Many first-time beginner users are often unsure of what a ‘domain name’ is. One way of explaining a website domain name or “domain”, for short, is the unique name given to a group of web resources.
Computers see each other in the language of numbers. A computer on the internet has a unique number, much like a telephone number.
Its difficult for humans to remember all these numbers, so we often give these computers special names which allow them to be found easily and allows us to remember where we found them. These special names are called “domains”.
An easier way to explain the term is to use an analogy as an example; You can think of a domain like the name of your street address. By looking at the way web pages work, we can further explain a domain name’s part in making the web work.
A domain is like your street address – this is the name of your location you can tell your friends and family about so they can find you, and send you mail. Taking it a step further, the name of your address is also closely related to the land your home is built on. In website terms and continuing our analogy, the land your home is built on is called website hosting.
Website hosting is a service which web host companies provide, that gives you the space and technical requirements for your website to be shown whenever someone requests which information is available at your domain.
The final part of our example; the home you build, is the website that sits on top of your website hosting, and can be found using your domain name.
You can see from this example, that you can have a home (a website) on top of some land (website hosting) and be found at your address (domain name).
How Domain Names Can Look Different
You may have already seen many examples of domain names, Google.co.za is a variant of one of the worlds most popular domain names. It groups all of Google’s information together, and acts as the “address” where you can find most of Google’s informational resources (at least for South Africa, given the .co.za ending).
There are some examples where the domain name seems to change slightly as you use different Google resources.
You may also have seen examples like calendar.google.co.za – This small change before the domain name is typically called a sub-domain. Which is like giving your street address a second entry point to your land (maybe your home is on the corner of two streets, and you have two entry points to the same land, but two different street addresses).
Having information appear behind the domain name, such as Google.co.za/search?q=what+is+domain+name does not change the domain name; Its just a more accurate way of describing a resource you are looking for. Using our example again, your street address is set (the domain does not change), but you can give more accurate directions (for example: myhome.com/myroom/myshelf/myitem).
What Does This Mean for Domain Name Registration?
Domains can be intended for different purposes. Most South African companies would prefer a co.za domain type. The extension (the bit that comes after the first dot) implies what a domain is used for or where it originates from.
co.za domains, for example, are intended for use by South African companies. You can see this detail in how the domain is written: the dot co (.co = company/commercial) and the dot za (za = Zuid-Afrika).
You cannot register or make a sub-domain on a domain you do not have access to. This means you are not free to register the domain mydomain.google.co.za if you do not own google.co.za – A subdomain is created by the domain’s owner to create a separate point of entry (to display resources for a specific function).
Domain names cannot have spaces in them, or any special characters besides a hyphen and some forms of domains carry other limitations like a maximum length.
In closing, a domain name is much like a regular street address, it allows a website to be found on the internet easily.
Your.co.za offers easy co.za domain registration and bundled services like website hosting, email addresses and website design.