SEO Glossary > Domain name

Domain name

A domain name is the address of a website that serves as a human-friendly locator of a website or resource on the internet. When a user types a domain name in the address bar of a web browser, the browser performs a query to a DNS server in order to find out where the domain's website is located on the internet. The DNS lookup retrieves the IP address associated with the domain name, and then the browser navigates to the website's server and requests the resource from the server.

Who owns a domain name?


It's not entirely clear who owns domain names. The end-user does not own their domain name. They merely pay for the right to use it. Users pay registries to register their domain names with an organization called ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers).

How do you register a domain name?


Anyone can register a domain by going to a domain name registrar such as GoDaddy or Namecheap. In order to register a domain name, the buyer has to choose a name that hasn't been already registered by someone else. They will then have to pay a small fee.

Can I register a domain name directly with ICANN?


Although ICANN controls the allocation of domain names, they don't actually sell domains to end-users. Instead, they are like wholesalers, who supply the domain names to registrars. End-users can therefore register these domain names with the registrars.

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