Beginner’s Guide: What is a Domain Name and How Do Domains Work?

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We are often asked by beginners: what’s a website name and the way do domains work? If you are a beginner, then you may have heard that you need a domain to make a website. What is a Domain Name?

However, many beginners confuse domain names with a website or website hosting service. If you’re just starting out, then these different terms may sound too technical.

In this beginner’s guide, we’ll answer what’s a website name and the way domains work. The goal is to assist you to understand and choose the proper name for your website.



Here is a quick overview of the topics we will cover in this guide.

What is a Domain Name?

The domain name is the address of your website that people type in the browser URL bar to visit your website.

In simple terms, if your website was a house, then your name is going to be its address.
A more detailed explanation:

The Internet is a giant network of computers connected to each other through a global network of cables. Each computer on this network can communicate with other computers.
To identify them, each computer is assigned an IP address. It is a series of numbers that identify a specific computer on the web. A typical IP address looks like this:

Now an IP address like this is often quite difficult to recollect. Imagine if you had to use such numbers to go to your favorite websites.

Domain names were invented to solve this problem.

Now if you would like to go to an internet site, then you don’t get to enter an extended string of numbers. Instead, you’ll visit it by typing a simple to recollect name in your browser’s address bar.


How Domain Names Actually Work?

To understand how domain names actually work, we will take a look at what happens when you enter them into your browser.

When you enter a domain name in your web browser, it first sends a request to a global network of servers that form the Domain Name System (DNS).

These servers then look up the name servers associated with the domain and forward the request to those name servers.

For example, if your website is hosted on Bluehost, then its name server information will be like this:

These name servers are computers managed by your hosting company. Your hosting company will forward your request to the computer where your website is stored.

This computer is called a web server. It has special software installed (Apache, Nginx are two popular web server software). The web server now fetches the web page and pieces of information associated with it.

Finally, it then sends this data back to the browser.


How is Domain Name Different from a Website and Web Hosting?


What is a Domain Name and How Do Domains Work?


A website is made up of files like HTML pages, website builder software, images, and more.
If the name is that the web address of your website, then web hosting is that the home where your website lives.

This is the particular computer where your website’s files are stored. Such computers are called servers and they are offered as a service by hosting companies.

To create your website, you would like both a website name and web hosting.

However, it’s important to recollect that they’re two separate services, and you’ll buy them from two different companies.

Now you’ll be wondering, how wouldn’t it work if you purchased them from two separate companies?

You just need to edit your domain name settings and enter the Name Server information provided by your hosting company. Name Server information defines where to send user requests for your name.

We recommend getting both your name and hosting from an equivalent company. This allows you to simply manage them under an equivalent account.

For more details, see our guide on the difference between name and web hosting.


Different Types of Domain Names

Domain names are available in many different extensions. The most popular one is .com. There are many other options like .org, .net, .tv, .info, .io, and more. However, we always recommend using the .com domain extension.

Let’s take a more detailed look at the different types of domain names available


Top Level Domain – TLD

Top-level domain or TLD is generic domain extensions that are listed at the highest level in the domain name system.
There are many TLDs, but the foremost popular ones are .com .org, and .net. Other TLDs are lesser-known and that we don’t recommend using them. For example, .biz, .club, .info, .agency, and lots of more.

Country Code Top Level Domain – ccTLD

Country-code top-level domain or ccTLD are country-specific domain names that end with country code extension like .uk for the United Kingdom, .de for Germany, .in for India.
They are used by websites that want to target audiences in a specific country.

Sponsored Top Level Domain – sTLD

Sponsored top-level domain or sTLD is a category of TLDs that has a sponsor representing a specific community served by the domain extension.
For example, .edu for education-related organizations, .gov for the United States government, .mil for the United States military, and more.


Who is Responsible for Domain Name System?

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) manages the domain names system. It is a non-profit organization that makes and implements policies for domain names.

