When you decide to bring your business or brand online, you’re going to start seeing a lot of terms like domain name, website, URL, domain registrar, and more. While they all are related to having a website, they don’t all mean the same thing. Luckily, they’re simple to explain, and we’ve spelled out the basics right here. Once you discover the differences between each term below, you’ll be ready to make your way around the web with confidence.

Domain name

Simply put, a domain name (or just a domain) is the name of a website. It’s what comes after “@” in an email address, or after “www.” in a web address. If someone asks how to find you online, what you tell them is usually your domain name.

URL

A URL (aka “Universal Resource Locator”) is a complete web address used to find a particular web page. While the domain is the name of the website, a URL will lead to any one of the pages within the website. Every URL contains a domain name, as well as other components needed to locate the specific page or piece of content.

Website

Though one leads to the other, buying a domain name doesn’t mean you have a website. A domain is the name of a website, a URL is how to find a website, and a website is what people see and interact with when they get there. In other words, when you buy a domain, you have purchased the name for your site, but you still need to build the site.

TLD

A TLD identifies something about the website associated with it, such as its purpose, the organization that owns it or the geographical area where it originates. Each TLD has a separate registry managed by a designated organization under the direction of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

How do I purchase a domain name?

Getting a domain name involves registering the name you want with an organisation called ICANN through a domain name registrar. Click here to see the Domain Registrars Directory.