A domain name is key to doing just about anything on the Internet, from setting up a web site to sending and receiving email to building an online store.

The Domain Name System (DNS) is the engine that makes the Internet simple and accessible for users around the world. The DNS enables communication over the Internet for applications like credit card processing and bank transactions as well as Web browsing and email.


Every server on the Internet has an Internet Protocol (IP) address such as 2001:503:A83:0:0:2:30 or The DNS maps names to IP addresses and back, allowing people to search for websites and send email using familiar names instead of strings of numbers and letters. When a user enters a domain name into a Web browser, the application looks up the domain name to find the IP address and direct the user to it. The resolution process happens across a global network of powerful servers.


The best way to understand a domain name is to start to the right of the first period or "dot." The characters after the dot signify the top-level domain or TLD. Each TLD has one or more second-level domain names (; each second-level domain can have many third-level domain names ( Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) use characters from many different scripts, such as Kanji and Arabic, and not just the familiar Latin alphabet.


Domain names are registered for a period of one to ten years by an individual or an organization. A user contacts a registrar or reseller to register a domain name. The registrar verifies that the domain name is available by checking with the registry that manages the corresponding TLD. If it is available, the registrar registers the domain name with the registry, which adds it to the registry database. At the end of the registration period, the domain name registrant has the option to renew the domain name or let it expire. Find a Registrar


The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit, private sector corporation, was established in 1998 by the U.S. Department of Commerce as the technical coordination body for aspects of the Domain Name System. As a leading registry, FreeYourID actively participates in standards and policy development.

WHY FreeYourID?

As the global leader in domain names, FreeYourID powers the invisible navigation that takes people to where they want to go on the Internet. For more than 15 years, FreeYourID has operated the infrastructure for a portfolio of top-level domains that today include .com, .net, .tv, .edu, .gov, .jobs, .name and .cc, as well as two of the world's 13 Internet root servers.