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To the left of the dot is the second level domain, which might be your name, the name of your business, blog, or store. It’s the “identity” of your site. In our case, the second level domain is “NorthFloridaWeb”.

To the right of the dot is the top-level domain (or TLD), in this case the TLD is “.com”, but you may have also seen TLDs like .net, or .org, or country identifiers like .uk or .de.

What Exactly Is a “Domain Name”?

Ever found yourself wondering, “What’s a domain, actually?” If you glance at the top of your browser window, right where the URL is displayed, you’ll see it. Starting with “http://” and followed by a unique name – that’s the domain. In our context, it’s “” This guide will help you understand what an internet domain name is and its role online.

Diving Into Domain Names:

A domain name fundamentally represents your website’s address on the internet. While computers use a series of numbers known as an IP address to identify each other, humans use domain names because they’re easier to remember. Just like you’d select ‘Mom’ from your phone contacts rather than dialing her number, you type a domain name into your browser to visit a website.

Understanding the Components of a Domain:

Let’s delve deeper into the anatomy of a domain name. It consists of two main parts: the second-level domain (SLD) and the top-level domain (TLD), separated by a dot.

  • Second-Level Domain (SLD): Situated to the left of the dot, the SLD is essentially the unique identifier of your website – it could be your personal name, your business’s name, or anything you choose. For instance, in “NorthFloridaWeb,” the SLD is the standout part that represents your online identity.
  • Top-Level Domain (TLD): To the right of the dot, the TLD can be a general descriptor like “.com,” or something more specific or regional like “.net,” “.org,” “.uk,” or “.de.” Although it’s a crucial component of your domain, the real creative freedom lies in choosing your SLD. However, picking a distinctive TLD like “.club,” “.store,” or “.pizza” can also add a unique flair to your domain.

What’s the Purpose of a Domain Name?

If you’ve ever been prompted to register a domain and wondered why here’s the rundown: a domain name is your online address, your unique identifier on the web. It’s what enables people to find you, your business, or your blog online. Beyond just marking your territory on the internet, registering a domain ensures you exclusively own that slice of online space.

Registering your domain secures it, preventing others from claiming your chosen name. It’s a strategic move to protect your brand or personal online identity, even if you’re not ready to launch your website immediately. Plus, it opens the door to creating personalized email addresses, enhancing your professional image.

Domain vs. Hosting – What’s the Difference?

While a domain is your online address, hosting is the actual space where your website’s content lives. Think of the domain as the address plaque on your house, and hosting as the structure of the house itself. You need both to establish a full-fledged online presence. The domain leads visitors to your site, while hosting ensures your site is accessible and stored securely on the web. Together, they form the essential foundation for any website to thrive online.