history of domain names

This week marks a huge day in the domain name industry. Thirty seven years ago on March 15th, the world’s first .com domain on the Internet was registered, forever changing how we used the World Wide Web.

The Internet has become more than just a way to search on Google – the Internet now carries our e-commerce. More importantly, it allows us to connect with others across the globe. When you buy a domain, you join a huge network with others across the world. Nearly 60% of the population are Internet users – fellow entrepreneurs, small business owners, students, etc.

We use domain names every single day when using the Internet. But do you ever think of their creation? Why were they created? How were they made? Why are they still so important to us today? 

What is a Domain Name?

A domain name is a string of text that connects to a numeric IP address. An IP address is the ​​unique and complicated address that identifies a device on the internet. When an Internet user clicks on a domain name they are connected to the IP address via DNS and brought to a specific website. 

Put more simply, your domain is your digital web address. Essentially, your street address but online. It is what people type into their browser when they want to find your website. Your domain name is unique to you, once you purchase it and register it – it is yours – you just need to renew it each year.

How Are Domain Names Overseen?

Flashback over 40 years ago, IP addresses were assigned manually and involved contacting NIC via telephone during business hours. Today, this thought seems unimaginable. With today’s technology and systems like DNS, buying domains and translating IP addresses is as easy as opening your laptop. 

What is DNS anyway?

The Domain Name System is the decentralized naming database where domain names are located and translated into IP Addresses. DNS maps the name people type in to locate a website, and a computer uses that IP Address to locate the website. Think of a contact list on your cell phone – you click on the name of the person you want to call and your phone immediately connects you to their phone number. 

ICANN vs. Registry vs. Registrar 

There are many working parts to registering a domain name. So, who does what?

ICANN, or The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, is a non-profit responsible for overseeing domain names, IP Addresses and the entire domain name system. Essentially, ICANN ensures that wherever you are on the globe, you receive the same search results on the Internet.

A registry is the entity responsible for top level domain names, TLD’s. A registry creates TLD’s (ex. .com, .net, .org, etc.) as well as the rules and regulations that come with owning a domain name.

A registrar is an organization accredited to sell domain names to the public. The registrar handles the reservation of domain names as well as the assignment of IP addresses for those domain names.

What Was The First Domain Registered?

The first .com domain registered was Symbolics.com. This domain was registered in Cambridge, Massachusetts on March 15th, 1985 by the computer software company, Symbolics Inc. The company was founded at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab. 

Although this was actually not the first domain name ever created. That would be Nordu.net, which was used as an identifier for the first root server – nic.nordu.net. Symbolics.com was still the first domain to ever be registered through the DNS, or Domain Name System. 

In 1985, the Internet was a noncommercial medium used more as a tool for academia or the government. The average person did not have as much use for it. In 1986, domain name registration went public. By 1996, Google.com was born. Today, over 367 million domains are registered around the world. 

So much has changed on the Internet over the past forty years. One thing is for certain, the Internet connects us, and domains help with that.

Ready to Acquire a Premium Domain?

Interested in acquiring a premium domain name for your business? Want to know what your other options are? Contact our domain brokerage for a free consultation!

Our team at Saw.com specialize in the acquisition of digital assets, and have over twenty years of experience in the industry. Our domain brokers are experts in domain acquisition, appraisal, branding, brand protection, portfolio management services and more. We pride ourselves in our transparency and passion to help you reach your goals. 

At Saw.com, our mission is to help you be seen online. If you are interested in speaking with an expert from our domain brokerage service about buying a domain, contact us! Our domain brokers would love to speak with you!