Difference between a domain name and a website address
Country: CA UK
Image of an Apple iMac on an architect's desk showing the word Domain and graphics relating to websites

What’s the difference between a domain name and a website address (or URL)?


Domain names are a vital part of how the internet works.

If you run a business, you will want to own one or more domain names which match your company name and/or brands that you own. Here are some examples:

Apple: apple.com
BBC: bbc.co.uk
Coca Cola: coca-cola.com

You will note that some businesses use .com, others .co.uk (indicating the UK, but every country has its own equivalent). You may encounter others such as .net and .org. These are collectively called ‘top-level domains’ or TLDs for short.

There are a restricted variety of TLDs, but the bit before the end is effectively unlimited. You could register anything you like, even if it ran to 100 random letters and was totally unreadable. But due to increased worldwide demand for short, memorable (and legible) domain names, a chunk of new TLDs were released in recent years with a focus on specific industries.

So for example you can now register domains ending .digital, .charity, .shop and so on, rather than the traditional .com and .net varieties.

A website and a domain name are not the same thing. This table shows how many different things depend upon the ownership of a domain name and the correct way to describe each one.

Domain-Related Terms

 

Correct Examples

 

Domain Name

 

purplecomputing.com

 

Subdomain
(used for subdividing a large website into bitesize parts)
myaccount.purplecomputing.com
support.purplecomputing.com
Email Address

 

(e.g)sales@purplecomputing.com
(e.g)accounts@purplecomputing.com
Website
(technically called a URL)
https://purplecomputing.com
https://www.purplecomputing.com
https://myaccount.purplecomputing.com
File Server Address (technically also a URL) \\server01.purplecomputing.com\MyFiles

Domain names are cheap to register if they are not registered already, rarely more than £25 per year and often much less. You have to renew them annually otherwise they are released back to the open market. Once registered, they belong to you alone but can be bought, sold and transferred privately.

You visit an online domain registrar to buy your domain name. A domain registrar is an accredited company who specialise in registering internet domain names. They help to maintain the global registry of who owns which domain. There are lots of registrars out there, but we use and recommend 123-Reg.

Be very aware that the new array of TLDs makes it very expensive to register every possible domain variant of your company name. It is probably uneconomical to do so. We recommend, where possible, to register the .com and .co.uk (or your country’s equivalent), optionally in addition to any ‘new-style’ TLDs which very closely match your industry or sector. If somebody is dead-set on registering an obscure TLD and pretending to be you, simply owning every possible domain permutation is not going to stop them. You have to draw a line somewhere and honestly, do you really want to pay £20 a year for owning mycompany.banana or various misspellings of your company domain name? Probably not. Tread with caution when registering domains and ensure you have additional protections in place, such as trademarks, to protect your intellectual property and your brand.

If you need help with your domain names or related services, be sure to contact us.

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Date Name Comments
Feb 8th Mark H Really speedy response to my issue which Jack resolved quickly. As issue repeats, Jack advised to ensure latest updates installed (they were) and that he would dig to see if this is a known issue (set preference for monitor to mirror laptop screen keeps reverting). As ever, first class support form the Purple Computing Team!
Feb 7th Ashton E a
Feb 3rd Rob T Dean was very fast and helpful today and resolved my problem almost immediately. Thank you!
Feb 3rd Tim R Purple Computing are really responsive to their customer's needs and I have no hesitation in recommending them
Jan 31st Mark H Quick response to query and resolved the issue whilst explaining what to do if happened again. Excellent and timely service.
Jan 27th Kerry Professional, fast, efficient and friendly service. Thank you!
Jan 26th Alan H The service was quick, efficient and pleasant.
Jan 25th Lynn H Great service as always. Very professional. 5 *
Jan 25th Nathanael P Prompt, pragmatic, friendly and helpful as ever!
Jan 25th Craig L Good service as always. Regards Craig