An organization's unique name on the Internet. The chosen name combined with a top level domain (TLD), such as .com or .org, makes up the Internet domain name. For example, computerlanguage.com is the domain name for the publisher of this encyclopedia. According to VeriSign, there were 201.8 million top level domain names registered at the end of the third quarter 2010.|
In order to access the Computer Language Company Web site, you would type www.computerlanguage.com in your browser's address bar. The WWW, often verbalized as "dub-dub-dub," is a mnemonic commonly used for the host name of the company's Web server for uniformity over the Web. If there are multiple Web servers, it is actually the host name of the server that balances the workload and distributes the query to the next available Web server.
However, WWW is only a recommended option, and Web servers can have any host name. In addition, most companies configure their DNS records to send all Web traffic to a particular Web server without any host name. For example, typing computerlanguage.com in a browser's address bar without the www. is sufficient to go to the Computer Language Company Web site.
Different mnemonics are also widely used to differentiate sections of the site; for example, support.computerlanguage.com could be a valid name, in which case "support" could not be omitted when typing in the name.
Second Level Domains
Technically, computerlanguage.com is a "second level domain," because the company name combines with the top level domain of .com. Computerlanguage.com is also known as a "root domain" or "naked domain." In practice, both computerlanguage.com and www.computerlanguage.com are called domain names or "URLs," although URLs often contain additional data beyond the domain name (see URL).
Internet domain names are registered with any of hundreds of registrars. To find out if a domain name is taken, two popular domain name registrars are Network Solutions (www.networksolutions.com) and Go Daddy (www.godaddy.com). See DNS, IP address, FQDN, ICANN and New.net.
Generic Top Level Domains
Following are the original top level domains, known as "generic" TLDs (gTLDs). The .com is the most desired because all major corporations adopted it early on, and it became the best known and most relevant. However, if a .com name has already been registered, the only alternative is to use another gTLD such as .net or .biz.
.net network oriented
.org non-profit organization
.edu U.S. educational only
.gov U.S. government only
.mil U.S. military only
.int international treaties between
More Domain Names
In 2000, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced the following new domains (except for .mobi, which was announced in 2005). Prior to 2000, new domains had not been created since 1989.
.cat Catalan region
.info information service
.mobi mobile phones, etc.
.name an individual
.pro licensed professionals
Countries Have Domain Names Too
Country codes such as .ca for Canada and .uk for the United Kingdom are widely used top level domains. The U.S. country code (.us) is used but is not as desirable as .com. See country code and .tv.
Under ICANN's "new gTLD" program, communities, industries and large organizations are able to create their own top level domain names; for example, .chicago, .farming or .ford. Applicants for these domains must show that they can manage the domain, and the ICANN evaluation fee for setting up a custom domain is USD $185,000. The formal procedure for creating new gTLDs is expected in 2011. See New.net and ICANN.