A domain name is a name assigned to a website that helps people remember where it is found on the Internet. For example, www.example.com has the domain name of “example.com.” This address makes it easy for people to know where to go when they are wanting to access the website.
A domain name is not the same thing as the IP address of the site. The IP address is a series of numbers that serve as the actual address of the website. These numbers tell a computer where to go in order to access the website. However, because people don’t remember a string of numbers nearly as well as they remember a website name, the architects of the Internet opted to create and implement the system of domain names.
Domain names must be purchased from one of several online registrars such as GoDaddy. These companies will provide a way to link the domain name to the IP address of the site, ensuring that when a user types in a given domain name, his or her computer will be directed to the correct IP address.
The 3-character string at the end of the domain name—such as .com, .gov, .net, and so on—are domain name extensions that increase the permutations of a given domain. Savvy website administrators will register multiple domain names with varying domain extensions to ensure that consumers find their website.