cPaneltips.com is the domain name of this website, but behind that there is a single (or it could be more in case of large websites like google.com, microsoft.com, etc) IP address.

The IP address of cPaneltips.com is:

But none will remember that IP, if you want to browse nixcp.com you will use the domain name, not the IP.

Domain names are part of the URL of a website, for example:


Is one of the URLs of this website, and nixcp.com is just the domain name.

Every domain in the world has a predefined suffix (also known as Top level domain or TLD), that indicates the type of domain that it belongs to. Some examples:

  • .com – Used for commercial / general website
  • .net – Used for Network websites
  • .org – Used for organizations

Those three are the most typical / traditional TLD domains, however there are also country TLDs and Goverment TLDs like:

  • .com.mx – Mexico TLD
  • .com.br – Brazil TLD
  • .us – United States TLD
  • .ca – Canada TLD
  • .gov – Used for Govermennt agencies
  • .edu – Used by Educational Institutions
  • .mil – Used by the Military organizations

On the back, you will always use IP addreses inside the webservers, however, on the front side, at the client side, you will always use domain names to look for the websites that you want to browse. In order to work like this, the webserver uses a DNS server to translate domain name into IP addresses.

What is the difference between a Domain name and a Website?

A domain name is just that, a name on the internet.

A website, is a full developed website, that contains files (images, html, php) and probably a database.

In order to display information in your domain name, you need a website (and a web hosting provider to host that website). These are two different things, but they work together to have your website online.



About the Author: Esteban Borges

Experienced Sr. Linux SysAdmin and Web Technologist, passionate about building tools, automating processes, fixing server issues, troubleshooting, securing and optimizing high traffic websites.