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Fully Qualified Domain Name: Definition, Length, & More!

If you just stumbled across the term “Fully Qualified Domain Name” (FQDN), it may have left you quite confused. But rest assured, you are in the right place to clear your doubts.

Anyone interested in websites, coding, or curious about the technicalities of the internet will need to understand what FQDN is.

In this article, we’ll go into the definition, length, and other important aspects of FQDNs. 

Keep reading!

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What is a Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN)?

What is a Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN)
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A Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) is a complete and specific web address that includes both the domain name and its hierarchical location within the Domain Name System (DNS). It provides the full path to a specific location on the internet.

For example, in the FQDN “www.example.com”:

“www” is the subdomain.

“example” is the second-level domain.

“com” is the top-level domain.

Together, they form a fully qualified domain name that uniquely identifies a specific location on the internet.

Examples of a Fully Qualified Domain Name

To further illustrate the concept of FQDNs, consider the following fully qualified domain names:

1. mail.google.com

This FQDN points to the mail server of the Google domain. The label “mail” specifies the host or server, while “google” represents the second-level domain. The top-level domain in this case is “com.”

2. shop.amazon.co.uk

In this example, “shop” identifies a specific section of the Amazon website, “amazon” is the domain name, and “co.uk” indicates that it is a website based in the United Kingdom.

A Fully Qualified Domain Name Can Contain How Many Characters?

In general, the maximum length for a Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) is 255 characters. However, it can vary depending on the specific domain name system (DNS) being used.

Note that this character limit includes the individual labels within the FQDN, separated by dots. Each label can contain up to 63 characters, and the dots used to separate the labels also count towards the 255-character limit.

Yes, 255 characters seems like a generous limit, but do well to keep your domain names shorter so that it will be more memorable and user-friendly.

FQDN vs Domain Name: What's the Difference?

A fully qualified domain name (FQDN) includes both the specific host name and its top-level domain (TLD), providing a complete and unique address for a resource on the internet. For example, “www.example.com” is an FQDN, while “example.com” is a domain name. 

The FQDN provides a more precise and detailed reference to a specific online location.

Are FQDN and URL the same?

An FQDN and a URL are not the same.

A Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) gives the full location of a resource on the internet. In contrast, a URL includes the FQDN and extra elements like the protocol (like HTTP or HTTPS), the pathway to a particular webpage or file, and any query parameters.

To put it simply, a URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is like a complete address that includes the street, city, and postal code, floor, apartment number, while an FQDN ends just at the postal code. It is important you know the difference between the two so that you don’t use the two interchangeably.

The two share things in common but they are not the same.

Learn in the next section when to use a FQDN.

When Do You Use an FQDN?

When Do You Use a Fully Qualified Domain Name
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Understanding when to use a Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) is important. You often use an FQDN when you need to identify the precise and complete location of a resource on the internet.

Here are a couple of common scenarios:

1. Network Administration

Consider network administration as the navigator of a busy city. The administrator acts like the traffic controller, managing the flow of information (traffic) between different locations (devices) to prevent congestion and ensure a smooth journey for everyone.

They set up the routes (configure servers), manage who can access certain areas (user permissions), and address any roadblocks (issues) that might arise.

Using tools like Fully Qualified Domain Names (FQDNs) is similar to having a detailed map, helping the navigator efficiently find and fix specific points of interest (servers) for a seamless and well-organized cityscape (network).

2. Network Configuration

You use a Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) in network configuration when you want to be super specific about where data is headed.

Think of it like addressing a letter with the recipient’s full address instead of just their name. For instance, if you have a server named “MainServer” in the domain “MyCompany,” using the FQDN would be like saying “MainServer.MyCompany” instead of just “MainServer.”

It ensures that your data takes the most direct route to the right destination, especially in larger networks where similar names might exist in different places.

3. Remote Access

A Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) is useful for remote access when you want to connect to a specific computer from far away, like accessing your work computer from home.

It’s like having a detailed address for your computer on the internet. Instead of a simple name, you use the complete one, making it clear and secure.

