Domain names are the addresses of websites. They are a series of letters that are assigned to a website to uniquely identify it on the internet. For example, the website for CNN is www.cnn.com.
Domain names are administered by a global organization called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN. ICANN is responsible for assigning domain names and managing the Domain Name System, or DNS. The DNS is a global database that maps domain names to the IP addresses of websites.
When you type a domain name into a web browser, your computer contacts a domain name server, or DNS server, to get the IP address for that domain. The DNS server then looks up the IP address for that domain in the global DNS database and returns the address to your computer. Your computer then connects to the website at that IP address.
Domain names are purchased and registered through domain name registrars. There are many different domain name registrars, but all of them use the same global DNS database.
Domain names work by translating the human-readable domain name into a machine-readable IP address. When a user types a domain name into their browser, their computer sends a request to the DNS server for that domain. The DNS server then looks up the corresponding IP address and sends it back to the computer.