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Domain Name FAQ

What is an IP Address?

An IP (Internet Protocol) address is a unique identifying string of numbers, like 216.27.61.137, given to every individual computer, server, and network on the Internet. Like a license plate is used to help identify vehicles, an IP address is used to identify and locate information online. Additionally, they allow for communication over the internet between devices and networks connected to the internet.

What is a domain name?

A domain name, like www.coolexample.com, is a lot like a street address for a house or business. Let's use the White House as an example. The street address, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, is an exact location — like an IP address. You might not know the exact street address, but when you visit Washington, D.C., you can tell your cabbie that you want to visit the White House and still get there. This is how a domain name is used: It's an easy way to reach the exact location of a website without having to remember its numeric address.

A domain name consists of, at least, a top-level and a second-level domain. A top-level domain (TLD) is the part of the domain name located to the right of the dot ("."). The most common TLDs are .com, .net, and .org.

Many domains, also called extensions, can be registered by anyone, like .com, .net, and .org. A second-level domain (SLD) is the portion of the domain name that is located immediately to the left of the dot and domain name extension. For example, the SLD in coolexample.com is coolexample.

Advanced Domain Name Description: A domain name represents a physical point on the Internet — an IP address. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) governs coordination of the links between IP addresses and domain names across the Internet. With this standardized coordination, you can find websites on the Internet by entering domain names instead of IP addresses into your Web browser.

What is the 'www' before my domain name?

The www before your domain name is a subdomain, not part of the domain name itself. Therefore, if you set up your www CNAME record to point to your primary A record, your site will resolve both at www.coolexample.com and coolexample.com.

If you can reach your website by typing in your domain without the www but cannot reach it when you type the www, then your CNAME might be set up incorrectly. Follow the instructions below to ensure your domain name's settings are correct.

How do domains work?

When visitors enter your domain name into a Web browser, the browser request uses your domain name to find the domain name's associated IP address and, therefore, the website. People use domain names instead of IP addresses because it is easier to remember a name rather than a series of numbers.

Your domain name and its associated IP address are stored in a common database along with every other domain and associated IP address that are accessible via the Internet.

What is a URL?

A URL, or Uniform Resource Locator, is the address of an Internet website or webpage. Think of a URL as a street address for the location of information on the Internet. For instance, a complete URL like http://coolexample.com/music, points you to the music page of the coolexample.com website.

Take a look at the anatomy of this URL to better understand how they direct online users to specific information: http://coolexample.com/funky/music.html

http:// = protocol
coolexample.com = domain name
/funky/music.html = path
/funky/ = directory
/music.html = file name

What is a nameserver?

Nameservers are the Internet's equivalent to phone books. A nameserver maintains a directory of domain names that match certain IP addresses (computers). The information from all the nameservers across the Internet is gathered in a central registry.

Nameservers make it possible for visitors to access your website using a familiar domain name, instead of having to remember a series of numbers.

What do I do with my domain once it's been registered?

Registering a domain name does not automatically activate a website that displays when visitors enter your domain name into a Web browser. The domain name must have a hosted website that includes a numeric address, called an IP address, for visitors to access the website using your domain name.

Besides setting up a website, there are a number of things you can do with your domain name once you register it.

  • Sell it — Domain names can be a great investment. If you have registered a domain name that you are not using, maybe someone else can. You can set up a For Sale parked page to let visitors know that it's available — and don't forget to include your contact information. See What is the domain aftermarket? for more information.
  • Protect your brand online — The more domain names you register, the better. Prevent others from registering a similar domain name to yours. These similar domain names can steal your customers or confuse them. What can you do with all these domain names? Forward them to your main domain name's website. See Forwarding or Masking Your Domain Name for more information.
  • Hold on to it — Maybe you haven't decided what to do with your new domain name. Don't worry — there's no rush. You can leave it parked with us for the length of your registration. You can also monetize it by setting it up in a CashParking® account. See CashParking FAQ for more information.

Why should I register more than one domain name?

If you're thinking about registering more than one domain name, you've got the right idea. Registering and using multiple domains names is great for building your business, protecting your brand name, and creating a dynamic online identity.

When you register multiple domain names, you can:

  • Keep your competition from registering a similar domain name drawing customers to them instead of you
  • Promote the different products and services you offer
  • Drive more traffic to your website
  • Enjoy more opportunities to market to — and be listed in — search engines
  • Create distinct advertising strategies reaching different target markets
  • Provide customers more ways to find you when searching the Internet
  • Capture common misspellings of your domain name, instead of sending visitors to an error page
  • Protect your brand and online identity

When can I register an expired domain name?

Usually, a domain name is not available for re-registration as soon as it expires. Most registrars allow a grace period that can be as short as one or two weeks or as long as a year for registrants to renew expired domain names. The actual grace period can be different for each individual registrar and domain name extension. That is, the grace period for a .com domain name might be different from the grace period for a .us domain name, even at the same registrar.

After the registrar's grace period, most domain names have a redemption period. This period can last from two weeks to 30 days, and, during this time, the current registrant can renew the domain name by paying a redemption fee along with the domain name's renewal fee.

If the current registrant does not renew or redeem the domain name, it might be auctioned. When a domain name is released to a public auction, you can participate and possibly capture the domain name by placing a bid on it.

If the domain name is not renewed, redeemed, or purchased through an auction, it is returned to its registry. The registry determines when the domain name is released again for registration. Once it's released, you can register the domain name through us.

Note: A registrant can renew an expired domain name at no extra cost up to day 18. If they renew an expired domain name anytime between day 19 and day 42, they must also pay an $80.00 redemption fee. The domain name cannot be renewed after day 42.

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