Domain Name Syntax

A domain name consists of one or more parts, technically called labels, that are conventionally concatenated, and delimited by dots, such as
  • The right-most label conveys the top-level domain; for example, the domain name belongs to the top-level domain com.
  • The hierarchy of domains descends from the right to the left label in the name; each label to the left specifies a subdivision, or subdomain of the domain to the right. For example: the label example specifies a node as a subdomain of the com domain, and www is a label to create, a subdomain of This tree of labels may consist of 127 levels. Each label may contain from 1 to 63 octets. The empty label is reserved for the root node. The full domain name may not exceed a total length of 255 characters. In practice, some domain registries may have shorter limits.
  • A hostname is a domain name that has at least one associated IP address. For example, the domain names are also hostnames, whereas the com domain is not. However, other top-level domains, particularly country code top-level domains, may indeed have an IP address, and if so, they are also hostnames.
  • Hostnames impose restrictions on the characters allowed in the corresponding domain name. A valid hostname is also a valid domain name, but a valid domain name may not necessarily be valid as a hostname.

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