Domains Terminology: A Guide to Understanding Key Terms and Concepts

A domain name is a critical component of any website, as it serves as the address for the site. However, there is a lot more to domains than simply choosing a name and registering it. Understanding domain terminology is essential for you to establish an online presence or manage your website's domain. In this article, we'll take a closer look at some of the key domain terminology you need to know.

Domain Name

A domain name is a unique address that identifies a website. Domain names appear in the address bar of your web browser linking to specific IP addresses.

Root Domain

A root domain is the domain name that you purchase from your domain provider. A root domain has a top-level domain (TLD) extension such as .com, .org, or .net, but it does not contain a prefix such as www. An example of a root domain is  . Other terms: base domain, top-level domain, and second-level domain.

Primary Domain

The primary domain of your online store is the domain name that appears in the address bar while customers browse your website. You have the option to use either your root domain or a subdomain as your main domain, but it's important to note that you can only have one main domain for your online store.

TLD (Top-level and second-level domains) and ccTLDs

The top-level domain and second-level domain are components of the root domain that give hierarchy to the domain structure. For example, in the root domain  , the top-level domain is .com and the second-level domain is shoplazza. There are also country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) that are specifically assigned to countries or territories, using two-letter country codes such as .uk for the United Kingdom, .ca for Canada, and .au for Australia.


A subdomain is a domain that is part of a root domain. It can be used to create separate sections of a website or to distinguish different services or products. For example, in the URL  ,   is the root domain and help. is the subdomain. You can use subdomains to organize your website and make it easier for visitors to find the information they want.


A subdirectory is a section of your main website. A subdirectory is defined by a / at the end of the domain name. For example, in the URL  /pricing is the subdirectory. A subdirectory is different from a subdomain because it's used mainly for organizing your website, while a subdomain can take you to an entirely different website. Examples of subdirectories on your online store are /collections, /products, and /pages. You can't edit subdirectory names. Regardless of what domain you're using, the subdirectory names remain the same.

Domain Provider

A domain provider is a company that registers your domain name for you. Typically, you purchase a domain on a subscription basis and you pay a regular fee to your domain provider to keep using your domain name. Other terms: domain registrar, domain host. Some of the popular domain registrars include GoDaddy, Namecheap, and

IP address

An IP address is a unique string of numbers that specifies the location of a computer or device on the internet and distinguishes it from other computers or devices. It is a series of numbers separated by periods, such as When you type a domain name into your web browser, the DNS system translates the domain name into the IP address associated with it. Other terms: Internet Protocol address.

DNS (Domain name system)

The Domain Name System (DNS) is a database of domain names. Every domain has its own DNS entry. Domain Name Systems organize domain names and translate them from words to numbers so you can visit a website without memorizing its IP address. You might need to change your DNS settings when you connect a third-party domain to your Shoplazza store. You can't change your DNS settings for your   domain name. Other terms: DNS records, DNS settings, resource records, DNS file zone.

A record

An address record, also known as a host record, is a DNS configuration that verifies if a domain name corresponds to a particular IP address. In this case, you want your A record to point to Shoplazza’s IP address. Other terms: Address record, host record.

CNAME record

A CNAME record is a DNS setting that points your subdomains to another domain name. They can also be used to make it easier to manage multiple domains that share the same content or IP address. In this case, you want your CNAME record to point to your Shoplazza-hosted domain by using  . Other terms: CNAME resource record, alias.

MX record

An MX record is a DNS setting that points a domain name to a mail server and is used to process emails through your custom domain. You can set up more than one MX record, and add a backup email address if you want to make sure that email messages reach you if your main email server is down. Other terms: Mail Exchange record, Mail eXchanger record, mail server record.

TXT record

A TXT record is a DNS setting. TXT records contain text information that can be used by services outside of your domain. For example, you might add a TXT record that a third-party service has given you to verify with them that you own the domain. Other terms: Text record.

CAA record

The CAA (Certification Authority Authorization) record is used to specify which certificate authorities are allowed to issue certificates for a domain. A certificate authority (CA) is a trusted entity that issues electronic documents that verify a digital entity's identity on the Internet. When a CA receives a certificate request for a domain, it checks the domain's CAA record to verify if it is authorized to issue the certificate. If the CA is not authorized, the certificate issuance is denied. This helps to prevent SSL/TLS certificate fraud and improve the security of online transactions.

TTL (Time to Live)

The Time to Live (TTL) value of your domain determines how frequently your DNS records are updated. All domain DNS records have a TTL value. For example, if a record has a TTL of 86400 seconds, it takes up to 24 hours to go into effect. Changing a record's TTL affects how long any subsequent change takes.

TLS/SSL certificate

A TLS certificate is a security protocol that creates a safe connection between a server and a browser, which keeps all connections to Shoplazza, including your own connections and your customers' connections. When your TLS certificate is activated, a padlock icon appears beside your online store's URL in the address bar. SSL is being replaced with TLS, and practically all SSL versions have been deemed obsolete due to documented security flaws. Other terms: Transport Layer Security, Secure Sockets Layer, SSL.

HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS)

The HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) is a web security mechanism that ensures that browsers only connect to your online store over a secure HTTPS connection. Using a secure connection prevents certain kinds of network attacks and helps ensure the safety of your information and your customers' information.

WHOIS Privacy

WHOIS  is a service you can use to look up information about the owner of a domain name. WHOIS privacy is a service that hides your domain information from a WHOIS lookup and replaces your contact information with   contact details. WHOIS privacy lets your personal contact information remain hidden from the public. You can purchase WHOIS privacy from your domain provider for an additional fee.


The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)  is a non-profit organization that governs and manages Domain Name Systems, IP address allocation, and other Internet protocol resources.

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