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How do domain names work?

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.

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.

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.

When you register a domain name, you do not have to host a website. See What do I do with my domain once it's been registered? for information on other uses for your new domain name.

For new .com and .net domain names and updates, allow up to eight hours for changes to become effective. Allow up to 48 hours for changes made to all other domain name extensions to become effective. This delay is because of the number of networks and agencies involved in the Internet structure. Delays apply to all domain names and registrars. Please allow for this delay when planning websites or configuring a domain name to work with your email.

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