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What is a domain name?

Your domain name is a key part of your online address, and is what your visitors will use to find you easily online. It is a collection of letters and/or numbers that make up part of a URL, identifying a webpage. For example, Hosting Australia's domain name is hostingaustralia.com.au. Your domain name is unique to you once you have registered it; nobody else can register the same one for as long as you continue to renew it.

Every domain name has a suffix (.com, .net, etc.) and many end with country-specific suffixes (.AU, .UK, etc.) and all operate under the internet’s address book, the DNS (Domain Name System).

Different kinds of domain names

There are a few different levels of domains, but you don’t need to worry about remembering most of the technical stuff apart from the second- and third-level (and possibly subdomains). The easiest way to explain it all (using our very own domain) is this:

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Top-Level Domains (TLDs)

These fall into the highest level of the internet’s DNS configuration and there’s a few that are included:

Generic (gTLD) – many are very recognisable; .com, .net, .org, etc. These days, there are more becoming available such as the recently-released .melbourne option.

Country code (ccTLD) – a collection of two characters, originally established to specify a particular country (.AU for Australia). When they were initially released, only the residents and businesses operating within the country were able to register them. However, now it’s becoming more common for countries to allow outsiders to register using their country’s suffix, one example being .TV (Tuvalu).

Internationalised country code (IDN ccTLD) – specially-encoded names that are displayed in language-specific script (Arabic, Chinese, etc.)

Second-level domains (SLDs)

Fall directly below the TLD in terms of DNS hierarchy. For hostingaustralia.com.au, the second-level domain is com. If, however, the full domain was hostingaustralia.com, the second-level domain would be ‘hostingaustralia’.

Third-level domains (TLDs)

In the DNS hierarchy, this level is directly under second-level domains. To take ours as an example again (hostingaustralia.com.au), ‘hostingaustralia’ is the TLD.

Subdomains

Domains that are a part of the main domain. To access the Hosting Australia client area, you need to visit secure.hostingaustralia.com.au. In this instance, ‘secure’ would be the subdomain of the hostingaustralia.com.au main domain.

Really, though, at the end of the day, all you need to do is consider which name you’d like to choose and call us on 1300 368 359 today.

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