Is a URL the same as a domain name? Surprisingly to many, the answer is no. But the terms are used so interchangeably, it’s understandable why people confuse one for the other. But there is a difference.
A domain name is part of a URL, which stands for Uniform Resource Locator. You can see the visual difference in the following example:
Let’s Explain It Little More
In order for computer networks and servers to “talk to one another,” computers rely on a language made up of numbers and letters called an IP address. Every device that connects to the Internet has a unique IP address and looks something like this:
126.96.36.199 or 3ffe:1900:4545:3:200:f8ff:fe21:67cf
In order to navigate easily around the web, typing in a long IP address isn’t ideal, or realistic, to an online user. This is the reason why domain names were created – to hide IP addresses with something more memorable. You could consider the domain name as a “nickname” to the IP address.
A URL incorporates the domain name, along with other detailed information, to create a complete address (or “web address”) to direct a browser to a specific page online called a web page. In essence, it’s a set of directions and every web page has a unique one.
What does it mean to you?
In the end, what really matters is the domain name, the key to creating an online presence. And contrary to popular belief, having an online presence doesn’t mean you have to have a website. When you register a domain name, you can leverage it in many ways, including – forwarding your domain name to your social media site or eCommerce platform, branding your email or building a website.
So take the first step in getting online – register your domain name now.
Like most elements of your website, its URLs are more complex than they seem at first glance. Because of this, familiarizing yourself with the basics of URL structure is a smart move. Only then will you know how to make the best choices possible for your site.
What is a website URL? To recap, these are the three basic elements:
- The protocol – HTTP or HTTPS.
- The domain name (including the TLD) that identifies a site.
- The path leading to a specific web page.