What is a web domain?
Domains explained for beginners
The web domain of your website is essentially the equivalent of a physical address. In the same way that a satellite needs an address or a zip code to give directions, a web browser needs a domain name to direct you to a website.
An internet domain is formed from two main elements. For example, the domain name Facebook.com consists of the website name (Facebook) and the domain extension (.com). When a company (or person) purchases a web domain, it can specify which server the domain name points to.
Domain name registries are overseen by an organization called ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). ICANN specifies which domain extensions are available and maintains a centralized database of where web domains point.
Every website you visit consists of two main elements: a web domain and a web server.
A web server is a physical machine that hosts the files and databases that make up your website and sends them to people over the Internet when they visit your site from their computer.
The web domain or internet domain is what people type to access your site, and points the web browser to the server that stores those resources. Without a web domain, people would have to remember the specific IP address of your server, and that just isn't going to happen.
How do domains work?
Domains work by acting as a shortcut to the server that hosts your website.
Without a domain, anyone who wanted to visit your website would have to enter the full IP address. But the problem is that an IP address is difficult to memorize or include in advertising materials.
In our case, Mox.cl is the domain. Let's say it points to the IP address 100.90.80.70. The IP address points to a server, but does not resolve the website if visitors try to use it. This is because for an IP address to resolve a website, the remote server must use port 80 with a default page (i.e. index.html) stored in your web applications directory.
As you can see, messing with server defaults and IP addresses can be confusing and time consuming. This is why the vast majority of website owners choose to use a service like Mox Networks.
Different types of domains
Not all internet domains follow the same formula, and while .com domains make up 46.5% of all websites globally, that leaves plenty of room for other types of domains like .org and .net. In general, the most common types of domains include:
TLD: Top Level Domains
A top-level domain is exactly what its name says - a type of domain that sits at the top level of the Internet domain system. There are over a thousand TLDs available, but the most common include .com, .org, .net, and .edu.
The official list of TLDs is maintained by an organization called the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) and can be viewed here. IANA notes that the list of TLDs also includes ccTLDs and gTLDs, which we will talk about below.
Subdomains are useful because they do not require webmasters to acquire an additional web domain to create divisions within their site. Instead, they can create a subdomain that effectively points to a specific directory on the server. This can be very useful for campaign sites and other types of web content that must be kept separate from the main site.
For example, Facebook uses developers.facebook.com to provide specific information for web and application developers who want to use the Facebook API. Another good example is support.google.com.
How to register a web domain
Different domain name providers use different systems, so while this answer covers the general process, it may vary slightly depending on the provider.
Typically, you'll start by doing a domain search. Most internet domain providers will allow you to type in the desired domain and see if it is available. Here at Mox Networks, we also offer many suggestions for other possible domains, which may be helpful if the domain you want is already registered.
From there, it's just a matter of completing the process of ordering and paying for your new domain. Once you have signed up, you will have access to a control panel with all the essential administration tools.
Difference between a web domain and web hosting
Referring to the beginning of this article, if the web domain is like your physical address, the hosting or web hosting is like the physical building and the contents are stored there.
web domains are used to create a handy little shortcut to link what visitors type in the address bar to the server used to host the website. They are completely digital and are stored in a centralized database.
web hosting is a bit different because it requires a physical server located somewhere in the world and connected to the internet. It is essentially like a computer hard drive that stores all the files and databases for your website. It's called a server because it literally "serves" your website to your visitors.
When you type a URL (for example, mox.cl) in your web browser, it sends a request to the specific server where your site is hosted. The server then uploads the files and transmits them over the Internet to the device you are using, which in turn downloads the files and displays them.
So what is a web domain?
A web domain is essentially the web hosting equivalent of a postal address. This is what you need to know:
1. A web domain is the equivalent of a postal address for your website.
2. They consist of a website name (such as, Mox) and a domain name extension (such as .cl).
3. All domain registrations are overseen by ICANN.
4. Domains work by forwarding visitors to the appropriate server.
5. The .com domains are the most popular, since they are in 48.5% of the web.
6. ccTLDs use country codes and designate geographic areas (eg .cn or .es).
7. gTLDs are often designed for specific use cases (eg .org for organizations).
8. Each domain registrar has a different subscription process.
9. You can use domain search engines to find available domains.
10. Domains can be transferred from one provider to another.
11. Servers are physical machines that store your website files.
12. If you need help, our support team will be happy to help you.