Do You Live Under A Rock?
Well, Ok, that’s a rhetorical question. …I’ll try to do this without asking if you’ve been living under a rock for the past thirty some odd years… or poking some sort of fun at you, I promise. 🙂
So, Ok, “what is a domain and how to purchase one” is the question. And, for a brief moment, let’s go way back to the days of old… And, just think about this for a minute to make the connection and make things easier.
Way back in the days of kings and such, the rulers controlled an area of territory. This area of territory was also known as their kingdom, their empire, their “domain.” Hence, the word domain was, and still is, synonymous with territory or land. It was, basically, a form of “real estate” in the physical world.
Fast forward to today, and learning about the “virtual” or “digital” world. You will find that the word “domain” means essentially the same thing. It is a piece of virtual real estate. It’s an “address” in the digital world that can either remain vacant – like vacant piece of land, or it can have a big bold beautiful house sitting on it. And with my best impression of Froggy in Lethal Weapon:
“…Ok, ok… I get it… …how can a house sit in the virtual world.. Ok, Ok, I get it….”
Let’s go back again and look at the word “home.”
A Home, according to Google, is a “place where one lives permanently… of or relating to the place where one lives, …to or at the place where one lives, …a return to its territory.”
In Wikipedia, a Home “is a dwelling place used as a permanent or semi-permanent residence for an individual, family, household, or several families in a tribe.”
In the virtual world, a “Home” is also known as a “Home Page.” It is the first page designated as such in a digital file that is taking up space on a hosting provider’s server, and attached to that “Home Page” resides the rest of one’s web-site in the form of digital files and images. Therefore, the home page is where the website lives permanently, and all the pages, files, and images are attached, digitally, to that one home page. Easy – Right? I hope I didn’t lose you, but, if I did, please keep reading…
Domain Name v. Hosting
Seeing that you’ve asked what is a domain name, you should also know about “hosting,” and the difference between the two.
What, you may ask, is “Hosting?” Well, it’s basically a service provider that has a number of souped up computers that remain on and connected to the web at all times, and they hold all the files that pertain to each client’s web-site. A “client” could be Joe’s Pizza Place who now has his own domain, or Sally’s Hair Salon, etc. A client, in the exact sense of the word, is the hosting provider’s paying customer. The customers pay the hosting provider to host their files, also known as, their website at the address of their domain.
A Domain Name is purchased from a “Registrar.” And, a Registrar, according to Wikipedia, is an organization or commercial entity that manages the reservation of Internet Domain Names. Further, each Registrar is accredited by a governing organization called ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. A Registrar may also offer Hosting services, and some Hosting providers also offer Domains for purchase. But, they are two different things. However, both must be purchased in order to have a website up and running on the web. Domain names are “usually” sold on an annual basis, while Hosting Plans are “usually” sold on a monthly basis.
A Domain Name is the name of a web-site purchased from a Registrar, but it is the hosting provider who provides the means, in the form of their servers, that calls each page, post, file, or image, and loads the pages for the visitor to see in their “browser” while the visitor, who is sitting at home and reading someone’s web site, calls it up with the click of a mouse and in a matter of micro seconds.
Each domain name is textual. Each domain is made up of letters, numbers, and/or words for people to read and comprehend. This is for people to be able to make sense of the domain. However, computers don’t read in our language. They have their own language, and for websites, the language is known as Hyper Text Markup Language, or “html” for short. Each domain name also has a “code” attached to it known as the “IP” address. “IP” stands for “Internet Protocol,” and this IP address is the digital name of a website that also shows it’s “address” on the web in the form of numbers. Think of it as a phone number of sorts. But, we don’t use the numbers to call up the website, we use the alpha-numeric name that makes sense to us.
Therefore, a domain name is a piece of virtual real estate that takes up space on a hosting provider’s server that also holds all the files of a particular website connected via html code stemming from it’s “home page.”
