What is a domain name? If you are asking this question then you are at the right place. Most of the people, new to web business find the concept of domain name little bit confusing. Let’s assume a scenario that you want to start a website.
A domain name is your website’s address on the internet. It’s what people type in web browsers such as www.youtube.com or www.apple.com.
It’s the human-readable name of the website that viewers around the world use to find your website.
A domain includes everything that goes right after the protocol sign https:// and ends with an extension such as .com or .org.
Here the domain name would be mydomain.com.
The internet is a very powerful place to share your voice, knowledge, and skills with the world. And the best way to brand yourself online is through your own website.
A lot of companies nowadays offer domain registration services. A notable example of such companies is WordPress.com which also allows you start your website with ease. Learn more about what is WordPress.
We highly recommend that you get yourself a niche specific or personal domain. As that would make sense for you if you’re planning to create a website.
Such domains give you more freedom and control over what goes on your website.
How do Domains Work?
Domain names are basically your websites exact address. They work Domain Name System (DNS) which is similar to an address book,
The main directory of all the Internets domains and their Internet protocol (IP) addresses.
Whenever someone visits your website, the DNS translates the domain name into its IPv4 or IPv6 address of the host on which the website is stored. The host then serves the website / resource using Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP).
This system is very significant as it makes convenient for humans to remember web addresses rather than memorizing IP addresses.
Similarly, When you type our domain name which is wpsupportdesk.com the DNS tries to resolve the name to its IPv4 address, which is 18.104.22.168.
Advantages of a Domain Name
Here is how having a personal domain name can really make a difference for your website.
- Gives a strong professional first impression
- Helps you define your brand
- Makes your website easy to remember
- Search engines love it
- Gives your website more exposure.
What are Domain Extensions?
Domain names consists of two parts i.e. the name of your website and the extension. For example, if your website’s address is myexmpledomain.com then myexampledomain is the name of your website and com is the extension of the domain. Similarly, if your domain name is myexampledomain.co.uk then your website’s name is myexampledomain, co is second level domain extension while uk is your top level domain extension.
While browsing the internet you might have come across different domain extensions. Among all those different extensions .com is a safe call and so far the most popular domain extension. If you have made up your mind about a specific domain name and it is unavailable with .com you can always go with a different extension.
Top-Level Domains (TLD)
In the Internet hierarchy of domains, these extensions fall on the highest level that are present in DNS root zone of Domain Name System. A top-level domain is the last level of every fully qualified domain name (FQDN). Top-Level Domains or TLDs are further classified in following categories:
- Generic Top- Level Domains (gTLD)
- Country Code Top- Level Domain(ccTLD)
Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLD)
Generic top-level domains (gTLDs) are one of the categories of top-level domains (TLDs) maintained by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) for use in the Domain Name System of the Internet. Most commonly used domain extensions includes .com, .net, .org, .edu, .gov, and .info etc.
gTLDs can be registered by anyone from anywhere around the globe except for some special domains such as .gov and .mil.
These domain extensions can help you define your website and here is what they stand for:
- .com is short for commercial
- .net is short for network
- .org Stands for organization
- .edu stands for education
- .gov means governmental website
- .mil shorthand for military
This is how by selecting the right domain extensions helps you define your brand.
Country code top-level domains (ccTLD)
These are a two-letter domain that defines your geographical locations such as .uk or .cn
Initially, only residents of that country were allowed to register to their ccTLD, but now many countries allow you to register to their ccTLD even if you don’t live within their geographical boundaries.
This shows the top ccTLDs registered on the around the world.
Choosing the Right Domain Name
As domain name is address of your website, it should be treated like your house address. Before you move into a place, you make sure that it suits your need, you check out the neighborhood and things like that. Similar is the case with your web domain, it’s your online address. And before you get one you must have sufficient knowledge about it so that you can make a well thought out and informed decision.
You must keep the nature of your website in mind while exploring your options.
If you have a domain name in mind, you should better hurry and get it registered. As thousands of domains are registered every day. The chances are if you delay it, someone else might get that particular domain name registered before you do.
Domains that Stands Out
You can see that there are a lot of different types of the domains from which you can choose. All this information may get a little overwhelming to digest at once so we have narrowed it down to three domain extensions that stand out.
The .COM Domains is known as the king of domains or Top Level Domains (TLDs). They are also the most popular of all domains
Next, we would suggest that you go for a Country Specific Domains such as . US, .CO.UK or .AUS. Some international chains such as McDonald’s use these for their country-specific websites. Finally, going for an Industry Level Domains such as .Consultant & .photography would help you to define your brand and get SEO ranking for your business.
