Short Recap of How the Domain Name System Works

We’re going to discuss various aspects of domain names, such as www.rwme.com. DNS (Domain Name Service) is the system that converts a domain name into an IP address, which allows computers to identify other computers and servers on the internet. An IP address is a numerical label assigned to any device attached to the network. This means, the DNS allows you to use the easy-to-remember domain name of a website instead of its actual address on the internet, and it figures out the rest. This process is referred to as DNS name resolution.

 Domain Name Parts

To explain the specific parts of a domain name, we will use http://www.rwme.com (RW McIntyre Enterprises) as an example. As you may know, the last portion of this name – .com – represents the generic top-level domain (gTLD). Currently, some of the most common gTLDs are .com, .net, .org, etc. But it has been announced earlier this year; there will be many, many more gTLDs available later.

Underneath the top-level portion of the domain name, the next level down in our example is “rwme”. This refers to the specific organization of rwme (RW McIntyre Enterprises) below the .com gTLD. Sometimes, websites can have a hierarchy of sub-domains even below that, such as the Resources sub-domain name of resources.rwme.com. In that example, “resources” is a sub-domain of “RMWE”.

The last part of a domain name (the one that is listed first, such as “www”) is the host name. This host name is a label assigned to any device connected to the network for identification.

Registering the Domain

As you can tell, the domain name process can seem to be very complicated. Luckily, when it comes to registering a domain name there are registrars that have authority to register your domain name of choice for you.

By using an official registrar or affiliate, such as RWM Website Store, the first thing you should do is check if your desired domain name is available by using the search function.

The registrar should display which gTLDs the domain name is available under, and provide you the option to register the name under one or more of them (.com, .org, .co, etc.). They may also offer to broker the possible purchase of a domain name that is already registered that you want to have but be aware this will cost you dearly, if  it is a unique and sought after identifier.

Once you have registered your domain name, you should direct the registrar to point that name to the IP address where your website is hosted. To make this easier, you can also host your domain within the registrar’s own DNS configuration.

This is of course a very simplified overview of how the domain name system works, but hopefully it helps in your understanding of what your domain name actually means, and what happens “behind the scenes” when you visit a website. For more information, check out the RWM Website Store on this same topic.

Hope this is helpful to anyone interested.