A domain name is a web address and a URL is a web address (most of the time). But they have slightly different uses and there’s usually certain times when they get called one thing or the other.
What they have in common is they can all be found in the address bar of your browser – the part you can see in the image below where diydigital.com.au is.
So let’s look at when, and why, you would call it, or others would call it, a Domain Name, Web Address or URL.
When you are buying a web address it’s called a domain name. It’s almost the only time you will call it that.
Let’s say your web address is www.localshop.com.au. That means your domain name is www.localshop.com.au.
The other time the phrase domain name is used is when it refers to a domain name email address.
Your website is likely to have a number of pages such as:
Each page will have it’s own unique web address, also known as a URL, and the web address for each of those pages is likely to be
Each of the above is a separate web address or URL.
However, there is only one domain name. And it is www.localshop.com.au. So the difference between a domain name and web address is the domain name is the “master” – it is the one that all subsidiary pages sit under.
URL – UNIQUE RABBIT LOCATER
The URL is the Uniform Resource Locator, but I prefer to call it the Unique Rabbit Locater. Rabbits are a big problem in Australia and about the only time you, or others, will refer to the web address as a URL is when you’re having a problem with your computer.
The Unique Rabbit Locater is the web address used and needed by IT people when they are solving computer problems. One of the first things an IT person needs to do to solve a problem, is to locate where that problem is. You can let them know where it is by sending them the URL.
Click in the address bar similar to what you see in the screen shot above, use “Ctrl C” to copy it and “Ctrl V” to paste it into the email to your IT person. This can be very useful to them as it tells them exactly where the problem occurred.
So what’s the difference between a URL and a web address? A web address is publicly accessible, however a URL may not be. Think about how many computer programs you use online.
Let’s say you are using a financial software package like MYOB, Xero or Quickbooks. You have access to it in the shop and your accountant down the road does as well. Most likely you are using the software online. And each screen you use will have it’s own URL. It’s not a publicly available webpage your customers visit, but an online page that, like a web address, has a unique location on the internet.
Choosing and Purchasing your Domain Name
You can purchase your domain name online. At DIY Digital we use and recommend Netregistry. If you like your independence and prefer to keep control of your own business assets, this option will appeal to you.
If you prefer to have the domain name purchased on your behalf DIY Digital will place this order at the same time as placing the hosting request. If you prefer IT people to do the techy stuff this option will appeal to you.
To get a “.au” domain name, which we recommend, you will need to register your ABN prior to your domain name registration.
The domain name is important for Google Searches. If you want your website to rank high on google searches choose one that is relevant to your business, memorable and a phrase that people will search for on google.
A domain name normally costs around $20/year.
Photo: Larry D. Moore CC BY-SA 3.0