Parts of a Domain Name

My Name is URL

When we are using a web browser to navigate the Internet, we can change the hypertext document we’ve accessed by typing into the address bar or location bar featured towards the top of the page. The sum of the material typed in here is called a URL, which is an acronym for  Uniform Resource Locator, popularly (and incorrectly) called a “web address.”

Part, but only part, of what we type in the address bar is a domain name. The first part of the URL is inevitably one of two schemes:

  • http – which is said aloud as, “aitch tee tee pee.” This is the abbreviation for Hypertext Transfer Protocol.
  • On a secure website, the URL will begin with https
  • Following either of these schemes with a colon (:) creates a URI scheme, or Uniform Resource Identifier scheme.

The next part of the URL is the hierarchical part. It begins with a double forward slash (//). The net result of the URL so far is:

http:// or https://

which is said as, “aitch tee tee pee colon slash slash” or “”aitch tee tee pee ess colon slash slash.”

The Other Dubya

Following the double forward slash, comes the domain name. Like Gaul, it is divided into three (and sometimes more) parts. The domain name may (or may not) include a prefix, the most common of which is the WWW prefix, which stands for World Wide Web. This prefix is “formally” pronounced “double you, double you, double you,” but may be shortened. It is an optional part of a domain name, and may be supplied by a browser when a URL without it isn’t found. Alternatives to the WWW prefix are ftp or news orsecure or mail.

Following the prefix, comes any subdomain name that might be used. The subdomain is a subset of the registered domain, such as a section of the website in a particular language or a subcategory of the topics covered on the site. The subdomain appears between the prefix, if there is one, and the registered domain name.

The registered domain is actually a second-level domain. It is one of many second-level domains of a specific top-level domain TLD, like .com, .net. .gov .edu, etc., which is the last item in the domain name, and separated from it by  a period or “dot,” which is how it is pronounced when a URL or domain name is being read. Some of the TLD’s are pronounced as if a word (com, net, gov, etc.), but edu is usually spelled. So “” is pronounced “aitch tee tee pee colon slash slash amazon dot com.”

Domain Names and E-mail

E-mail addresses characteristically consist of three parts: the local-part, which is often a username, the @ symbol, and a domain-part, which is often a host name or a registered domain name.

The Name, the Whole Name, and Nothing But the Name

Businesses with a web-only presence may, but do not always, use their domain name as their dba, and this is one case in which you will see the domain name standing by itself. does. Paypal does not.