For example, if your work computer is called “WorkPC,” using the FQDN might look like “WorkPC.MyCompany.com.” This ensures a smooth and accurate connection.

4. DNS Resolution

When you want to find the precise location of a website or service on the internet you use the FQDN. It’s like using the full postal address instead of just the recipient’s name.

For instance, if you enter “blog.travelworld.net” in your browser, “blog” indicates the specific service, “travelworld” is the website name, and “net” is the domain type. By using the FQDN, the Domain Name System (DNS) accurately translates this user-friendly address into the correct computer-friendly IP address, ensuring you reach the exact blog you’re looking for.

5. Web Hosting

In the world of web hosting, FQDNs are used to differentiate between multiple websites hosted on the same server. Each website is assigned a unique FQDN, allowing the server to direct incoming requests to the appropriate website.

For instance, if your website is “MyAwesomeSite.com,” using the FQDN ensures that your web hosting service recognizes and displays your site accurately, this specificity also helps promote your website branding and SEO.

How to Find a Fully Qualified Domain Name?

How to Find a Fully Qualified Domain Name
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You can find a FQDN for your devices. If you use either Windows or macOS here is how to do it.

Finding the FQDN for Windows 11

1. Open the Command Prompt

Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box. Type “cmd” and press Enter to launch the Command Prompt.

2. Run the Command

In the Command Prompt, type “ipconfig /all” and press Enter. This command will display detailed information about your network configuration.

3. Locate the Host Name

Look for the entry labeled “Host Name” in the Command Prompt output. This represents the FQDN of your Windows 11 computer.

By following these steps, you’ll be able to find the FQDN for your Windows 11 computer and gain a better understanding of its network configuration.

Finding the FQDN for macOS

1. Open the Terminal

Launch the Terminal application on your macOS device. You can find it by navigating to “Applications” > “Utilities” > “Terminal.”

2. Run the Command

In the Terminal, type “hostname -f” (without quotes) and press Enter. This command will display the FQDN of your macOS computer.

3. View the FQDN

After running the command, the FQDN of your macOS computer will be displayed in the Terminal window.

By following these steps, you’ll be able to find the FQDN for your macOS computer and gain a better understanding of its network configuration.

What is a Fully Qualified Domain Name Subdomain?

What is a Fully Qualified Domain Name Subdomain
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Besides Fully Qualified Domain Names (FQDNs), there’s another term you might encounter: “subdomain.”

A subdomain is like a mini-website created by adding a prefix to a domain name, creating a new branch within the larger domain hierarchy.

To better understand this, let’s consider an example.

Suppose you have a website called “example.com.”, If you create a subdomain called “blog.example.com,” it becomes a separate space just for your blog. This way, you can organize and manage different parts of your website independently.

Subdomains are often helpful for creating distinct sections, like blogs or forums, within a larger website, allowing you to customize and manage each part more efficiently.

What is a Partially Qualified Domain Name (PQDN)?

A Partially Qualified Domain Name (PQDN) is a simplified way of naming devices within a local network or private environment.

Unlike the detailed names you see on the internet of Fully Qualified Domain Names or FQDNs, a PQDN has only one part and skips the top-level domain. 

This is useful for inside networks where you don’t need the full internet-style address. For instance, in your home network, a printer might just be named “printer” instead of the longer “printer.example.com.” 

It keeps things easy within the network while still letting devices communicate with each other effectively.

Takeaway

Knowing about Fully Qualified Domain Names (FQDNs) is important for anyone interested in the internet or IT careers. FQDNs act like internet addresses, helping you find web pages by converting them to the right code. They are vital for network tasks, SEO, and branding.

With the knowledge you’ve now gained, you’re better equipped to navigate the web and contribute to various aspects of the online world.

Piaff Dibota

Piaff brings a unique blend of creativity and expertise to the blogging world. Having worked as a content writer for multiple companies in different niches, he shares his blogging expertise through professional and engaging blog posts. 

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