What is a Domain Name?

By | June 15, 2020

What is a domain name?

Domain Name is the ” common ” name of a website. This is what makes it easier for users to remember the address of a site and access.

Internet address, domain name, IP address … let’s take a look at these terms to see more clearly and understand how it works.


Technical definition

The domain name is in a way the visible part of a website.

Each computer connected to the Internet has an IP address made up of a series of numbers allowing it to be identified. For convenience and ease of use, it was decided to match each IP address with a different name: the domain name. The correspondence between the domain name and the IP address is ensured by the DNS (Domain Name System).

In this way, when entering the address of a site in its Internet browser (such as www.google.fr), the DNS will find out which IP address corresponds to the name, find its location in the network and report the information.

The domain name is used for all Internet-related services: website hosting, email addresses, etc.

The structure of a domain name

A domain name is composed:

  • a name (composed of a set of alphanumeric characters), and
  • with a suffix (.com, .fr, .eu, .org…).

Its structure is hierarchical and allows the definition of sub-domain (s).

The name most often corresponds to the name of a brand, a company, an association, a person. It can consist of a series of characters (from A to Z and from 0 to 9) and a dash.

The choice of the domain name is generally free … as long as it does not already exist! This is the famous “first come, first served” rule.

The suffix, also commonly called the domain name extension, corresponds to the classification of the domain.

There are thus several “categories” of domains, depending on their geographic origin (.fr, .es, .it, .us…) or their activity (.com for salesperson, .asso for association, .org for organizations to non-profit title…).

Check more:

Towards a legal definition?

If the domain name can protect your brand or your identity, this does not mean that it is enough to register domain names containing the name of a famous brand. or competing to give you rights on it.

The domain name does not replace or amount to an industrial property title properly speaking, but its registration and use confer rights on its holder.

French intellectual property law does not provide precise rules on the question of domain names, their legal status is built up as the case law progresses.

This is why, in order to avoid possible conflicts with third parties, economic intelligence specialists advise companies with trademarks to register domain names corresponding to the names of their brands or their company. This in order to avoid the misuse of the identity of a brand, a company, or any other legal (or physical) person.

However, the legislation in this area has tightened in recent years and it is common for the court to prove that the ” cybersquatter ” is wrong, for the benefit of the owner of the trademark registered with the INPI (National Institute of Industrial Property).


This is what makes it easy to identify a website. It is composed of a name and its extension domain, depending on its activity.

This is essential to the identity of any brand, company, legal or physical person, wishing to position themselves on the Internet.

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