What’s a Domain Name & How Does It Work?

If you're new to the tech world, domain names can be confusing. Don't mix them up with a website or hosting! We're here to help you figure it out.

Search bar on a computer with "https://" typed out

For those who are new to the tech world, domain names can be confusing. Some even confuse them with a website or website hosting services. While these names may sound technical, it’s really not that complicated. Keep reading, and we’ll help you understand what a domain name is and how it works. 

What Is A Domain Name?

When you’re visiting a website, what’s the first thing you do? Type the web address into the browser URL bar. Simple enough, right? Well, the address that you just typed in is the domain name. 

If you’re looking for a more detailed description, we’ve got you covered. The internet (or World Wide Web) is a network of interconnected computers. Because everything is connected, they’re all able to “talk” to each other or in other words, relay and transmit information.

Each computer has a different IP address to help identify it from other computers. They’re usually something like Now, imagine that you’re trying to get to a specific website. What’s easier to remember, or that long string of numbers? Domain names are here to make it easier to get to the website you’re looking for by assigning a specific text-based “name” to it.

How Do Domain Names Work?

When you type that domain name into your browser’s URL browser, there’s actually a lot going on behind the scenes. We’re not into technobabble, so we’ll try to spell it out for you.

After you type in the domain name and hit enter, your computer sends a request to a global network of servers called the Domain Name System (DNS). There, the servers search and send you to the name server associated with that domain. It may sound like we’re talking in circles but stay with us.

The name server then sends you to the hosting company, which sends you to a web server. Web servers are the computers your hosting company uses to store your website. The web server retrieves your web page and shows it on your screen! Ta-da! You’re at the website you were looking for. Long story short, what takes your computer seconds (hopefully) actually has a lot of steps to it!

Why Does All This Matter?

The most fundamental reason why this is important is because if your domain name is easy to remember it will likely attract more visitors and build brand recall over time. This might seem like a small detail but it is more impactful than you’d think. Ultimately, your domain name is just what your website is called. Your web hosting is where your website physically exists. To have a successful website, you need both. 

We know this is a lot of information to throw at you. That’s why we’re here to answer your questions. Reach out to us if you want to learn more about domain names, website hosting services or anything else techy! You can also check out our podcast, One Quick Question, where we dive into this topic even deeper.


About Lana

If you’ve worked with Lana, you know she’s a driven and motivated go-getter — she recently acquired her MBA at the University of Alabama, and she puts her business knowledge and organizational skills to work every day as Project Manager. Before joining our team at Infomedia, Lana worked in visual merchandising and customer service at Forever 21, as well as customer service at Coca-Cola UNITED. Lana’s She’s a people person, and we’re so glad she brought her skills to Infomedia. On lunch breaks, Lana loves people watching at the Pizitz Food Hall, and outside of work, you can find her watching Schitt’s Creek, listening to music and hiking with the world’s best dog, Sol. Lana is also proud to have hiked a small part of the Appalachian Trail — she’s always seeking a new adventure.

See more articles from Lana Aaron

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