A domain is the name of a website on the Internet that users use to access it. A website's domain is unique and cannot be copied by another website on the Internet. A domain can consist of numbers and letters, as well as dots that separate it into levels. Domain levels are read from right to left, meaning from the end of the website address. A domain has three levels in total:
- a top-level domain is the furthest right part of the website address that comes after the last dot. The top-level domain is fixed, and site owners cannot make it unique; they choose a domain from a commonly accepted list. These domains can be generic, such as .org, .com, and national, such as .ua, .uk, .pl.
- a second-level domain is the main part of the website address that is located to the left of the last dot. For example, in the address site.com, the second-level domain will be «site». Site owners choose the second-level domain themselves, provided that the name is available.
- a third-level domain is part of the domain that is written before the penultimate dot. It is also called a subdomain. A subdomain is used when it is necessary to highlight a separate section of the site or indicate that the site is part of a large organization. For example, maps.google.com is the address of a map service that belongs to Google.
The domain is sometimes confused with hosting, but these are two different concepts. Hosting is the place where the website is located and its data is stored, such as a cloud server. In turn, the domain is simply the name that users use to access the site.
To choose a domain, site owners need to use the services of a domain registrar. This is a special service that provides a name for the site. With its help, the site owner can check the availability of the domain and its cost. The domain needs to be paid for monthly or annually. If this is not done, the site will become inactive, and users will not be able to access it. With a long downtime, the domain will become available again, and another site owner can take it.
A domain can be purchased even before the site is launched, just to be safe and ensure that the name is not taken by others. The cost of the domain depends on its uniqueness and popularity. If it is a rare top-level domain, then its price will be higher than for classical options. After purchasing a domain, it can be used almost immediately, just a few hours after registration.