ICANN gives permission to companies called Domain Name Registrars for selling domain names. These domain registrars are allowed to make changes to the domain name registry on your behalf.

Domain name registrars can sell domain names, manage their records, renewals, and transfers to other registrars.

As a website name owner, you’re liable for telling the registrar where to send requests. You are also liable for renewing your domain registration.


How to Choose a Domain Name for Your Website?


What is a Domain Name and How Do Domains Work?



There are currently more than 350 Million registered domain names and thousands more get registered each day.

This means that all the good ones are already registered or will be registered very soon. This puts a lot of pressure on new users to come up with a domain idea for their website.

We’ve created a free AI-powered business name generator tool that helps you come up with creative company name ideas and check domain name availability status to help you save time.
Here are some quick tips to help you choose a domain name for your next website.

Stick with a .com domain name as it is the most popular, easy to remember, and easy to promote.
Make sure it is shorter and easy to remember
Make it easy to pronounce and spell
Do not use numbers or hyphens
Use domain name generators to come up with clever domain name ideas

For more tips and practical advice, see our guide on how to choose the best domain name for your website.


How to Buy a Domain Name?

You can buy domain names from one of the many domain name registrars. A domain name typically costs 14.99 per year. popular domain name companies are:

However, buying a domain does not automatically give you a hosting service. For that, you’ll need an internet site hosting account also.
Many WordPress hosting companies offer domain registration services also. This allows you to manage both services under one account, and you furthermore may don’t got to worry about changing name server settings for your domain.

We recommend using Bluehost. They are offering Wehavedigitaltool users a free name and a 60% discount on hosting. Basically, you can get started for $2.75/month.

Frequently Asked Questions About Domain Names

Over the years we’ve helped thousands of beginners start their first websites. We have heard almost every possible question about domain names that you simply can consider.
Following are the answers to a number of the foremost commonly asked questions on domain names.


1. What is a subdomain?

A subdomain is basically a child domain under the main domain name. For example, is a subdomain of

Once you register a domain, you have permission to create subdomains for it by yourself.

Subdomains are commonly used by websites to create child sites under the same domain name. For example, a business website can create a subdomain for their blog or their online store as or

2. Can I cancel my registration of a domain name?

Some domain registrars allow you to cancel your domain registration at any time. If you cancel your registration, it will become available for others to register.

Other domain name registrars allow you to simply let your domain registration expire.

In most cases, you will not get any refund for the domain registration. However, some domain registrars do have refund policies which you may want to discuss with them before canceling your registration.

If you don’t have the auto-renew feature turned on, then your domain name will simply expire after the registration period you have paid for.

3. Can I move my website to a different domain name?

Yes, you can. You can point your name to your hosting server. You can also keep both domain names pointing to an equivalent website.

However, search engines consider it duplicate content and that will affect your search rankings.
We have a step-by-step guide on the way to properly move an internet site to a replacement name and found out redirects, so you don’t hurt your SEO.

4. Can I sell a domain name?

Yes, you can sell your domain name. Domain names are like real estate for the web. There is a huge demand for good brandable custom domain names.

Trading domain names is a multi-million dollar industry. Since domain names are so cheap, smart entrepreneurs are always looking for great domain name ideas to get their hands on.

If you want to sell your domain name, then there are many marketplace websites like Sedo, GoDaddy, and others where you can list your domain for sale.

Popular registrars like also let you buy premium domains right from their domain search feature.

Related: See the best GoDaddy alternatives for buying domains.

5. What is domain privacy? Do I need it?

ICANN requires people registering domain names to provide an email, physical address, phone number, and other personal information to be made available publicly.

Domain Privacy is a separate add-on service sold by domain registrars. It allows you to show proxy information instead of your actual personal info.

You don’t need to buy domain privacy if you don’t want to. However, if you are concerned about privacy, then you can buy this service for a small cost.

6. Can I buy more than one domain name?

Yes, you can buy as many domain names as you like.

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