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What are domain names and IP addresses?

Domain names are how the internet labels computers in a way that people can understand.

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Each computer on the internet has a unique 32 bit number called an IP (Internet Protocol) address, usually represented as 4 numbers from 0 to 255. For example, yours is {client_ip_address}.

However, it's hard for people to remember numbers like this, so a set of computer protocols called the domain name system was created that map names (like "selfpromotion.com") to the numbers. There are many registrars around the net that organize the database of all of the domain names.

If you're doing business on the net, it's a good idea to have your own domain name for several reasons.

1) If you move your computers or webhosting to a new provider, you can do so without changing your address on the internet. Even if your IP address changes, you're still "xyz.com" or whatever.

2) Who would you rather do business with -- www.specialwidgets.com or www.geocities.com/specialwidgets? Having a domain name gives you a more businesslike appearance

3) At $20 - 30 a year, it's a trivial expense.

Check out my cool domain names page and the domain name sniffer tool for more information on domain names and links to my favorite registrars and domain name information sources.

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