A Domain Name is an identification composed by a sequence of characters, known as a string, which defines the area or limits of administrative autonomy, control and authority on the internet.
They are formed according to the rules and procedures of the Domain Name System or DNS. It is usually written in lower case and is case sensitive. Any name or identification that is registered in the DNS is a domain name. Registration of domain names is usually handled by domain name registrars for a fee.
Generally, domain names represent an IP resource, such as a server computer that is hosting a website or a personal computer that is used to access the internet or a web site itself, or any other service communicated through the internet.
They are organized in subdomains or subordinate levels, the first level of which are the Top-Level Domains (TLDs) which include the generic top-level domains (gTLDs) and the country code top-level domain (ccTLDs). Below the top-level domains are the second-level and third-level domain names that are typically reserved for end-users who wish to create other publicly accessible resources, run websites or simply to connect local area networks to the internet.
What are the guidelines in choosing domain names?
Domain names consist of one or more parts, called labels, that are interconnected to one another and whose limits are defined by dots. The following are the basic guidelines in writing domain names:
- The top-level domain name is conveyed by the right-most label, for example, the domain name dimiao.com belongs to the top-level domain com.
- Hierarchy of domains descends from the right-most label to the left label in the name, where each label found on the left specifies a subdomain of the domain found on the right. Take the label com for example, the label dimiao means that it is a subdomain of com domain. The label www means it is a subdomain of dimiao.com
This tree of labels may consist of up to 127 levels where each label may also contain of up to 63 groups or set of eight called octets. However, a full domain name may not exceed the 253 ASCII characters.
- A hostname, that is the label assigned to a device that is connected to a computer network and is used to identify the device in the different forms of electronic communication, is actually a domain name that has one or more associated IP addresses. The domain names dimiao.com and dimiao.com are both hostnames but the com domain is not.
- Valid hostnames are also valid domain names but this not necessarily true with valid domain names, as valid domain names may not be valid as a hostname.
Who takes care of the administration and control of the registration of domain names?
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers or ICANN, is the organization that is charged to oversee the name and number systems of the Internet. This organization, in turn, has accredited persons or groups to be Domain Name Registrars, who delegates you the right to use a domain name. In addition, each top-level domain is serviced and maintained by an administrative organization operating a registry. This registry is responsible for the maintenance of the database of names registered within the top-level domain it administers. The registrars and registries often charge annual fees for the service of delegating a domain name to a user.
What are the requirements in registering a domain name?
The following are the requirements involved in registering a domain name and maintaining authority over the created name space:
- Administrative contact – is the contact designated to manage the domain name who usually holds the highest level of control over the domain. His functions may include the management of all business information, including name of record, contact information of the official registrant of the domain, postal address, and the obligation to conform to requirements of the domain registry. This obligation to conform is vital in order to retain the right to use the domain name.
- Technical contact – is the contract in-charged with the management of the name servers of a domain name. His functions include, but is not limited to, making sure that the configurations of the domain name conforms with the requirement of the domain name registry and to provide continuous functionality of the name servers.
- Billing contact – this contact is charged with the responsibility of receiving the billing invoices from the domain name registrar and of paying the applicable fees.
- Name servers – Typically, based on the traditional requirements, registrars require a minimum of two servers.