What is a domain Name?

Domain names are the names we use to provide more friendly and readable addresses to websites, servers, networks and other internet resources. This helps us to easily access resources online, without needing to know or remember the IP address of a server or online resource.

Imagine for example, having to remember and enter the IP address 94.126.40.226 each time you need to access the LCN website. We use domain names like lcn.com instead; to link a readable and memorable address to an online resource like a website or email address.

If you want to publish your own website, or protect your company’s brand online, registering a domain name should be your first step.

We’ll go into more depth about how domain names work and the different types of domain names that you can register below.

Types of domains and the domain hierarchy

The hierarchy of domain names is organised from right to left, with the top-level domain, also referred to as the domain-extension or parent domain on the far right. The different levels are separated by dots.

Historically, the types of domain names that you can register would be defined as either: generic top-level domains (gTLDs), or country-code domains (ccTLDs).

Examples of generic top-level domains would include:

  • .com
  • .net
  • .org

Examples of country-code domains would include:

  • .uk
  • .us
  • .fr
  • .jp
  • .co

In some cases, domain registries will use the 2nd level of the domain hierarchy when offering domain registrations to the public.

Examples of 2nd level domains would include:

  • .co.uk
  • .uk.com
  • .org.uk
  • .me.uk

New top-level domains

More recently hundreds of new top-level domains have been established allowing the registration of a much wider variety of types of domain name.

Examples of new top-level domains would include:

  • .online
  • .blog
  • .london
  • .shop
  • .expert
  • .photo

What’s the difference between a domain name and a URL?

Domain names are part of the internet addresses that you use to access resources online – the entire address of a web-page is referred to as a URL or uniform-resource-locater.

A URL will include more details like the specific page-name/file-name, folder path, domain name and the internet protocol being used to access the resource in question.

If we take the URL of this page as an example: https://www.lcn.com/support/articles/what-is-a-domain-name

what-is-a-domain-name - Is the page name.
/support/articles/ - Is the folder path for this page within the LCN website.
lcn.com - Is the domain name.
www - Is the sub-domain/prefix used to specify that the page is part of the world-wide-web (these days, most web-pages will load with or without this prefix).
https:// - Is the internet protocol being used to access the page.

The domain name is just an important part of the larger address used to access a web-page or other resource online.

That’s it! You should now understand what a domain name is and why they are so useful for accessing resources online.

Check out some of our related guides

Need a hand? Search over a hundred step-by-step support guides