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Domain Names

­Stan Gelber

Most of us access the Internet using something called the domain name (Healthlinks.net for example), but what is it and how does it work? Before we can describe the domain name it must be understood that all computers connected to the Internet whether full-time or part-time, must have a unique address for identification. We call this the IP address or Internet Protocol address. Do not confuse this address with your e-mail address which identifies you rather than your computer.

Due to a shortage of IP addresses, two types exist: permanent addresses and temporary addresses. Permanent addresses are assigned to organizations that usually want to have full-time access to the Internet. An example of this would be the national Library of Medicine. Temporary addresses are dynamically allocated to users who use the network part-time. You are assigned a temporary address when you logon and when you logoff, your temporary address is reassigned.

Because an IP address is difficult to remember, (it is a string of 16 numbers), something called the domain name is used to equate a registered name to an assigned IP number.

The domain name identifies a web site registered with an organization called Network Solutions. Located in Reston VA, USA, Network Solutions is responsible for managing world-wide domain name resources on the Internet. The domain name (usually a company or organization name) is a short-hand method used in place of a numeric address for identifying web sites on the Internet making it easier for us to locate and visit those sites.



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