If you truly want to know even more about the technical aspects of domains and IP addresses, here’s an excellent article for you: What is a Domain Name? There are also a number of links from that article that go into more detail about IP addresses and Uniform Resource Locators otherwise known as URLs.
So, this is the “short” version that, hopefully, answers the first part of your question posed in my post’s title. Now for the second part…
How to Purchase a Domain Name?
Well, this can be taken in two steps, really. Let’s begin with the differences between a sub-domain and a “top-level” domain.
What is A Top-Level Domain?
A Top-Level Domain is a domain that has only one name ahead of it’s (dot) extension such as .com, .org, or .net. Here are some examples of Top level domains:
What is a Sub-Domain?
A Sub-Domain is two names ahead of it’s (dot) extension. (The examples provided are for informational purposes. They are not likely to be real or valid sub-domain names with the exception of the last one.)
- ABSTest.SiteRubix.com (This is an actual site that I used to test site colors, logos, etc. You may click the link as it will lead to one of my sub-domains.)
A sub-domain is offered by a top-level domain owner to users who will piggyback off of the top level domain. For instance, the owners of a site listed above called “SiteRubix.com” is a valid site, and they allow users to create two free sub-domain sites when joining the Free Trial membership at Wealthy Affiliate. The sub-domains are treated separately from the top-level domain, the “SiteRubix.com” domain, but they are an off shoot of that top level domain. It provides a way to create web-sites that, although piggybacked, have nothing to do with the top-level domain, but because they are piggybacked, they’re free.
There are many domains and service providers that allow you to do this. However, with that stated, it is the top-level domains that do have the edge in terms of Search Engine Results and ranking well in the search engine results that people use when they type in daily for information, products or services. So, yes, sub-domains exist, but top-level domains are best used by those who wish to establish a more permanent “house” in the digital world wide web.
So, “How do You Purchase A Domain?”
Well, the answer depends on whether you wish to try one for free – first. If you do, here is an excellent way to give it a shot and get your own sub-domains to use while you learn.
Test it out for yourself here:
Now, How Do You Purchase Your Very Own Top-Level Domain?
Well, when I first started out with Wealthy Affiliate, an educational site that pretty much encompasses everything related to Blogs, Building Blogs, Building WordPress Sites, Affiliate Marketing, Internet Marketing, and more, they initially didn’t offer Domains for purchase. Since that time, however, they have become an Accredited Domain Name Registrar. Wealthy Affiliate now offers domains for purchase in addition to the free Hosting provided to their members.
Here’s an excellent post written by one of the founders of Wealthy Affiliate making the announcement: Changing the Domain Name World For The Better!
If you’re already set to purchase your very own domain, and just need the link, here it is: How to Buy a Domain Name at WA.
Get Out From Under That Rock & Slay That Dinosaur!
I understand that some of you are new, and my question above about living under a rock was in jest. So, I do hope you had a chuckle. But, if you are ready to learn any of this stuff, please know that I am here to offer you my help.
So, if you wish to learn more, please feel free to ask me anything. I don’t consider myself an expert, but I can at least point you in the right direction so that we may both learn. And, if you’re considering joining Wealthy Affiliate, I could not recommend any other group site that comes close to what they offer. Feel free to read my review on Wealthy Affiliate. It is Wealthy Affiliate Journal #10, the final post in that series.
In all seriousness, I am here to help you, and I’d really like to help you earn an income from home. Stop the rat race. Stop wasting money and time traveling to and from a J.O.B. that you probably hate. If you’re a young parent, you can stay home with your kids. I only wish this opportunity was around when mine were younger… But, not so fast. This is not any type of “get-rich-quick” scheme. Learning what you need, and building a site will take time and effort. So, as they say, “don’t quite your day job – yet.”
But, even with a little time, the world wide web is now open for business! You have the whole world waiting for whatever you decide to do online. There are billions of people, and so many topics you can cover. There are so many opportunities! So, now that you’ve learned about domain names and how to purchase them, what will you do with this information – what will you do next? Only you can determine your future.
To Your Wealth!