A domain name is a unique name used to identify and access a website on the internet.
Domain names are one of the prerequisites for starting a WordPress website or any website for that matter.
A domain name looks like this:
Through a technical point of view, every website on the internet is assigned its own IP address. An IP Address is a series of numbers and periods that associates with that particular website. It tells your browser where to go to access a particular website on the internet.
An IP Address looks like this:
The reason why we use domain names is purely to help humans access the web easier. An IP address is not overly easy to remember. A domain name is just the human readable version.
When accessing a website, you wouldn’t use for example 22.214.171.124 (Google’s IP Address) to access Google, you would just type google.com and the domain name takes care of the rest.
It would be near impossible to remember all of your favorite websites if they were all just IP addresses. It is far more usable and possibly gives you a better understanding of what the site is by a name rather than a bunch of numbers. Also, hosting servers get upgraded and moved which means IP addresses will change. That is why every website is accessed using a domain name.
wpabsolute.com is a domain name. So is google.com or facebook.com or web3.com.au.
Where to purchase domain names?
You can purchase a domain name from any domain name registrar. A domain name registrar is an organization that manages the reservation of domain names.
A domain name registrar must be accredited to sell domain names by the ICANN (the Internet Corporation For Assigned Names And Numbers). There are thousands of companies that sell and resell domain names.
A number of WordPress hosting providers may offer one free domain name when bundled with their website hosting or other web services. Bluehost is one of these providers that offers affordable hosting for WordPress beginners and experts alike.
The types of domains you can purchase vary. Since the start of 2015, there has been an additional 1000+ new domain name extensions introduced that you can use for a wide range of niches. The most popular types of domains you can purchase include: .com, .net, .org, .info and .edu but the ICANN introduced many new domains such as .fun, .online, .site, .space, .store and .club to name a few.
Once a domain name has been purchased, it is owned by the owner for the purchase period (usually 12 or 24 months). The domain name will expire after the purchase period unless the owner chooses to renew the ownership of the domain. If it does expire, anyone else can purchase the domain. You can not purchase a domain name that has already been purchased.
You can check if your desired domain name is available using the Bluehost domain name checker.
Managing Domain names
Domains are managed through the domain name settings area of where you purchased your domain name from. Each provider offers their own management pages that allow you to perform certain administration tasks on your domain name.
Such administration tasks might be to update the domains contact details, transfer the domain to another provider or more commonly, adding in domain records to instruct the domain of what to do. These instructions can range from pointing the domain to a hosting server or connecting an email provider to the domain.
The URL can be registered to any hosting server and the hosting server can be changed by updating what is called a domain name system record (or DNS Record).
DNS records give your domain name instructions like what IP address or server it should correspond to.
The domain name can be transferred to a new owner while it is still actively registered. To transfer to a new owner, they will need to know the domain names password (or EPP code). Without the EPP code, they will not be able to transfer the domain name to another provider.
If you change your website hosting, the hosting server will keep its IP address and you will need to obtain another one from the new server. This means that you may need to update your domain name records if you change your website hosting.