What is a domain?
Whether it’s a business website, online shop or travel blog, if you want to start one of these projects on the Internet, you can’t do it without an Internet domain.
A domain is a globally unique name/address (similar to a fingerprint) by which prospects can find specific content on the internet or network. It is a logically separate part of the Domain Name System (DNS) and an essential part of the Uniform Resource Locator (URL). A domain indicates where in the hierarchical structure a corresponding resource can be found.
How is a domain structured?
The full name of a domain is called FQDN (Fully Qualified Domain Name) and it can be broken down into four sections:
- First-level domain (FLD) or also called top-level domain (TLD) represents the first level of the domain hierarchy/name resolution. It is the last segment of a domain and is located after the last point. Examples are: .de, .com, .org, .net etc..
- Second-level domain (SLD) refers to the domain name, i.e. the name of a website. As the name suggests, it is the second level of a domain and comes before the TLD. In most cases it is the name of a company or a brand. Examples are: google, polydocs, fellow-consulting etc..
- Third-level domain or subdomain is on the far left in the domain hierarchy and usually refers to the start page (homepage) of a website. The most well-known subdomain is www. They are good for structuring a website. For example, it is possible to make different language versions or subpages of a website accessible via a subdomain. Let’s take the Wikipedia website as an example. You can access the German main page via de.wikipedia.org and the English main page via en.wikipedia.org.
- Root domain, also called root or null label, designates the highest level in the domain structure. It is defined as “empty” in the FDQN and for this reason the area to the right of the TLD is also empty and the point can be omitted. Thus, the FLD/TLD (seen from the right) comes first in a domain.
What should I watch out for when registering a domain?
In order to connect your domain to an IP address, you need to register or log in your domain. Only then can your website be found on the Internet. But before you register or buy a domain, you should consider a few important aspects. Because you should not forget that the domain forms the basis of your future website.
- The domain name should be easy to remember and type. Therefore, avoid long and complicated spelling, as well as numbers and umlauts.
- Ideally, the domain name should also reflect the purpose of your website and have a good/high recognition value.
- You should think in advance whether you only want to limit your website to Germany or whether you also want to align it internationally and then decide on a domain ending. For example, a COM or ORG domain for an international website and a DE domain for a Germany-only website.
- Very important! Make sure the domain name you choose isn’t infringing on trademarks. In addition to Google, you can also use the entry-level search function of the DPMA (German Patent and Trademark Office) for your research.
A domain is of great importance as it serves as a unique address on the Internet and identifies websites. The purpose of a domain is to give users easy access to a specific website and make it memorable. A well-chosen domain is therefore an essential part of a successful online presence. It improves the visibility and accessibility of a website and strengthens the brand image.