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What is a Domain Name?

A domain name is the user-friendly form of an Internet address. They are commonly used to find websites, for example, http://www.mcit.gov.et/ is used to find the Agency's website. A domain name also forms the basis of other methods or applications on the Internet, for example, email addresses (name@mcit.gov.et), and for file transfer – ftp addresses (ftp.mcit.gov.et).

The Domain Name System

The Domain Name System (DNS) comes from the early days of the Internet when it was a small network for defence and academic research purposes. The DNS system that we use today was introduced in 1984. The system is essentially a global addressing system. It is the way that domain names are distributed, located and translated into Internet Protocol (IP) addresses and vice versa; a process known as ‘resolution'. A domain name is a unique alias for an IP address (a number for example, IP 212.24.85.85), which is an actual physical point on the Internet.

The DNS forms a hierarchy with Top Level Domains (TLDs), Second Level Domains (SLDs), Third Level Domains (3LDs) and so forth. The Top Level Domains (TLDs) are administered internationally by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) which is also the overall body for providing the Uniform Domain Resolution Policy.

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