The Ultimate Guide to Understanding the Difference Between URL and Domain, Hostripples Web Hosting

The Ultimate Guide to Understanding the Difference Between URL and Domain

It is all about the technical world and everything around it. Moreover, the internet has also become an integral part of our daily lives. It collaborates with activities like browsing websites, accessing resources, or sharing information, understanding the fundamentals of the online landscape is crucial.

Two main factors that often gain the limelight in web-related discussions are URLs and Domains. Understanding the between them is important for anyone using the internet to effectively browse and locate the web content.  

A domain acts for the website’s unique identity, whereas a URL acts to serve as a precise address to access individual resources within the website. With these two terminologies, you can easily navigate the internet to avail maximum information available at your fingertips.

The main purpose of this article is to offer a clear view between URL and domain, highlighting the significance and how they work together to make it possible for users to access specific web resources.

What is a URL?

The Ultimate Guide to Understanding the Difference Between URL and Domain, Hostripples Web Hosting

A URL, which stands for Uniform Resource Locator, is essentially the address of a specific resource on the internet. It’s like a unique identification code that tells your web browser exactly where to find a webpage, image, video, or any other data online. Just like you use an address to find a specific house on a street, a URL helps your browser locate the exact resource you’re looking for on the vast web.

Specific page or file URLs

A URL can point to a specific webpage within a website, not just the homepage. Here’s how URLs work for specific pages and files:

  • Folders and Files: Think of a website like a big filing cabinet. The main website address (like is like the cabinet itself. URLs can include additional information to specify folders and files within that website, like subfolders in a filing cabinet. For instance, the URL for the Wikipedia article on cats might look something like
  • Different Pages: Many websites have multiple pages, like articles, product listings, or contact forms. The additional info in the URL after the main website address specifies which page to load. For example, a news website might have a URL for its homepage and separate URLs for each news story.

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URL Anchors and Parameters

URLs are made up of several parts that work together to pinpoint a specific resource. Below is the explanation of URL anchors and parameters:

1. URL Anchors (Bookmark Links):

  • Anchors, also known as bookmark links, are used to link to a specific location within a webpage itself.
  • They are denoted by a “#” symbol followed by the name (ID) of an element on the webpage.
  • Clicking a link with an anchor will jump the browser window to the designated section of the page.
  • Anchors are useful for long web pages with headings or specific content areas.


Imagine a webpage with a long article divided into different sections, each with a unique ID. You could create links with anchors like:

2. URL Parameters:

  • Parameters are used to pass information to a web server or script.
  • They come after a question mark (“?”) in the URL and include name-value pairs separated by ampersands (“&”)
  • The server-side code (like PHP, and Python) can access this information and use it to dynamically generate content or perform actions.


A product search on an e-commerce site might use parameters like:

Key Differences:

  • Function: Anchors control what part of the page is displayed, while parameters provide information to the server.
  • Impact on Page Load: Anchors typically don’t reload the page, while parameters might cause the server to generate a new version of the content.
  • Sharing Links: Anchors can be useful for sharing specific sections of a webpage, while parameters are often used for searches or filtering that might not be relevant to everyone.

In some cases, you can combine anchors and parameters in the same URL, like jumping to a specific section of a search result page.

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What is a Domain Name?

A domain name is like an easily remembered address for a website. It’s the human-readable part of a URL that you type into your web browser to find a specific website.

How does Domain name work?

Domain name works behind the scenes to translate user-friendly website addresses into a language computer understand. Go through the process below:

You Enter a Domain Name: In your web browser’s address bar, you type a domain name like “”.

Browser Seeks Help: Your browser doesn’t inherently understand domain names. It needs to convert it into an IP address, a numerical code that identifies a specific computer on the internet.

DNS Takes Over: This is where the magic happens! The Domain Name System actually starts working. Think of it as a giant phonebook of the internet. It matches the domain names to their respective IP addresses.

DNS Lookup: Your browser contacts a DNS server, which can be your internet service provider’s (ISP) DNS server or a public one. The DNS server then questions other DNS servers till the time it finds the record for the domain name you typed.

IP Address Found: The DNS server sends the corresponding IP address back to your browser.

Browser Connects: Now that your browser has the IP address, it can establish a connection with the web server associated with that address.

Website Delivered: The web server sends the website’s content (files, images, code) back to your browser, and voila! You will identify the website on your screen.

The Key Players:

  • Domain Name: A user-friendly address that the user types in the browser.
  • Web Browser: The software you use to access websites (e.g., Chrome, Firefox).
  • DNS (Domain Name System): It translates domain names into IP addresses.
  • DNS Server: A computer that stores and provides information about domain names and their corresponding IP addresses.
  • IP Address: A unique numerical code that identifies a specific computer on the internet.
  • Web Server: The computer that stores the website’s files and delivers them to your browser.

This process happens very quickly in the background, so you don’t experience any delay while browsing websites. Domain names make the internet much more user-friendly by providing a memorable and easy-to-type way to access websites.

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Domain Name vs. URL: Key Differences

These two are the resources on the internet.  such as websites, their individual pages and files but there are also differences between them.

Domain Name

  • Think of it as: The address of a house. It’s a unique identifier that directs users to a specific website.
  • Format: Easy-to-remember text, like “” or “”.
  • Components:
    • Second-level domain: The name you choose (e.g., “Google”).
    • Top-level domain (TLD): The suffix like “.com”, “.org”, or “.net”.
  • Function: Maps to an IP address (a complex string of numbers) through the Domain Name System (DNS).

URL (Uniform Resource Locator)

Think of it as: The complete address, including the street number and house on a road. It indicates a specific web page or resource.     

Format: More detailed than a domain name, including protocol, domain name, and path.


  • Protocol: “http://” or “https://” indicating secure connection.
  • Domain Name: The website’s address (e.g., “”).
  • Path: Specifies the location of a specific file or page within the website (e.g., “/search”).
  • Function: The complete URL tells your browser exactly how to locate and display a specific web page.

In short:

  • A domain is the relative of the URL.
  • The domain name identifies a website, while the URL points to a specific page or resource within that website.

It’s time to Wrap up

Understanding the fundamental disparity between URL and domain is crucial for anyone to navigate the digital landscape. The URL serves as the complete web address, encompassing the domain and additional identifiers. Whereas, the domain is all about the particular location of a website.  

By grasping this disparity, users can navigate the web more effectively and comprehend the intricacies of various web addresses.

Embracing this understanding empowers individuals to make informed decisions and ensures a secure and efficient web experience. For further insights into the realm of web addresses and digital navigation, stay tuned for more informative and practical guides.

The Ultimate Guide to Understanding the Difference Between URL and Domain, Hostripples Web Hosting
Ekta Tripathi
A passionate Digital Marketing Ex and Content Writer working with Hostripples. I am passionate about writing blogs related to Information Technology and Digital Marketing. In my free time, I love to listen songs, spend time with my daughters and hang around social networking sites.