What is a Domain Name?

A domain name is a pointer to the address of your website.

The real address to your website is an IP (internet protocol) address, which is a number in this format xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx where the x’s are numbers such as or 205.96.453.999

Since numbers are hard for most of us to remember, we have domain names that are easier for us to remember which then point to the IP address where your website lives.

When you get a hosting account for your website, that hosting provider will have an IP address that leads to your website.  When you set up your domain properly, it will then lead to that IP address which leads to your website.

Think of the domain name as your street address to your online real estate.

Domain names consist of two parts: the actual domain name and the top level domain.  These two parts are separated by a period or dot.  For example, my domain, CullenWebServices.com, consists of the actual domain name: CullenWebServices, and the top level domain: com, separated by a period.

When you register a domain name, you are actually registering that domain name at the top level domain.  There is an authorized computer or network of computers that keeps up with each top level domain.  All registered domain names must be unique, so if someone has already registered that domain at the desired top level domain name site, then you can’t register it again.

You can further divide your domain or website into subdomains by adding another level to the domain name at the front such as support.cullenwebservices.com

A common subdomain is www.  It used to be used to point to the website portion of your domain name as in www.cullenwebservices.com and the domain without any subdomains was rarely used.  You still see it a lot, but it’s not necessary.  We usually point both the www and the domain name without a subdomain to same place. It’s still good practice to have it point to your website since many people still use it when they type in the address in their browser.

Adding a subdomain is usually done in your web hosting control panel.  How it is done will vary depending on your hosting account.

Once you’ve registered a domain name, you can add as my subdomains as you’d like as long as they are unique.

Domain names don’t only point to your website, but can also point to your email.  You can point to these different services (email, websites, subdomains, etc.) using the DNS (Domain Name System) management provided by your domain name registrar.  Using DNS, you can set the different records (A for your main website, MX for email, CName for subdomains, and a few others for other services) to point to different IP addresses to handle this services associated with your domain name.

You domain name is a very important part of your online real estate and you should protect it well.  Most domain registrars will allow you to ‘lock’ your domain, meaning it can’t be transferred to another owner without you unlocking it first.  You should keep your domain registrar account login information in a very safe place so that someone doesn’t steal it from you.

Register your domain with Cullen Web Services here.


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