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Monday, January 2

What is a Domain, and Why should you have one.

What is a Domain and Why should you have one.

Why do people live in homeless shelters online?

If given the choice most people would prefer the comforts of their own space, as opposed to someone else’s; so, why are so many people comfortable living in someone else’s domain? For example: Fb, Ig, TikTok, etc. these are all sites that are free for anyone to open an account and exist online, in someone else’s Domain? Not all people choose homeless shelters, or free websites; some rent and pay subscriptions, like HOA’s on a condo, with sites like LinkedIn, WordPress, or GoDaddy for example. Just like people aspire to own a home, having a domain and existing on your own website should also be something everyone can attain, not only for business, or tech savvy folks, but everyone.

How and why the Internet was created?

To understand what a domain is we must understand why and where it exists.

In the 1960’s government researchers wanted to share their information with one another, however computers at the time were immobile, weighing upwards of 16000lbs. If researchers wanted to access information held in one of these computers, they would have to travel to them or send and review information on magnetic tape via snail mail.

With the Cold War, the race to space, and Soviet Union’s successful satellite Sputnik; The U.S. Defense Department was pushed to consider ways information stored in these immobile computers, might be accessed even after a nuclear attack.

The first network of computers set up was known as ARPANET (Advanced Research Project Agency Network) along with the Data Defense Network ran by the U.S. Defense Department. Although, these networks would be beneficial, they were limited to the agencies who could afford academic or government contracts. In today’s context you had to have a computer, connected to one of the only available networks that paid for access to the information sharing system. This inequitable access to technology and information, would lead to independent networks. Each network being created was like its own country in the sense that they had their own protocols and ways of communicating creating a kind of, Tower of Babble.

Uniting the Intranetworks of America and the Birth of the Internet.

The early sharing system was run through Stanford Research Institute, now known as SRI international. SRI would receive host files that they would assign a numerical address online; and a registry of these numbers was created. As technology advanced and computers got smaller, setting up internal sharing networks became more affordable, companies like General Electric and Remington-rand were one of the first to have computers using them for things like proprietary research and payroll calculations. More networks meant more host files, which in turn created more numbers to be registered and a centralized system was needed.

On January 1, 1983 the Internet was born, now all computers with access to the internet would communicate under universal communication protocols. These are known as Transmission/Transfer Control Protocol and Internetwork Protocol (TCP/IP), this coincided with the DNS (Domain Name System), which assigns IP addresses to domain names. If the Internet was a Post Office and you wanted to send information to someone, you first must pick the box or envelope to send that information in, this is the Transmission control protocol, it communicates how packets of data are sent over the Internet. A Domain name is like the street name on the package, and the IP is your numerical address telling the receiver who sent the package.

Making the streets safer for travelers online.

In 1991 the TCP standard became HTTP (hypertext transfer protocol) which is akin to a basic white envelope, used for basic or general information sharing online. Then in 1997, HTTPS (hypertext transfer protocol secure), was created to transmit sensitive information or to prevent government censorship, by sending packets using encryption; imagine this is like certified mail requiring a signature.

Don’t get Lost on the Information Highway

A domain name provides a unique identity to an IP numerical location online. Imagine a domain name is what you call your home; for example, “The Smiths,” but when people put in “The Smiths” in a GPS, there is a numerical location for that name.  It will have the home address numbers, street name, suite or apt., city, state, country, zip. Just like a mailing address there are levels to domain names and locations on the Intranet.

In 1985 there was only a few top-level domains, “.com” and “.edu” which are now considered generic (gTLDs). As of 1998, ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, manages the development and architecture of domain names and spaces. As of June 2020 there were over 1,514 TLDs (Top level Domains) such as; .guru, .tips, .club, .life, and many more according to ICANN reports.

TLD or Top-level domains today give the individual the ability to be specific about what their domain provides and the type of information sharing that will take place; ex. If my domain uses “.plumbing” safe to say my site is about plumbing.   Next is the SLD (second/sub level domain) like Facebook or Google, they are located left of the “TDL” and are the Brand of the  Left of the SLD, is the Subdomain, most are familiar with the generic “www.”, which stands for world wide web. Other familiar subdomains are “shop.” “help.”or “info.” A simpler way to think of this is like giving the names to bedrooms in “The Smiths” home. Having a Domain is not so much like having a house, but more like buying a condominium. You never own the land it is on, you have HOA’s, must follow guidelines and pay fees, to “live” in a space that provides you a numerical address.

What’s your URL?

A domain is not to be confused with a uniform resource identifier (URL). A URL is how sites give you a space in their “shelter”; for example,  Like homeless shelters, having a mass amount of people without having the proper infostructure, can be dangerous or even deadly. “Social sites” popped up giving out urls, collecting people’s algorithms but, without necessarily having the proper guidelines for care and safety. The lack of oversight has been dangerous for many people, young and old. A “social site” will give you a space in the “master’s domain,” but everything you post is owned by the “Master” not the individual.

From Homeless Online to Housed in your Domain.

Homeownership is hard. Finding land, with a house, where you want to live may not be possible for everyone. The same can be said for domains, not everyone will have one, but it won’t be for lack of space, more for lack of knowledge. Anyone or anything can exist anywhere, in time, and space when you have your own domain online.

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