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The Meaning of Domain Name, It’s Types and How It Works: Be 2024 Ready!

The Meaning of Domain Name, It's Types and How It Works

Selecting a domain name is one of the most vital steps in building a website.

A domain name is a unique address—a web-address to be more specific which is acquired through domain registration. Usually, a domain name consists of a website name and an extension that succeeds it.

A good domain name reflects your brand and makes it easier for potential customers to find your website online.

In this simple guide, we will look at domain names, their types, and how they work. You will also come across some golden nuggets in the form of tips as you go along reading this guide.

The end goal of this guide is to ensure you find the best domain name for your business or personal brand.

So, without wasting any more time. Let’s dive straight into it:

What is a domain name?

A domain name, simply put is a website’s equivalent to a real-world physical address. However, it consists of two parts – the name and its extension. It ensures that the users can easily remember and find your site without remembering its Internet Protocol (IP) address.

Also read: Introduction to Domain Authority

How does a domain work?

There are two main elements of a website: its domain name and hosting server. All domain names link to their corresponding IP addresses and point to the servers hosting their site.

When a user enters a domain name on a browser, the Domain Name System (DNS) server, a global network, looks for the associate IP address and web server to that specific domain name entry. The web server stores the website’s data, which includes all its files, HTML code, and database.

For example, if your website is hosted on Nestify, then its name server info will consist of the DNS records like this:

Once the matching server is located, the server will take the requested data from the domain’s hosting service and return the request back to the browser. In this case, these servers are managed by the hosting company Nestify. So, Nestify will forward your request to the computer where your website is stored.

In the tech-lingo, this computer responsible for storing your data is called a “web server.” It runs a special software installed. The two most popular ones are Nginx and Apache.

Once the browser gets the data, it will load up a web page for the user(s).

Types of Domain names

Domain name types can reveal much information about a website at a glance. Below are some of the most common domain names that are out there:

Top-Level Domains (TLD)

A top-level domain is a term used to denote a specific type of domain extension. An extension is generally the part of the URL that comes after the actual name. For example, in the domain name, “.io” is one of the top-level domain names that has recently gained popularity.

Many TLDs are available online, but .com remains the most popular, with over 47% of sites globally using it. Commercial businesses and other projects can utilize the .com domain to improve their website credibility.

Another advantage of a .com domain is that most users remember it by default and are more likely to type it in their search bars. Some other popular TLD choices are as follows:

.net domain – .net is an excellent alternative to the .com domain, regardless of your niche.

.biz domain – .biz is another .com alternative and is a good business domain name.

.org domain – is the go-to domain for non-profit organizations.

.io domain is famous around the tech industry and is riding the popularity wave nowadays.

.xyz domain refers to the X, Y, and Z generations and is a more affordable alternative. Also famous for testing sites.

.icu domain – .icu stands for “I see you” and is suitable for almost anything

It should be noted that the more popular a TLD is, the more expensive it will be. Some other less standard extensions are .tech, .shop, .online, etc.

Pro Tip: If the domain name that you desired is already registered with someone else’s website, check the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) archives for the alternative TLD options.

Country-Code Top-Level-Domain (ccTLD)

ccTLDs (country-code top-level domains) are country-specific domains. These often consist of two letters based on the international country codes.

For example, sites from India widely use .in as their domain extensions, whereas .us is usually registered for US-based sites.

Here are other examples of ccTLDs you can register:

.de – Germany

.at – Austria

.lt – Lithuania

.ca (Canada)

.it – Italy

.se – Sweden

.mx (Mexico)

.cn (China)

.jp (Japan)

A ccTLD suits organizations, companies, or entities operating from a specific country. Companies with global reach can also use ccTLDs to differentiate localized content across different regions and manage their content better.

For instance, the BBC has used the as their domain, and rest the international audiences.

Pro Tip: If you’re unsure about what a country’s code is, the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) database can aid you in find the correct one.

Generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD)

gTLDs (generic top-level domains) are extensions that do not rely on a specific country code. .com and .net domains are good examples of gTLDs.

However, some are associated with a specific community, so you must be careful not to confuse your visitors.

Also known as sponsored TLDs, these domain extensions are represented by a sponsor organization that sets and enforces rules for the TLD. Here are some examples of sponsored TLDs:

The .gov domain – which the Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency sponsors, is mainly reserved for government organizations.

If your company or project does not belong to a particular category, you would not be able to use a generic TLD associated with it.

The .edu domain, managed by EDUCAUSE, is eligible for higher education institutions in the US.

The .asia domain – entitites, businesses, organizations, operating from the Asia-Pacific region can use this TLD. The sponsor of this TLD is the DotAsia Organisation Ltd.

The .travel domain – owned by Donuts Inc. This TLD is a good option for travel agents, hoteliers, airlines, and tourism bureaus.

Second-Level Domain

A second-level domain (SLD) comes under the TLDs in the hierarchy of the domain names. An SLD is a domain name section located before the left of the last dot. Take, for example – “Nestify” is the SLD.

Some domain name registries use a SLD to indicate the specific entity that is registered. For example, commercial companies in Australia use domains. UK academic institutions mostly register websites under the domain.

Also read: 

How to Buy a Domain Name?

You can purchase the domain name from one of the many domain name registrars. A domain name registration typically costs $14.99 per year. Some popular domain name companies are:

However, you still need to buy a hosting service separately. For that, you will also need a website hosting account.

A lot of WordPress hosting companies offer domain registration services. This allows you to manage both under a single account, and you also do not need to worry about changing the name server settings of your domain.

Also read: Domain flipping


Domain names in the online world are as important as your address in the offline world. These unique addresses make it easier for your audiences to access your websites. They also help to elevate your brand identity and improve your website ranking on the search engines.

When selecting a domain name for your website, ensure it is easy to remember, relevant to your website’s content, and, most of all, available for registration. The .com extension is excellent for making your website appear professional. That being said, .io and .net are also some good alternatives.

We hope this simple guide on The Meaning of Domain Names and How It Works has given you a basic understanding of the domains and their working. If you still have questions, please ask them in the comment section below.


What Happens When a Domain Expires?

When a domain expires, it automatically gets deactivated and is called “parked.” This means it is no longer linked to the website and becomes available for purchase by any other people who might be actively looking for it.

 The domain will be auctioned off if not renewed within the grace period. After the auction, the domain is released for public registration.

What Is the Main Difference Between a Domain Name and a Website?

A domain name is like an address. It’s what internet users fill into a browser to access a website of their choice. On the other hand, a website is a collection of several web pages made up of files under a single domain. So basically, a domain name is like an address to the house(website) and its rooms(webpages).

Who owns a domain name?

You can use the tool Whois lookup to find information about who owns a specific domain name.

 However, if that specific domain is using domain privacy, then you’ll only see the proxy information provided by the owner of that domain.

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