A common question people ask online involves the difference between a domain and a website. Despite being long-time internet users, many netizens still mix up these two words.
The good thing is I’m gonna let you in on a secret—a checklist—to avoid the confusion. Want to know what it is? Simple! Focus on the function of a domain and a website and you won’t interchange these terms again!
But before I spill what’s on my checklist, let’s go through the official definition for each from various internet authorities.
A Domain Name: Defined
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is the authority when it comes to domain names.
Technically, ICANN defines a domain name as a “unique identifier with a set of properties attached to it so that computers can perform conversions.”
The global domain name authority explains that domain names are the human-readable representations of the Internet Protocol (IP) address that computers use to communicate with each other.
The IP address comprises a set of nine numbers or more grouped into strings of three and divided by a dot. These numbers are pretty hard to remember for people to use such that a human-readable version is made.
Similar to the IP address, domain names also follow a system to correspond to a hierarchy or level. This means the domain name has several parts such as its suffix or the “.org”, “.biz”, “.com”, etc. The suffix is officially called the top-level domain name.
Meanwhile, the word that proceeds the suffix, which is normally a business name, is the second-level domain. The word preceding the business name, on the other hand, is the third-level domain name, and so forth. This is then concluded by the URL indicator or referrer that is often seen as “HTTP://” or “HTTPS://”.
If you notice, domain names are read right to left in so far as their hierarchy is concerned. The domain name system (DNS) can reach more than a hundred levels.
The domain name, ICANN points out, is different from a Uniform Resource Locator (URL) and a website. The URL includes the “HTTP://” or “HTTPS://” and the entire domain name. This pertains to the exact address of a website on the internet.
A Website: Unraveled
On the other hand, Merriam-Webster defines a website as a group of web pages containing information about a particular company, individual, or organization that are accessible through one domain name.
This definition was not the case, however, when British scientist Tim Berners-Lee created the first website for his World Wide Web project.
Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web software in 1989 for the European Council for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Paris, France as a means to share information with scientists in different areas of the globe.
After CERN officially released the World Wide Web for public use on April 30, 1993, so many developments have taken place in the World Wide Web. Websites have changed, too, especially in their function.
Websites have become more versatile than a medium of data dissemination. They are now used for commerce and trade. Let me now give a run-down of what these uses are as against a domain name.
What is the Difference Between A Domain and A Website?
The main difference between a domain and a website is that the former is a locator and the latter is the object of that locator. A website is much like the office of a company and the domain is its unit number.
Thus, the domain name directs internet users to a particular website. Besides that, the other differences lie in the uses or features of a domain and a website.
A. Uses of Domain Names
Domain names have many uses, especially for a business. I have spoken about the various uses of a domain name in my previous posts, which I have identified to be eight in total. These are:
1. To strengthen a company’s or product’s branding
2. To promote online a product, service, business, or business undertaking
4. To increase search engine optimization
7. To enlist a business for online trading
8. To set up a company or business email address
With these important functions, businessmen should always include their domain names in all their marketing paraphernalia and communication.
Domain names indicate to the reader that the company has a website they could go to when they log online to get more information on them.
B. Uses of Websites
Websites similarly have many uses. MTekDigital identifies five important functions of a website:
1. to expose a brand
2. to engage customers
3. to educate the public on a product or service
4. to entice internet users to purchase a product or avail of your service/s, and
5. to manage a business’ reputation
New business owners should remember these functions in the creation and design of their websites. This is also a good checklist to keep handy when business owners conduct a review of their website’s performance.
By now, I believe it is clear what is the difference between a domain and a website. A domain name point to a website that stores and presents information about a company or organization.
Is a domain name and a website address or URL the same?
Yes, they are basically the same in that both direct internet users to your website. Their main difference is that the domain name is a part of the Universal Resource Locator (URL), such that the latter is longer. The domain name often pertains to a business’s name or website title, like MyCodelessWebsite.Com. While the URL or the full address of the business name or website title online includes the Hypertext Markup Language referrer or “HTTP://” / “HTTPS://”. Using my website
Is it important that I buy my domain name from a particular registrar?
No, not entirely. You can purchase a domain name from a domain name registrar or a domain name reseller. An important thing to look into is the support and privacy protection the domain name provider offers you or your business. Registering your domain name from a certified registrar, especially those authorized by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), are the best places to make a purchase.
Got more questions? Feel free to message me anytime!
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