Domain names are human-friendly names for locations on the internet, particularly servers which serve websites and email. Without domain names, these locations would be identified by their unique IP address which are hard for a human to remember more than one or two of. For example our website’s domain name is
phoenixweb.com.au. It’s corresponding IP address is
126.96.36.199 (at time of writing). You can navigate to our website by entering either format into your web browser’s address bar, but the domain name is far more useful.
Each domain name is unique and once it is licensed to a person or business, it cannot be used by another entity. This exclusive use lasts as long as the domain license is kept up to date. For example, there can only ever be one website called
example.com because that domain is taken. Because domains are unique they are very useful for business branding purposes. Therefore, one of the first items on your to-do list when starting a new business should be to purchase its matching domain name. You can purchase a domain name from one of many domain name registrars. Once registered, the registrar adds the domain name and its relevant information to the domain name system, which converts the domain name to an IP address.
Top Level Domains
Every domain name consists of a top level domain on the right and its unique identifier to the left. In our case the top level domain is
.com.au and the unique identity is
phoenixweb. Once you own the unique identifier you’ll be able to add any sort of subdomain to the left of it. So because we own
phoenixweb.com.au we also own
mail.phoenixweb.com.au and so on.
Read more about domain names at the Wikipedia domain name article.