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What is a Domain Name?

A domain name is a unique name identified with a particular Internet site and/or email address. For example, when a person visits a website, the domain name appears in the web address bar located at the upper level of the webpage. When the user sends an email, the domain name appears after the “at” sign (@). Domains have an extension, which assists in determining the type and location of the domain. Israel Internet Association (ISOC-IL) is the operator for the country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) .il .

How do Domain Names Assist in Navigating the Internet?

Any communication device connected to the Internet has a unique address consisting of a series of numbers, similar to a telephone or ID number. All connected devices communicate directly through these unique addresses, termed IP (Internet Protocol) addresses. Due to the vast number of connected devices, a 12 digit system has been implemented to uniquely identify each device. For example, the ISOC-IL IP address is:  192.115.211.45 (https://www.isoc.org.il/).

How does the Domain Name System (DNS) Work?

Since most people find it difficult to remember and utilize such a long string of numbers, the Domain Name System (DNS) has been created to translate numeric IP addresses into easily accessible, alphabetized domain names. When a domain name is entered into the device, the DNS translates the domain name and identifies the relevant IP address, then navigates to the domain’s homepage. Thus, the DNS functions as a worldwide, distributed directory service directing domain names to their associated IP addresses.

The process of decoding a query originates at the global DNS level, known as the “root” server. The global DNS root server array is managed by ICANN, the  Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, responsible for coordinating the maintenance and procedures of the namespaces and numerical spaces of the Internet.  These servers are designated to Top Level Domains (TLDs) only.

The root server contacts the local (country code) server responsible for the domain name’s extension (in our case, .il servers).  In turn, the local server connects with the server holding the domain (often an ISP/hosting provider), and the communication transaction is completed.

Structure of the Domain Name

A domain name is constructed of different layers which assist in allocating the server swiftly and with ease. Each layer is separated by a dot (.) differentiating between layers in the domain name hierarchy. The Top Level Domain (TLD) is the top level of the hierarchy. Extensions such as .co and .org are Second Level Domains (SLDs). The .il extension is categorized as a ccTLD (country code Top Level Domain).

Different Types of Top Level Domain Name Extensions

There are two types of TLDs: generic Top Level Domains (gTLD) and country code Top Level Domains (ccTLD). Examples of gTLDs include .com, .org., .net, .gov, .museum and the like. Countries are represented by ccTLDs , such as .us (USA), .fr (France), .cn (China), .zw (Zimbabwe), and for Israel – .il. For a complete list of all ccTLDs, visit the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) website.