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What is a domain?

A domain or domain name is a unique, symbolic name or term for a specific area or host on the internet. This name is usually entered in the browser in the form of a web address to access a specific website.

For example, domain names look like this:

your-own-domain.ch

www.hostpoint.ch

support.hostpoint.ch

How does a domain work?

Behind each domain is the IP address of the server on which the website is stored. Domains were invented so that you do not have to remember the long numerical strings of the IP addresses.

When you enter a domain in the address bar of your browser, a request will be sent to the corresponding name server. The name server searches its database for the correct IP address of this domain and transmits it to the browser. The browser can then display the desired website. This usually happens within milliseconds.

How is a domain structured?

Domain names are hierarchical and consist of three levels:

  1. Top-level domains
  2. Second-level domains
  3. Third-level domains (also known as “subdomains”)

The individual levels are always separated by a dot.

For the domain example.your-own-domain.ch, the three levels are as follows:

example.your-own-domain.ch The “.ch” is the top-level domain.
 example.your-own-domain.chThe section with “your-own-domain” is called a second-level domain. 
example.your-own-domain.ch The preceding “example” is the third-level domain or the subdomain

Top-level domain

The top-level domain (TLD) is the last part, i.e. the extension of a domain name. For example, most Swiss websites use the domain extension “.ch,” while German domains have the extension “.de”. These country-code top-level domains also bear the abbreviation “ccTLD” (country-code top-level domain).

In addition to country-specific top-level domains, there are also generic top-level domains (abbreviated to “gTLD”). These do not designate countries but are dedicated to specific purposes and themes. For example, “.com” stands for commercial websites, “.biz” for shops and “.museum” for museums. You can find out more about the various top-level domains in our blog post.

An overview of the top-level domains available at Hostpoint and their prices can be found on our website.

Second-level domain

The second-level domain is a domain name of your choice that you can register for yourself. The second-level domain is therefore often simply referred to as a “domain name”.

Third-level domain

A third-level domain (also called a “subdomain”) is an addition that is placed in front of the actual domain name and is separated by a dot. More information on third-level domains can be found in this article.

How important are domains?

The domain name is an important part of a company’s identity. When setting up a company and deciding on a name, people usually check first whether the desired domain name is still available. Private individuals should also think carefully about whether they want to register the corresponding domain before someone else gets ahead of them because if you want to create a website at a later date, the desired domain name may already be taken.

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