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Domain names are unique identifiers used to help find websites on the Internet. In much the same way that your first and last names help to identify who you are to others, domain names enable you to easily find and surf to your favorite websites just by typing that domain name (web address) into your browser window. For example, the domain name for this website is “hostlead.com.” ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) assumes responsibility for management and coordination of the Domain Name System (DNS) by overseeing the distribution of domain names and unique IP addresses across the Internet.

Domain Names - The technical Part

The Internet’s Domain Name System or DNS for short, was designed with ease of use in mind. Each computer on the Internet is assigned an IP address or Internet Protocol. This all-numeric IP address (i.e.: 192.168.0.1) is what distinguishes your computer as unique from all the other computers online today. Likewise, computer servers, which serve up web pages to the Internet world, are also assigned unique IP addresses. Now, imagine trying to find your favorite site each day by having to type in a long IP address like 192.168.0.1! Not only would that be time consuming, but also confusing! Hence the reason why domain names have become an effective means of labeling different websites across the Internet. Each unique name identifies a different website online. In simper terms, the mapping of domain names to IP addresses takes place behind the scenes, which means that when you type “hostlead.com” into your browser window, your computer, which speaks only in numbers, translates “hostlead.com” into the IP number associated with the website you want to view.

Domain Name Extensions

Each domain name ends with what’s known as an extension. A domain name extension is another tool of identification. An extension or TLD (Top Level Domain) consists of the last few letters following the final period or “dot” in the name itself. The extension /TLD for google.com is “.com.” There are a host of top-level domain name extensions available today, such as:

  • .com (Commercial Organizations)
  • .net (Networks)
  • .org (Not-for-profit Organizations)
  • .edu (Educational)
  • .gov (Government)
  • .mil (Military)
  • .biz (Business)

The above listing of domain name extensions is often referred to as generic or gTLDs.

Country Extensions

Domain name extensions can even be indicative of location. Location oriented domain name extensions are always two letters in-length and based on the two-character ISO country codes. Country specific domain names are known as ccTLDs or country-code TLDs. Examples of such extensions are:

  • .fr (France)
  • .it (Italy)
  • .jp (Japan)
  • .us (United States)
  • .be (Belgium)
  • .br (Brazil)
  • .tw (Taiwan)
  • .tr (Turkey)

There are currently over 240 different countries and territories represented with such available extensions.

New Extensions

ICANN is currently working to continue to add new TLDs to the list of those already register-able. The newest TLDs, some of which are already available include:

  • .aero (air-transport industry specific)
  • .biz (business)
  • .coop (cooperative)
  • .info (information and generic)
  • .museum (museum specific)
  • .name (individuals)
  • .pro (professionals)

Alternative Domain Name extensions

The newest wave of domain name extensions comes from New.net (http://www.new.net), now offering alternative extensions, which are more descriptive and useful, though not true extensions. While anyone may register a New.net domain, a special software plug-in is required to make full use of them. Some of new.net’s featured extensions include:

  • .shop
  • .family
  • .mp3
  • .tech

So, how can you get your own domain name? Simple! Point your browser to any accredited domain name registrar, choose an available domain name and extension, register it, and that’s it! In just minutes you'll be the proud owner of your very own domain name. There are many accredited domain name registrars, able to help you in the process of registering your own domain name, each offering a variety of different services from registration-only to domain hosting.

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