A domain name is a unique, easy-to-remember address used to access websites, such as ‘google.com’, and ‘facebook.com’. Users can connect to websites using domain names thanks to the DNS system.

A domain name is a string of text that maps to a numeric IP address, used to access a website from client software. In plain English, a domain name is a text that a user types into a browser window to reach a particular website. For instance, the domain name for Google is ‘google.com’. The actual address of a website is a complex numerical IP address (e.g., but thanks to DNS, users are able to enter human-friendly domain names and be routed to the websites they are looking for. This process is known as a DNS lookup.

What is a domain name?

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Who manages domain names?

Domain names are all managed by domain registries, which delegate the reservation of domain names to registrars. Anyone who wants to create a website can register a domain name with a registrar, and there are currently over 300 million registered domain names.

What’s the difference between a domain name and a URL?

A uniform resource locator (URL), sometimes called a web address, contains the domain name of a site as well as other information, including the transfer protocol and the path. For example, in the URL ‘https://cloudflare.com/learning/’, ‘cloudflare.com’ is the domain name, while ‘https’ is the protocol and ‘/learning/’ is the path to a specific page on the website.

Anatomy of a domain name

Domain names are typically broken up into two or three parts, each separated by a dot. When read right-to-left, the identifiers in domain names go from most general to most specific. The section to the right of the last dot in a domain name is the top-level domain (TLD). These include the ‘generic’ TLDs such as ‘.com’, ‘.net’, and ‘.org’, as well as country-specific TLDs like ‘.uk’ and ‘.jp’. To the left of the TLD is the second-level domain (2LD) and if there is anything to the left of the 2LD, it is called the third-level domain (3LD). Let’s look at a couple of examples: For Google’s US domain name, ‘google.com’: ’.com’ is the TLD (most general) ’google’ is the 2LD (most specific) But for Google UK’s domain name, ‘google.co.uk’: ’.com’ is the TLD (most general) ’.co’* is the 2LD ’google’ is the 3LD (most specific) *In this case the 2LD indicates the type of organization that registered the domain (.co in the UK is for sites registered by companies)

Source: https://www.cloudflare.com/learning/dns/glossary/what-is-a-domain-name/