What is a domain name?

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What is a domain name? 2019-01-01T15:04:59+00:00

A domain name is a name of your website. The name must be catchy, short and unique. Domain name also represents your company brand. In order to secure a domain name, you need to register through a domain registrar. Domain registrar is a company that registers your domain name or a place where you can register your website name.

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Domain name extensions

Domain name extensions are also called “Top Level Domain – TLD”. For example, Google.com is a domain name and its extension is com. All domains end with extensions and here are the examples .org, .info, .com, or .co.uk. Other examples  of TLD include .my, .fr, .mobi, .uk, .tv and .edu.

While most of these TLDs are available for public registration, there are some strict regulations on certain domain registrations. The registration of a country code TLD such as .fr are restricted for the citizens of France and cyber laws and local regulations govern their activities.

Also, come extensions represent certain organisations. Top Level Domain extensions such as .biz are for businesses and .edu are for education, which includes colleges, universities and schools.

Country code top level domain

Below are examples of country top level domain extensions:

  • ca
  • au
  • uk
  • za
  • nz
  • fr
  • za

Domain vs sub-domain

Take Operamini.com for example. Opera.com is a domain and uk.operamini.com is a sub-domain. A domain must be unique and there must be one single Opera.com. All domains are registered with domain registrars while sub-domains can be added on top of the domain as long as the web hosting package provides it. Most sub-domains fall under the root domain directory and are normally used to arrange your website content in different categories or languages.

Breakdown of domain name

Website Domain Name Subdomain TLD ccTLD
Operamini.com Operamini .com
News.operamini.com Operamini news .com
Operamini.co.uk Operamini .co.uk

 

WhoIs Data – domain name

Every domain has information that can be accessed by the public. This information can include the owner’s information such as names, address, contact number, domain registration, email address, hosting provider and expire date. All this information is checked via “WhoIs record”.

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) requires all the website owners to make this information available on WHOIS records. Anyone will be able to see contact information when they use WhoIs lookup tool on the web. If someone is interested in knowing the website owner and when it was registered, they use WHOIS online.

Domain Name Privacy

You can use domain name privacy if you don’t want people to find your website information on WHOIS. This is done through a proxy server. Your personal information such as names, contact numbers, email address, web hosting provider etc is hidden from public. In order for your domain information to be unavailable, you will need to pay the web-host a certain fee. This will remove threat by submitting general information to the database.

Your domain name privacy is very important because some people might use the information against you. Anyone including stalkers, hackers, identity thieves and scammers may use your personal information. Companies that are not ethical tend to check your domain expiry date and make sure they send emails for renewals in an attempt to steal your domain. Email and snail scammers use WHOIS to contact web owners.

How domain registration works

It is important to know how to go about and register a domain name. Follow these steps to register a domain name:

  1. Come up with a domain name.
  2. Come with a unique, catchy and a short name that is not taken by other people. This name must represent your brand.
  3. Search online registrars on the internet.
  4. Search the domain name to see if is available for registration. If is taken, think of another domain name.
  5. Sign up with the registrar who will help you register your domain.
  6. Pay a registration fee using your credit card or PayPal.
  7. Once you are done with payments, your registrar will confirm that you have successfully registered the domain.
  8. The final step is pointing the domain name to your web host. This is done by changing the DNS record.

Always remember you don’t have to put a keyword in your domain name. However, it’s a good idea to put it so that people will know immediately what your website is all about.

Domain name generator tools

We have identified tools for domain name suggestions that will help you come up with a good name. See the below tools:

  • Name Station
  • Dot-o-mator
  • Domainr
  • Wordoid

It’s always important to register multiple domain names as a company. This will also maximise traffic to your main website if you redirect the other sites to the main one.

If you register a global Domain Name, you give online users and customers an impression that you are a big company. .Org, .com, and .net are just a few examples of global Domain Names.

NB: It is important to enable the automatic domain renewal option to avoid losing your valuable domain when it expires. However, some web hosting companies send email notifications prior to the expiry date.

Domain FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

  1. What is a subdomain?

A subdomain is an extension of your domain name and they have their own FTP account details. They are treated as separate websites from the main domain.

  1. Can I register my domain name with another registrar and host with a different web hosting provider?

Yes, you can register with a different registrar and host with another web hosting company. All you will need to do is pointing the DNS to the new web hosting provider. However, registering your domain name and hosting it with the same company makes things a lot easier.

  1. Can I keep my domain name in case I switch to another web hosting provider?

Yes, your web hosting provider doesn’t own your domain name. They are just there to host it. Make sure you are listed in the admin contacts in the WHOIS directory. You can transfer your domain and files anytime and anywhere you want if you own it. Migrating a website to another host simply means you are changing the name servers. The rest is still the same. Your domain name doesn’t change.

  1. Is domain hosting a fixed cost or it depends on my hosting package?

Domain hosting is a fixed cost. You won’t be charged less or extra depending on your domain name. However, today hosting providers offer different hosting plans where one can choose from. They offer hosting services from as little as 5 pounds/pm to 50 pounds/pm.

  1. What happens when I register my domain with typos?

If you have registered your domain name with typos, you will have to wait until the domain name expires. Delete it and create a new one. It is important to check for spelling errors when creating a website name.

  1. Do I pay extra for having an SSL Certificate on my website?

Websites such as e-commerce and other transactional websites need to have an SSL Certificate to secure your website and client information. Some web hosting companies offer free SSL Certificates but in most packages, if you opt for a secured site, you will need to pay extra.

  1. Can I have dedicated or static IP address for my website?

This depends on what your website will entail. If your website is an e-commerce site, you will need a dedicated IP address to secure all your client information.

  1. How do I pay for my hosting?

Unlike back in the day, today you can use debit or credit card. Other common ways to pay for hosting is bank transfer, 2checkout, PayPal and many more. Make sure you choosing the best option for yourself.