What is a Domain Name?

The best way to think of a domain name is as an alias. In other words, a name that is an easy way of representing something else. This system was designed to make finding individual places on the Internet easy to find.

Back in the early days of the Internet there were very few places you could go. Because computers are what make up the Internet, and the fact that they communicate via numbers, people used to keep large lists of numbers that represented the addressed of other computers on the Internet. Of course, as the Internet got bigger, so did the lists. Eventually it simply became too hard to remember or catalogue all of those numbers. Someone then came up with the clever idea of using names instead of numbers to represent computers, names being much more human-friendly. A system was then developed where top-level names (like .NET, .COM, .ORG and .NET) were established and then attached to these would be second-level domain names such as CYBRUS. Putting these domain names together then created a unique domain-name address such as CYBRUS.NET,  FUNDSOFT.COM,   FUSIONWEBWORKS.COM,  etc. When you enter this name into your Web browser, email or FTP client the name is first resolved into its numerical equivalent and your request is then routed across the Internet to the end destination. The system worked very well and made the Internet far more user-friendly to non-technical users to the point where some top level domains such as .COM have nearly been filled.

Try it, enter the numerical address into your browser and see what comes up. (Note the numerical address remains in the Address bar.) You can get to FUNDSOFT.COM or any other website on the Internet using this approach if you know the numerical address of your desired destination.

Domain names have now become an individual's or company's way of putting themselves and what they have to say on the Internet. A domain name is in many ways similar to a customized license plate. Registering a domain name on the Internet is the equivalent of registering a company name at corporate registry. Once registered, no-one else can use that name and the owner and the owner's address are uniquely identified. However, as there are many companies with similar names, it is important to register a suitable domain name for your company as soon as possible. Once gone, they are typically gone forever.

As an example, if your company name was Demo Inc., then a suitable domain name could be demo.com . Your website would be located at http://www.demo.com and your email addresses would be in the form of user_name@demo.com. Of course demo.com has been taken many years ago as have most of the other short or obvious names but you might be surprised by how many .COM associated second-level domains are still unclaimed.