What is a domain name?

A domain name is exactly what it says on the tin. It is a name - a reference. Nothing more, nothing less.

It's a bit like registering a trademark. The trademark has a registered owner. By looking up the trademark at the patent office you can find out the address of the company who owns it. In the same way, computers interrogate the DNS (Domain Name System) to determine the Internet (IP) Addresses associated with the domain.

Clearly, if you sold the company name to someone, that doesn't necessarily include the company itself - the assets of the company are separate from its name. In the same way, a domain name doesn't include the website or email addresses that are associated with it. Through DNS you can discover information about where to find the website and email servers associated with the domain.

So, when you transfer a domain from one owner to another (i.e. if you sell your domain name to someone else) - or you transfer a domain from one registrar to another (i.e. if you transfer your domain from another hosting company to us), then you still have to think about moving or repointing your website and email addresses because they are separate.

Who regulates domains?

Domain names are managed at the highest level by a small number of agencies around the world (all .uk domain names are regulated by Nominet, for example). Then, people further down the chain, like Krystal are authorised to act as registrars. We take your money and then pay to register your domain with the registration authorities.

This is a bit like the way DVLA in Swansea manages car registration numbers - but your local car dealership registers your new car's registration number for you when you buy it.

What does it do?

When someone types in your website address http://mywebsite.com, how do they get your website?

Well, part of the service we provide includes telling the world who looks after the services that are associated with your domain name. This is done via something called a Domain Name Server.

Everything is a number

Every service on the internet, including email and web servers, are identified by a numeric IP Address. These addresses are awkward to remember, so some clever people created the DNS (Domain Name System) - a way to use friendly names, such as krystal.co.uk instead of 77.72.0.35. The global DNS system converts countless billions of names to IP addresses (and vice versa) every day.

When you try to open any website or connect to any server on the internet using a Domain Name, the DNS system is what makes it all work.


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