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Research Online: A Practical Guide 
Choose a Section:
Intro | Web Basics | Searching | Links | Citing Sources | Conclusion

Web Basics
What is the Internet?
What is the World Wide Web?
What is a Web browser?
What are Domain Names and URLs?
What is a Bookmark?
What is Email?
What is a Newsgroup?
What is a Discussion List (or Listserv)
What is "Netiquette?"
What is Search Engine?

What are Domain Names and URLs?

Domain Names

A domain name is one portion of the URL, or address, of a Web site. Components of a domain name are separated by a "." (pronounced dot).

For example, the Houghton Mifflin Education Place domain name is

  • The first segment, www, stands for the host server, the World Wide Web, where the site is found.
  • The second segment, eduplace, identifies the company or organization name.
  • The last segment, .com, reflects the type of organization--a commercial institution. This is called the "top-level domain name." Other common top-level domain names include .gov (government agency), .org (organization), .edu (educational institution), and .net (network).
One simple trick to finding companies and organizations on the Web is to plug the name into the formula above, along with the appropriate top-level domain name. For example, what would be the domain name for the History Channel? The FBI?

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URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. Simply stated, a URL is a site's complete "address" on the Internet. Just as your home address is made up of several components--house number, street, city, state, zip code--the URL for a World Wide Web document has four components, each separated by a slash (/).

All Web browsers display a Web site's URL in a rectangular box at the top of the screen (see if you can find the URLs in activity 1). As you navigate the Web you can see how the URL changes. Or, type in the URL and go directly where you want to go.

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