When it comes to websites, people often use URLs and domains interchangeably (and wrongly so). In this short guide, we’ll walk you through their differences and distinct uses.
What Is a URL?
URL or Uniform Resource Locator refers to a web address that is used to specify the location of a resource on the internet. For instance, Google’s URL is https://www.google.com/.
You can think of it as a string of characters that helps identify and locate a resource (e.g., a webpage, file, image, or any other type of resource really) on a network.
URLs are used by web browsers and other internet applications to retrieve and display web content.
In general, a URL has the following components:
- Method/Protocol which helps retrieve the file from the server.
- Host Name or domain name refers to the IP address of the server. It is the location of files or documents which we can read and understand easily.
- Port is basically a protocol number that doubles as a communication endpoint.
- Path refers to the location of a file on the server.
What Is a Domain Name?
A domain name is the primary address used to identify a website’s location on the internet. It’s a human-readable version of IP address so people can easily search and access a website. It’s also a key part of a URL and is generally used for branding purposes.
In terms of the composition, it is important to note that the components of a domain name are separated by dots or periods.
An example of a domain name would be www.crazydomains.com.au. You can divide the domain name into the following segments:
- The type of server that represents the web server in the example above would be the World Wide Web or WWW as it is popularly known.
- Host Name refers to the main name of the domain (Google or Crazy Domains, for instance).
- The top-level domain is the last part of the domain name that you commonly see as .com, .au, .in, and so on.
URL vs Domain: Common Differences You Should Know About
Here are the essential differences between URLs and domains to help you distinguish one from the other:
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To summarise, URLs are detailed web addresses that you can use to access specific resources. On the other hand, domain names are user-friendly labels that help you locate websites and resources on the internet.
What you need to understand is that domain names are a key part of URLs that enable you to find and access web resources more easily.
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