The concepts of domain name and URL have long been part of the everyday vocabulary, but not everyone can understand the URL and domain name difference. These terms have a lot in common, but at the same time, they mean entirely different things. This article will discuss the specifics of the URL vs domain ratio and why they are essential for website promotion.
Domain Name vs URL: Specifics of Terminology
To understand the fundamental difference between URL and domain name, you need to know their definitions first.
The common definition of a domain name is the textual form of a numeric IP address used to access a website. To simplify even further, the domain name is the text entered by the user into the search box to access the needed website.
There are specific rules for domain names. They must comply with the Domain Name System or DNS. Typically, a domain name consists of several parts (labels):
hostname – this is the main domain name, e.g., wiserbrand.com, google.com, facebook.com;
top-level domain – in other words, this is the website extension that can denote the country code or a generic domain: wiserbrand.com, en.wikipedia.org;
subdomain – is a subdivision from the main domain name. For example: app.ahrefs.com, docs.google.com, en.wikipedia.org.
All parts of the domain name are separated from each other by a period. Domains come in three levels – top, middle, and bottom.
Uniform Resource Locator, or URL
URL is essentially a string that represents the full address of a web page. Like the domain name, it is designed to search for specific online pages. A URL consists of several parts:
method – specifies the protocol that is used to retrieve the document (http, https, ftp);
hostname string – defines the domain name or IP address belonging to the computer or server hosting the information of interest;
port – the number of the protocol that is used if the popular port cannot be used;
path – required to determine the location of the file on the server.
When searching for the necessary information, the browser uses the URL to get a copy of the requested page, using standard analysis methods for its information.
URL vs Domain name: Key Differences
After reading the definitions of "domain name" and "URL", you might get the impression that they are the same. In fact, there are a number of characteristic differences between them. To make it easier to understand them, we have created this table.
Domain name is a string that represents a numeric IP address in text form
URL is a string that represents the full web address of any page
Is a part of the URL of the page
Is the full address of the web page
Consists of top-, middle-, and bottom-level subdomains
The constituent parts are method, hostname, port, and path
Facilitates access to the website of interest
Helps to find the exact web resource the user is looking for since it contain its full web address
Based on the above characteristics, the difference between URL and domain name can be inferred. A URL is a string that provides complete information about the location of a web page, while a domain name is only part of that address. The domain name is more convenient for the user since it is a text. Therefore, it is not entirely correct to speak about the opposition of domain vs URL – instead, they are interconnected parts of a whole.
How to Use URL and Domain Name Difference to Your Advantage
Now that you know what the domain name and URL are, how they are similar, and how they differ, we can talk about what it means for promoting your business.
It's no secret that the number of companies transferring their activities to the digital world grows every year. Therefore, knowing the basics – including how domain names and URLs work – brings greater confidence and benefits. But let's start from the beginning.
Let's start with the domain name. In the digital world, its purpose is not limited to helping people find a web page of interest. It is also a kind of brand that represents a particular company. Therefore, the choice of a domain name should be approached responsibly to gain popularity with users. When choosing a domain name, we recommend:
Using the brand name. It can be either the name of the owner or the name of the company. The main thing is that they should be memorable and straightforward.
Using keywords. They will help you rise in the search rankings. If possible, a keyword can be used in the domain name. If not, then it's best to focus on using your keywords wisely in page optimization.
Using the appropriate website extension. This will help avoid possible errors in the operation of the web resource – for example, if the website is not showing up in the search because the domain name in the DNS system does not indicate the correct location.
Online business promotion is impossible without understanding the basics. This includes both the domain name and URL. The difference between domain and URL, if you look into it, is pretty obvious. But these differences are more indicative of the relationship between them than an opposition. Without a domain name, you cannot develop a correct web address, and without an accurate URL, you cannot find a specific page. If you are not sure how to correctly use the difference between domain name and URL, WiserBrand is ready to help you.
Chief Technology Officer
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