What is a URL?
Is a URL the same as a domain name? Surprisingly to many, the answer is no. But the terms are used so interchangeably, it’s understandable why people confuse one for the other. But there is a difference.
A domain name is part of a URL, which stands for Uniform Resource Locator. You can see the visual difference in the following example:
Let’s Explain It A Little More
In order for computer networks and servers to “talk to one another,” computers rely on a language made up of numbers and letters called an IP address. Every device that connects to the Internet has a unique IP address and looks something like this:
18.104.22.168 or 3ffe:1900:4545:3:200:f8ff:fe21:67cf
In order to navigate easily around the web, typing in a long IP address isn’t ideal, or realistic, to an online user. This is the reason why domain names were created – to hide IP addresses with something more memorable. You could consider the domain name as a “nickname” to the IP address.
A URL incorporates the domain name, along with other detailed information, to create a complete address (or “web address”) to direct a browser to a specific page online called a web page. In essence, it’s a set of directions and every web page has a unique one.
What does it mean to you?
In the end, what really matters is the domain name, the key to creating an online presence. For a small business owner, the benefits of establishing an online presence are many – you can read more about it in why get online. And contrary to popular belief, having an online presence doesn’t mean you have to have a website. When you register a domain name, you can leverage it in many ways, including - forwarding your domain name to your social media site or ecommerce platform, branding your email or building a website.
So take the first step in getting online - register your domain name now.