A domain name is a unique address on the Internet that identifies computers and networks. It works as a part of the Domain Name System through which a user can assign an alphanumerical designation to an IP address, making it easier to remember and use.
A domain name consists of top-level and second-level domain designations. Some networks and websites use country codes, such as .us, .ca or .cn, in addition to top-level domains to designate the country of origin. To add a specific country code to the domain name, companies typically have to be incorporated in that country. As of 2015, there are over 130 country codes available. Companies and networks have to register and maintain multiple top-level domains that they reserve to prevent other entities from using the same second-level domain.
Second-level domain designations are typically based on keywords that are related to the brand or the type of content hosted on the network. In the United States, domain names are intellectual property, making it necessary to use unique designations or risk being held liable for damages for infringing a trademark. For a domain name to direct users to a specific website, it must be connected to the IP address of the computer that is hosting the website via a DNS management tool.