Domain Names: The Universal Method for Naming Websites

domain names

A domain name is a method of identifying internet websites designed to help people tell the difference between sites on the internet or world wide web. Domain names are used in various networking contexts and application-specific naming and addressing purposes. They are organized in subordinate levels (sub-domains) of the DNS root domain.

The first-level set of domain names are the top-level domains (TLDs), including the generic top-level domains, such as the .com, .net and .org, and the country code top-level domains (ccTLDs).

Below the top-level domains are the second-level and third-level domain names that are typically open for reservation by end-users that wish to connect local area networks to the Internet, run websites, or create other publicly accessible Internet resources. The registration of these domain names is usually administered by domain name registrars who sell their services to the public. Individual Internet host computers use domain names as host identifiers, or hostnames. Hostnames are labels in the domain name system usually without further subordinate domain name space.

Hostnames appear as a component in Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) for Internet resources such as web sites (e.g.,

Domain names are also used as simple identification labels to indicate ownership or control of a resource. Such examples are the realm identifiers used in the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), the DomainKeys used to verify DNS domains in e-mail systems, and in many other Uniform Resource Identifiers (URI).

An important purpose of domain names is to provide easily recognizable names to numerically addressed Internet resources.

Domain names are often referred to simply as domains. Domain name registration with a registrar does not confer any legal ownership of the domain name, only an exclusive right of use.

Additional Resources

The following are resources for looking up and verifying domain names, determining ownership, etc. These sites are offered both for those who are interested in registering their site, and for detectives who need to conduct research into the ownership of a particular website.

  • Afilias – Search for the availability of .info names
  • – Registrar for domains located in France
  • Domain Name Suffixes – A list of domain name suffixes and extensions.
  • Domain Processor – Website domain name registration for .com .net .org .biz and .info extensions.
  • – International accredited top level domain registrar.
  • Network Solutions Whois – Provides a form to find details about registered domain names.
  • Reverse DNS Lookup – This service converts an IP address to the host name by searching  domain name service tables
  • Whois Source – Domain name search tool that allows a wildcard search
  • – Whois service to check domain registration from nearly all registries worldwide


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