What is a Domain Name and Why Do You Need One?
What is a Domain Name
A domain name in its simplest form is just an Internet Website address. Just as your house or apartment has its own unique identifying address for the post office, so does each and every Website in existence.
The domain name system was originally created for the benefit of humans. The actual address used by computers is numerical in format and is referred to as an IP, or Internet Protocol, address. An IP address takes the form of four series of numbers separated by periods. An example of an IP address is 215.55.258.145, and as you can see this would not be easy for most of us to remember. So to compensate, the domain “name” system was created. Its much easier to remember a website named “thiswebsite.com” than it is to remember a number such as the one above, right?
Notice there is no @ symbol in the Website address. The @ symbol is normally used for email addresses only, thus (with rare exceptions) you would not be able to visit a website with an address such as email@example.com. Instead you would send email to that address. You can usually take the last part of an email address and find a website with it though because everything after the @ symbol is normally the website at which this email address exists.
You have likely seen Website addresses that look like this: http://www.sasezpublications.com/user/~somename.
These are not really domain names in full, but rather they are subsections of a domain name. The actual domain name is http://www.sasezpublications.com and the rest of the address denotes where on that domain you would like to view pages. So if you were to have your website at the location above, you would not have your own domain. Instead you would have web pages hosted in a directory on someone else’s domain.
Why you need a Domain Name
If you are like some people, you may be wondering what the big deal is with getting a domain name. Why does anyone want or even need one? Well the answers can vary with circumstances, however there are some pretty simple initial reasons.
Individuals sometimes like to have their own domain for vanity or notoriety reasons. Other times they have a family or genealogy Website and having a domain name for that site helps it to be found and remembered easier. For instance if your name is Sheila Brooks, you could try to get the domain name of “sheilabrooks.com” so that anyone looking for you online would easily find you. If you have a family Website then a domain name such as “brooksfamily.com” would give it a nice touch. If you are an up and coming author, artist, activist, volunteer or otherwise it would also give you a unique and memorable address with which to promote your causes.
In the business world, domain names are becoming as common as telephone and fax numbers. If your advertisements and business cards don’t display a domain name, you run the risk of being completely passed over by customers that prefer to browse merchandise and services online.
A good domain name is vital for a business. If the name does not match your business name or slogan then it must be closely related to one or both. Your domain name must also be easy to remember so that customers do not have to work hard to find your site online. Having a registered domain name with a live Website is sometimes the first priority for a business today, because it is a very inexpensive way to get your business name and information in front of the public.
Other primary reasons for a business to register one or more domain names is to protect copyrights and trademarks, secure unique product names and increase their brand awareness with the public.
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