How to Register a Domain Name
Once you have decided the perfect domain name and extension for your website, the registration phase is not that difficult.
Choosing Web Hosting Service
As we have already explained that DNS resolves domain name to your host. So to setup your website one of the first things you might want to consider is choosing a good hosting company. Learn more about different website hosting companies and figure out which one is best for you.
Most of the website hosting companies can help you get a domain while others such as Bluehost and offer free domain names for the first year.
Choosing Domain Registrar
There plenty of good domain registrars. It would not any justice to mention only one but since this article is about domain names. So we have chosen Godaddy & Domain.com to explain registration part. Nearly all of good domain registrars provides almost similar process to register domain. Here is the list of most popular domain registrars:
Registering a Domain Name with GoDaddy
We have used GoDaddy to register our domains. They have a simple procedure which we think anyone can complete easily.
First, make sure that the domain you want to register is available by searching it in their search option.
Be creative and open-minded while doing so as you might not get the exact domain that you have in mind. And if this is the case they will ask you o try again.
Be innovative and just keep trying!
If the domain is available, you will see the “add to cart” button
Second, Before you do that you can select the top level extension you want with your domain.
Third, Once you have finalized your name with its an extension, add it to your cart and proceed with the billing.
Now your domain is registered, you can now either park it (if you don’t have a website) or link it with your website by adding your nameservers.
Registering a Domain Name with Domain.com
Step 1: Go to Domain.com, type your desired domain here and hit search.
Step 2: If that domain is available it will give you an add to cart option, otherwise it will show you other similar domain names that are available.
We used the domain name “mywpdomain.com” which was available.
Next, we add the domain to our cart.
Step 3: If you are interested you have the option to select the Domain Privacy Protection, it will cost you another $8.99/Y. Again it’s your choice, you can untick it if you’re not interested.
Step 4: Next you select for how long you want to register the domain. From the drop down, select the number of years.
The default option is set to 2 years, which is the minimum that we suggest you go for. For a serious business website, its best you register for a longer period.
Step 5: Click on Proceed to billing. Here they will ask for the standard information required for billing. Fill out the form to complete the registration.
You can ask your domain registrar to park your domain temporarily. Which simply means that you have reserved that particular domain name until you create your own website for it.
Linking Your Domain Name To Your Hosting Account
After your website is created or at-least you have arranged hosting for your domain. You will have to link your domain with your host. To link your domain name with your host you are going to need name servers of your host. If you don’t already have name servers then you can create your own custom name servers. Most of the domain registrars such as godaddy and name cheap allow you to create your own name servers using glue records.
You are going to need at-least two name servers for example ns1.mywpdomain.com or ns2.mywpdomain.com. To have your own custom name servers registered you must have at-least one public IPv4 address. Although, you can use your host’s IP addresses to create your glue records but we do not recommend this procedure. The reason of rejecting the idea of using host’s IP addresses is that host may change their IP address in future. So you will have to change glue records as soon as your host update’s its IP addresses. Failing to do so will result in down time.
We suggest you to use the name servers provided by your hosting company. After sorting out name server problems. You need to login to your account created by your Domain Registrar on time of domain registration. Now find name server settings. In-case of Godaddy you can follow steps provided below:
- Go to the DNS Management page.
- On the DNS Management page, under Nameservers, click Change.
- Under Choose your new nameserver type, select Custom.
- Enter the custom nameservers your hosting provider gave you and click Save.
Don’t Forget to Renew your Domain Name!
When people register domains, they generally do it for a period of 2 years, some may do it for a longer term.
But no matter the term you chose, you’re going to have to renew it after that period is over.
It’s very important that you do this because if you miss it for some reason, your website will go offline. In-case of hover.com, after the period of 75 days your domain will be put up on sale again and someone else will most likely buy it.
Some of the domain registrars have the option of automatic renewal, which is the safest option that you have. But for this, you’ll have to make sure that you keep your payment information up-to-date.
If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, the second best option you have is to set up a reminder on your phones or calendar to renew your domain before it’s term ends.
To sum it up, a domain name is the name of your website as well as your online address.
Each website out there has a unique domain name which makes it possible to find it.
We highly recommend that you must own your own domain name instead of your developer or agency.
In conclusion, having a good registered domain can make a world of a difference for you and your website and in order to do so, you must be able to make a well-informed decision.
We hope that this post gives you all the answers that you were looking for. And are now ready to register your domain yourself. Leave a comment on your questions or thoughts.
Changing Name Servers Godaddy:
Domain Life Cycle: