Lesson 6: What is a Domain Name?

domain photo

First Published: 8th of August, 2018 by Patrick Carpen.

Last updated: April 26, 2021 at 3:34 am

You’ve probably heard the expression “domain name” being flung around wildly in information technology circles. And while most humans already know what a domain name is, there is a large fraction of us people who still wonder what a domain name really is.

In his gospel music, Jim Reeves sang, “I’d rather have Jesus…than to be the King of a vast domain….”

A domain then is a defined territory ruled or controlled by one person or entity.

If you own a website, your website, then, is your “domain on the internet.”

Your website is recognized and accessed by a “domain name.” For example, the website you are reading on right now belongs to me, Patrick Carpen. I chose to give my website the domain name, “patrickcarpen.com” because it’s a good representation of what the site stands for: the website is about showcasing the work, products, and talents of Patrick Carpen.

If you’re building a website to showcase your business, you can give it a domain name of your choice, limited only to your imagination and what’s available. For example, the owner of the Amazonas Hotel in Lethem built a website to showcase his hotel and named it: amazonashotelgy.com

You already understand why “amazonas hotel” because it stands for the name of the hotel. But why “gy”? GY is the abbreviation for “Guyana” which is the country in which the hotel is located.

A good domain name speaks for itself. But not all domain names have to make obvious sense.

For example, the owners of the Google Search Engine didn’t name their domain “searchit.” They named it “Google.” And back in those days, that sounded outright weird. But today, google.com is one of the most visited websites on the World Wide Web. Just google it! These guys, through hard work, dedication and determination, have added a new word to the dictionary, “google.” Don’t know what it means? Just google it!

Yahoo.com is another example of a domain name that took off. Yahoo! started out as an email service provider, but has grown to include news, weather, and much more. Yahoo! is one of the most popular email services providers on the planet, and, just like Google, their domain name has nothing to do with email, service, or provider.

Choosing a good domain name calls for creativity and foresight. You need to be able to discern when its wise to use a practical domain name versus when its wise to use something catchy and otherworldly.

Next Lesson: How Domain Names Are Formed.

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