Domain Names 101
If you’re in the market for a new website then it is worth it to invest some time thinking about your domain name. A domain name acts like your website’s address on the Internet, and if you own a business, having your own domain gives you credibility and establishes your brand.
The Technical Stuff
For the most part, everyone knows that when you type a domain name into the address bar on your browser then you are directed to a website. A domain acts as the memorable address for an IP addresses, which are a series of numbers that identify each server where a website lives. Domain names are thought of as an easy way for us, as humans, to access the servers that hold the websites we want to visit. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) oversees the development of domains and authorizes Registrars, through which domain names may be registered and transferred. The most widely known top-level-domain (TLD) extensions include:
COM – commercial businesses
ORG – nonprofit organizations
EDU – educational institutions
GOV – government agencies
MIL – military
Domains using the .COM extension are definitely the most popular and going fast. However, there are several dozen domain extensions that are available for you to choose from, including .NET, .BIZ, .INFO, .TV and country code extensions. Additionally, multiple domain names can be associated with the same website through the use of domain name forwarding and add-ons. If you can’t decide, buy them all!
What’s in a Name?
It’s not always an easy process to think up the perfect domain name for your website, but if you have an existing product, business or trademark name then you’re already headed in the right direction. Start by mixing and matching different keywords that relate to your target market or audiences. You can combine any amount of words, letters or numbers, and even use a hyphen (“-”) to separate words if you prefer. All other special characters and symbols are not allowed in your domain name. Keep it simple. Ideally, your domain name is unique, but also easy for visitors to access and remember. Once you have a general idea for your domain name then feel free to explore several options for domain extensions – all at a variety of costs.
Where to Start
Your first step is to do a little bit of searching for domain names, in hopes that the one you want is available. A WHOIS tool will provide you with information regarding any domain and will help you determine if it is available for registration. Remember that you have the option to pick from several different domain extensions if the one you want already appears to be registered.
The purchase of a domain name does not include the space in which you will host your actual website files – this is a separate service known as Website Hosting. A domain, however, does give you the opportunity to have your own private e-mail address at your website, such as firstname.lastname@example.org. Like Build Your Online, there are several companies that are able to provide you with domain name registration, website hosting, and e-mail services all in one package. In the long run, it is preferable to purchase all of these services from one company in order to have all aspects of your website running under the same roof. Communication and technical support will become less of a headache.
A domain name is your address on the Internet that points visitors to your website.
Common domains extensions available to the public are .COM, .ORG, .NET, .TV, .BIZ, .INFO and country code domains.
Use keywords containing numbers, letters, or hyphens. Specials characters are not allowed.
Use a WHOIS tool to lookup domain names and see if they are available.
Use a Registrar to register as many domain names as you want for as long as you want.
A domain does not include website hosting or e-mail services. These are separate services, but are usually available from the same company.
Have any questions about obtaining a domain for your business?
Know what domain you want and now need a website?