[ glossary ]


What is a domain name?

Put simply, a domain name is a unique identifier of your web site. Here are some examples of domain names: "google.com", "sourceforge.net" "harvard.edu" or "webhostingmenu.com".

A domain name always contains two or more parts, separated by dots - for example "google" and ".com". The rightmost (the most "general" part) is called the top-level domain. There are very few possible non-country-specific "top-level domains" - ".com", ".net", ".org", ".edu" and the newly added ".biz", ".info", ".pro" and ".name". Of those, ".com" is clearly the most popular. In addition, there are about 200 country-specific ("country-code") top-level domains assigned by the ICANN. They correspond to a country, territory, or other geographic location.

A domain name can become your "permanent" address on the web. You can change web hosting providers and still keep the same domain name.

Do I need a domain name?

Strictly speaking, you can run your web site without your own domain name. Your URL (address) will be longer - for example,
Also, under such a scenario, if you change your web host, your web address will change.

Realistically, if you run a business and care about the impression your web site is going to make on your customers, the answer is that you do need to have your own domain name.