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A Glossary of Domain Terms

The Internet is a vast sea of information where people go to find ideas, images, services, and more. Whether it's a business website or a personal blog, interested parties must be able to find and access it. For this reason, it is important for people to understand domains and how they work. Learning the terminology is one of the best ways to start.


A Record - Also known as an Address Record, this setting is necessary to link a domain name with a specific IP address.


Country Code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD) - A code that is a two-letter combination that identifies a specific country, such as .mx for Mexico or .us for the United States.

Cybersquatting - A term to describe the act of registering a domain in order to resell it at a higher price or use it to steal traffic. Cybersquatters use the trademark or name of businesses that do not already have a website.


Domain Name - This is the name the website is registered under and used in the site's address. Email addresses will also precede the Domain Name with the @ sign. If an address read:, the domain name is, "".

Domain Name System (DNS) - This is the method by which an IP address translates to a human-readable domain name.

Domain Flipping - Like house-flipping or "buy low, sell high" in selling stocks, this is a trading method involving the purchase of a domain name and selling it immediately for profits.

Domain Privacy - Domain registrars typically provide this feature to protect the domain owner's personal information from view by WHOIS inquiries.


Extension - The letters at the end of a domain name, such as .org or .com, which describe the domain's registry association. With a country, the extension will be the ccTLD.


Generic Top-Level Domain - The typical letters at the end of website domain names, such as .com or .org.

Grace Period - This is the time interval after the expiration of a domain name where the registrant can renew and recover the domain. After this interval expires, the domain will typically become available for sale.


Internet Protocol (IP) Address - A set of unique 32-bit numbers that identifies a computer that is connected to the Internet. IPV6 has 128-bit hexadecimal codes to do the same thing for a larger number of addresses.

International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) - This authority controls the naming system of the Internet and provides regulation for domain names.


Misspelled Domain Name - In this case, the registrants intentionally vary their website's address to redirect to the correct domain name. This way, people who type in the name incorrectly will reach their intended destination.


Nameserver - An essential part of the Domain Name System that serves to resolve domain names into the correct IP address of a web page server.

New Top-Level Domain (nTLD) - These top-level domains have been added to the traditional top-level domains such as .edu and .gov. The nTLD's are often creative or niche specific, such as .games, .sale, .restaurant, and .news.


Parking - The act of creating a placeholder page to hold a domain name. This serves to defend against cybersquatting, advertise the domain for sale, or reserve the domain and website for later development by the owner.

Premium Domain - This refers to a previously registered domain name in high demand that has significant monetary value. Their value comes from the fact that they are easy to remember, generate high website traffic, and have the potential for powerful market branding.


Redirect - The process by which an owner can direct a registered domain name that is no longer used to point visitors to a connected domain that is in use.

Redemption Period - The time interval after a domain registration and its associated grace period expires when the former registrant can purchase the domain and renew it. Often, this comes at a higher cost.

Registrant - The entity that owns a domain name or controls the domain's registration.

Registrar - An accredited entity that provides domain registration services for sale to the public.

Registry - An entity that manages Top-Level Domains. They do not sell to the public and primarily focus on selling domains to third-party registrars.

Renewal - This is the method by which registrants subscribe to keep ownership of their domain for another year or more.

Reverse Domain Hijacking - The tactic of attempting to take a domain from its legitimate owner by contesting its ownership with dishonest claims.


Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - The strategy by which content makers enhance content on a website so that it will rank higher, or show up before other competing web pages, on search engines.

Second-Level Domain (2LD) - This is a domain that appears before the top-level domain. For instance, in, the part that reads, "examplewebsite" is the Second-Level Domain. This comes before .com, which is the Top-Level Domain.

Subdomain - The address under or written before the Second-Level Domain. For instance, in, "cdn" would be the subdomain.


Top-Level Domain (TLD) - The last part of a domain name. On the website, .com is the Top-Level Domain.

Transfer - The process by which a domain name owner moves their domain from one registrar to a new one while maintaining ownership.


Universal Resource Locator (URL) - You'll find this unique address to a website or other resource, such as an image in the browser's navigation bar.


WHOIS - An online protocol that allows people to search for information about the owner of a registered domain name. People who access WHOIS may search for identifying information about the registrant, including contact details.

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