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What is The Difference Between a Website And a Domain Name?

Some people often wonder what differences these two web development concepts have. We should start with a general definition for both. According to cloudflare.com, a domain name is a unique identifier used to locate a website. Domain names are memorable and help users access websites via the DNS system. For example, “google.com” and “facebook.com” are both domain names.

On the other hand, a website is a collection of web pages under the same domain, typically created by the same person or organization. These webpages are separated into separate routes. An example of a route is an About Us page, which will typically be under /about-us or /about.

Domain names are managed by our Domain Name System. It is akin to the phone book of the internet. They translate IP Addresses (192.168.0.1) into legible names. A registrar is an organization dedicated to delegating the reservation of domain names since there can only be one of each. There are about 300 million registered domain names. Some examples of registrars are GoDaddy.com and HostGator.com.

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At the same time, there may be millions more websites than registered domain names. That is because a domain name is not needed if there will be no human access to a specific IP address. Some websites exist outside the index of Google and thus are called unindexed web pages.

Domain names have expiration dates. The registrar in charge of assigning you your name will inform you when your domain name is about to expire, giving you a chance to renew the subscription or cancel it. If you decide to cancel the subscription, another person is given the chance to register that domain name to themselves. Normally, domain names are renewed yearly.

Be aware of predatory practices such as registrars that will buy a domain name immediately after it has expired and then resell it to the owner with an outrageous price hike. It is always important that you choose a trustworthy registrar.

Websites, in contrast to domain names, are a collection of pages under one domain name. Usually, users can navigate through the pages through a hyperlink. A hyperlink is a clickable text that can redirect you to another page, such as an about us page. Usually, websites typically serve one purpose such as news, education, e-commerce, or entertainment. If you want some ideas on what to make a website about, try a blog, online gaming website, photo-sharing website, or humor website.

Some websites require users to sign in or sign up to access certain pages, such as a dashboard or a personal account. Some websites may even charge you for accessing these web pages, as they may be filled with useful tools for sharing and communicating ideas and products.

Subscriptions are another method of making money with a website, but one of the most common is advertising. Some of the most popular websites command over 100 million views monthly, that is some serious ad space revenue. Consider the business that Google commands by having millions of users daily on websites like YouTube.com

What is a top-level domain?

Anatomically, a webpage’s domain name can be broken down into the name itself, and the Top Level Domain (TLD). One example can be the following, in the name facebook.com, “Facebook” can be considered the domain name itself, but the .com is now considered the TLD. Some other examples of TLD’s are .edu, .gov, .uk.

These are special TLDs reserved for classifying and communicating the purpose of domain names. Every TLD should tell you something about the domain that it precedes. The organization responsible that having control over all TLDs is called The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), it delegates the responsibility of these TLDs to various organizations.

Is buying a Domain the same as buying a Website?

No. A domain is considered the same as only buying the land that you would build on. While the website itself would be considered the building, the different rooms, the interior design, etc. A domain name can be bought to reserve an address name that can be used to construct a website in the future.

Buying a website would include every page under that domain name. Everything that the user can click on is also considered buying the webpage. Some examples of websites that sell domains are GoDaddy.com, HostGator.com, and Cloudflare.com.

Do you need a domain name for a website?

A domain name is not needed for a website at all. Sometimes systems access other systems and thus don’t need to know the name of the domain name, since they communicate with server addresses instead such as 192.152.2.122.

In the case where a company may have many customers visiting their portal, a Domain name is highly recommended. It improves the user experience and makes your website easier to remember. It is much easier to remember something like TonysBistro.com than a server address.

Does a small business need a domain name?

Yes. Businesses nowadays are considering reaching out to new customers via the web. The best way to do that is with a domain name that will represent your company. Without a domain name, some people may think that your website is not legitimate.

If it is a website that you know will have organic traffic, domain names are highly recommended. So unless you are a tech startup that knows what they are doing and can save some money on domain names since some websites may only be accessed by automated internal operations.

What is the purpose of having a domain name?

In a world where there are billions of web pages, it is necessary to maintain some kind of organization. Most businesses have a domain name that represents them, usually the company name or some clever phrase.

This will help the company stand out. Domain names provide a text-based label for identifying Internet resources, such as computers, networks, and services. This makes them easier to remember than numerical addresses. It may represent the collection of those resources or just individual instances.

Victor Martinez

Web designer & digital marketer helping online businesses grow online. With 10+ years of experience.