Domain vs URL: Understand the differences

Although they look very similar, many people may be confused between a Domain vs URL. In this article we will explain their difference and show some examples, to clarify these concepts.

What is a domain name?

Firstly, a domain name (RFC 1035) is an internet resource name that locates an organization or other entity on the Internet. In general, terms it is simply the address via which internet users can access your website. The Domain names are assigned as per the rules and procedures of Domain Name System (DNS protocol). Any publicly accessible name in the DNS can be considered as a domain name. 

To access any web-based service a user needs to be acquainted with the precise domain name.

Example of domain names: copahost.com, google.com, yahoo.com

What is an URL?

URL stands for the Uniform Resource Locator (RFC 1738). It is a unique identifier that is used for locating the files on the internet. It’s a web address, that we use to identify a specific resource on the network. 

The URL contains:

  • Protocol: usually HTTP or HTTPS
  • Subdomain: usually www
  • Domain name 
  • Path + internal page
  • GET parameters

explaining the url vs domain

Examples of URLs:

Domain vs URL: Understand the differences


http://www.google.com/
http://www.yahoo.com/login/index.php
http://www.gmail.com/login/?active=1&inbox=0

Domain name vs URL: How to extract the domain name from the URL

One of the major points of difference between URL and domain name is that URL is a string of information providing complete address of the web page on the internet. Whereas domain name is a part of URL which is a user-friendly form of IP address. We use the URL for identifying a particular web page.

For example, http://www.abzwebpedia.com/index.html is a complete URL and “abzwebpedia.com” is the domain name.

Moreover, the subdivisions of URL are done on the basis of the method, hostname (domain name), port and path. However, the domain name is: a subdomain, domain and top-level domain,

What is a subdomain?

Simply, subdomain or also referred to as a child domain is domain name with a prefix. It is basically part of the main domain name. For example, www.abz.com is a URL and “www” is the subdomain.

The organization of domain names (by countries)

Domain names are organized on the basis on particular hierarchical levels of servers. The Internet domain names come in four major types.  For instance, they are top-level domains, second-level domains, third-level domains, and country domains. These domains are further segregated into the subsections so as to provide information about the various given domains.

For organizing the domain names for countries, each nation in the world is designated a top-level Internet domain with a unique two-letter alphabetic code. As a conclusion, each country has a specific entity, responsible to their top-level domains (TLD’s).

When we consider domain vs URL, only the domain name may have a relation with a specific country. So, the URL is not “country-sensitive”.

Some examples of country-specific TLD’s:

  • Brazil – .br
  • Italy – .it
  • Portugal – .pt
  • Mexico – .mx
  • China – .cn
  • Russia – .ru
  • India –  .in

Examples of international TLD’s (domain extensions not related to a specific country):

  • .com
  • .net
  • .org
  • .info
  • .biz
  • .blog

What are the differences between HTTP and HTTPS in the URL

Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is a set of rules and standards governing the flow of information over the internet. It is an application layer protocol i.e. it just focuses on the presentation of information to the user without addressing the way by which the information has been transferred. Moreover, the hyper-text exchanged using HTTP goes as plain text. Thus this protocol is not secure and is susceptible to interception. Whereas, on the other hand, HTTPS is a secure protocol which works in conjunction with TLS/SSL(Secure Socket Layer) certificate. The certificate, then, is to ensure the authentication of flow of information between the browser and server. This other article HTTP vs HTTPS explain in details this difference inside the URL.

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