Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA)

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The Workings of Domain Names

When a domain name is typed into a universal resource locator (URL) space of a browser, what happens might seems like a magic, because you may have wondered how after typing in a few characters, a website suddenly appears. Really, what transpired at the backend is more than magic, it is the Domain Name System (DNS) technology at work.

If you ever wondered how domains work, or what really goes on behind the scenes? Read on!

What Is a Domain Name?

A domain name is a unique identity in the cyberspace, a registered presence on the Internet. The content that makes up your website (photos, blog posts, font files, etc.) are your website files. These website files are hosted on servers and these servers are only recognized by IP addresses. Your IP address will be a string of numbers. Your IP address is an identification number that allows one computer to communicate with other over the internet.

The introduction of Domain Name System (DNS) brings about an intermediary called a Domain Name. A set of DNS servers act like a phone book that connects IP addresses to domain names. The role of a DNS is to make browsing on the Internet much easier by pointing your domain name to a specific IP address.

Instead of having to type in an IP address whenever you want to access a website, all you have to do is type in the domain name. In other words, a domain name is a more memorable version of your IP address. Just like what you normally do when you search for telephone contact of your family and friends on a phone against their names when the need to make a call arises.

Every domain name is composed of the Top Level Domain (TLD) and other sub levels. Beyond the Top Level Domain, The other levels are hierarchical classifications of the domains, based on convenience. The hierarchy is interpreted from right to left and the levels are separated by dots. The complete name, having all the levels is called the Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN).

What Is a Top Level Domain (TLD)?

Top Level Domains (TLDs) are the highest level of domain names. There are a variety of TLDs available and the one you choose depends upon your style of site and business. For instance, .ng is a country code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD). It is more beneficial, to register a .ng domain name if your target audience reside in Nigeria because .ng has a higher rank on search engines for information pertaining to Nigeria.