domain definition

Also see domain name.

In general, a domain is an area of control or a sphere of knowledge.

1) In computing and telecommunication in general, a domain is a sphere of knowledge identified by a name. Typically, the knowledge is a collection of facts about some program entities or a number of network points or addresses.

2) On the Internet, a domain consists of a set of network addresses. This domain is organized in levels. The top level identifies geographic or purpose commonality (for example, the nation that the domain covers or a category such as "commercial"). The second level identifies a unique place within the top level domain and is, in fact, equivalent to a unique address on the Internet (an IP address). Lower levels of domain may also be used.

Strictly speaking, in the Internet's domain name system (DNS), a domain is a name with which name server records are associated that describe subdomains or host. For example, "" could be a domain with records for "" and "," and so forth.

3) In Windows NT and Windows 2000, a domain is a set of network resources (applications, printers, and so forth) for a group of users. The user need only to log in to the domain to gain access to the resources, which may be located on a number of different servers in the network.

This was first published in April 2005

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