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Reference: Internet-Domain Names

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A Domain Name is a specific combination of letters and numbers separated by periods (commonly pronounced as the word "dot") that a particular Internet destination is identified as. This is the "common name" Web Users associate with a particular SiteTerm and, by extension, with a specific business or organization. By way of example, the Domain Name associated with the information you are currently reading is RIDGESTAR.COM.

The use of a Domain Name on the Web involves translating the common name into an Internet Protocol (IP) address using a mechanism known as Domain Name Service (DNS). To accomplish this, DNS processes the Domain Name from right to left with the "top level" domains being at the rightmost portion of the Domain Name. For RIDGESTAR.COM, the top level qualifier (the portion of the Domain Name to the right of the "last" period is "COM".)

To illustrate this further, consider the RidgeStar Site name closely by dividing it into 3 distinct portions divided by the dots, as follows:

WWW.RIDGESTAR.COM
     A Top Level Domain of COM identifies the address as being a Commercial establishment with a TLD of .com
A period (dot) separates the Top Level Domain from the distinct business within the TLD.
The second level portion of the name provides the identity of the company or organization. This uniquely identifies RidgeStar, a business that is involved with providing Internet Services.
A period (dot) here separates the Company or Organizational name from a specific processor or service within the Company
Identifies the specific machine and/or service within the company or organization. WWW is a common designation, meaning the World Wide Web service (typically servicing the Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP).

To illustrate this point, RidgeStar uses multiple services within RidgeStar each with it's own unique name, as follows:

DNS NamePurpose
www.RidgeStar.comHTTP (World Wide Web) service for web browsers
mail.RidgeStar.comSMTP (Mail) service for RidgeStar clientele
ftp.RidgeStar.comFile Transfer Protocol system

To our way of thinking, it would be silly to register RidgeStarMail.com, RidgeStarFTP.com or RidgeStarWWW.com, as these unique domain names are all intended to describe different services with RidgeStar.

Top Level Domains

The top level domains and the available values are managed by an organization known as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN->). Thus, the values that you can utilize for your own Top Level Domain on the public Internet should remain consistent with the standards published by ICANN.

For most RidgeStar customers, there are limited practical Top Level Domains to select amongst currently. These are:

TLDTypical use
.BIZAny Business or similar organization
.COMAny Commercial operation
.ORGNon-Profit or community organizations
.USSites located within the geographical United States

Registration in these Top Level Domains is managed by a variety of "Registrars" (we primarily use Network Solutions, Inc-> to manage the Domains we are responsible for). Other names (.MUSEUM, .NET, .MIL, .EDU, etc.) are not recommended for RidgeStar customers except in very specific situations. Contact your RidgeStar Account Representative if you believe one of these TLDs is appropriate for you.