Web Hosting Technology Overview - Domain Name
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The first step in a user’s quest to load a web page is to type in the address of the page that they want. This address is known as the URL, and it refers to a “domain name.” The domain name is what specifies where the request for a web page will be sent. When you type in your website’s address, the request for the domain name is sent out, and then your computer begins to wait for the web page to come back to it.
The first stop in the request’s path is to figure out what the domain name means. Computers refer to other computers using “Internet Protocol addresses.” You can think of these addresses in the same way as physical mailing addresses. Each address is unique and can be used by any computer to find any other computer somewhere in the depths of the Internet. In order to get a web page, your computer needs to turn its request for a domain name into a request for an IP address.
There is a master list kept by a private company of all of the domain names on the Internet. This list is constantly being updated and redistributed around the Internet. It is one of the largest and most accessed databases online. It is truly impressive how dynamic it is, constantly being redistributed and updated. The list is actually a collection of hundreds or even thousands of separate databases maintained by different entities.
There is a different collection of domains housed for different reasons. Every country in the world has its own unique collection of domains that it maintains. There are also the standard collections, such as .com, .net, .org, and .gov. All of these lists are constantly floating around the Internet, receiving millions of change requests and access requests, just like the one that originated from the user’s computer.
Your computer’s request is sent to a specific one of these lists, which checks the requested domain name against the database and returns the IP address of the server where the website is being kept. Once the IP address has been obtained, the request can be directed to the individual server that hosts the website.
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