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A domain is an authority within the internet that controls its own resources. Its "domain name" is a way to address this authority as part of the hierarchy in a URL - usually the most memorable part of it, for instance a brand name.

A fully qualified domain name (FQDN) contains all necessary parts to look up this authority by name unambigously using the DNS system of the internet.

For example, in "developer.mozilla.org":

  1. "org" is called a top-level domain. They are registered as an internet standard by the IANA . Here, "org" means "organization" which is defined in a top-level domain registry.
  2. "mozilla" is the domain. If you like to own a domain you have to register it with one of the many registrars who are allowed to do so with a top-level domain registry.
  3. "developer" is a "sub-domain", something you as the owner of a domain may define yourself. Many owners choose to have a subdomain "www" to point to their World_Wide_Web resource, but that's not required (and has even fallen somewhat out of favor).

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