"A Better Domain Name Will Lower Your Lifetime Marketing Costs"
(Frank Schilling - American Internet Investor)
I'm sure everyone has heard the word "Domain Name" at one time or the other. But you still trying to figure out what it exactly means. Well, in this blog I'm going to tell you what Domain Name means and what it's all about.
What is a Domain Name?
Many people sometimes confuse a Domain name with a Website. The two are completely different. In fact, to have a Website, you first need to have a Domain name.
It's like if the Website is your house, then the Domain would be your house address.
A Domain name is an address by which Internet users type in to access your website. To break it down in detail, the Internet is a huge network of different computers connected to one another through a network of cables, which allows for a flow of communications amongst them. Now, to identify each computer, a specific IP address is assigned to each one of them.
However, it became difficult to remember each and every IP address, as their numbers grew at an astronomical rate. And out of necessity, the Domain name was devised.
Let me explain with an example:
An IP address usually looks like this "220.127.116.11". Now imagine trying to remember all the thousands of IP address numbers for the respective websites. It's impossible. Well at least for most of us, it is.
Thereafter with the advent of the Domain name, this 18.104.22.168 now became a name called, for example, "newdomain.com".
I'll leave it to you to figure out which one is easier to remember and identify with easily.
A Domain name helps in remembering the website you're looking for because the name will correspond to the website. A Domain name can be a combination of letters and numbers and is used with an extension at the end of it, such as .com, .net, .org, .in, etc.
No two websites can have the same Domain name and you can buy as many Domain names as you want.
Why do I need a Domain Name?
Well, it's simple. If you're planning to have a website on the internet, you need to identify it with a name. And if you're looking to have a Blog or a Web page you need a website.
As explained above, it needs to have a name and identity so that people can find you. The Domain name must be bought and registered before you can use it. And every Domain name is unique to its user.
Domain Name Extensions
As I mentioned earlier, Domain names end with different types of extensions. These extensions are further classified into the following:
Top-Level Domain (TLD)
TLD are generic Domain extensions and are the highest-level of Domain extensions. There are hundreds of TLDs, with .com, .org, .net being the top most popular ones. I recommend using any of these three extensions for your Domain name.
Country Code Top Level Domain (ccTLD)
ccTLD is country-specific Domain extensions. As the "cc" suggests, the extension ends with the country's code and is used by websites that want to target people in that specific country.
Example: .uk (for United Kingdom), .de (for Germany), .in (for India).
Sponsored Top Level Domain (sTLD)
sTLD represents TLD's that are being sponsored and meant to represent a specific audience being served by the Domain extension.
Example: .edu (education sector), .gov (for Government), .org (for non-profit organizations), etc.
There are also free Domains that you can get from different Domain registrars like WordPress.com, Squarespace.com, etc. However, these free Domain names are subdomains, as they use the name of the website in your Domain name.
For example, if your Domain name is ABCD.com then it would be ABCD.wordpress.com or ABCD.squarespace.com. Free Domains are not a feasible solution for long term businesses, especially if you looking to make your name/brand famous.
It's always better to buy one.
How does Domain Name work?
When you enter a Domain name into your web browser, the first thing that happens is that your computer will send a request to a global network of servers that form the Domain Name System (DNS). These servers will then lookup for the name servers that are associated with the Domain name and forward the request to those name servers.
Let's assume that your website is hosted on Bluehost, then the name server information will be: ns1.bluehost.com or ns2.bluehost.com. (Where NS means Name Server). Now these NS are computers that are being managed by Bluehost (your website hosting company).
Your hosting company will then forward the request to the computer that is storing your website. This computer is called a Web Server. The Web Server then fetches the web page and finally send the data back to the browser.
And this process happens within a span of a few seconds.
How to choose a Domain Name?
A study conducted in 2016 showed that there were nearly 326.4 million Domain names registered worldwide. And with an addition of approximately 3 million more being added to this number, every month, you can imagine how many registered Domain names there would be by now.
But does that mean that all the good names are already taken?
It does put a lot of pressure on trying to find a good Domain name for your website. In my personal opinion, every Domain name is unique in its own way. Use the following points when deciding to pick a Domain name:
- Be as creative as you can.
- Avoid long and complicated names. It should be easy to remember, pronounce, and spell.
- As much as you can, avoid using numbers and hyphens.
- Every name is unique in its own way. Some of the most famous and popular Domain names are the ones that are unique.
- And remember Original Creativity is something that cannot be copied.
How to Buy a Domain Name?
I'm sure this must be the question you been thinking about from the beginning of this Blog. Well, there are many Domain name registrars on the internet, from where you can buy and register your Domain name. On average it would cost you about US$.10 to US$.15 per year. Keep in mind that buying a Domain, does not automatically give you Hosting services. Hosting is another important feature, which I have explained in another one of my Blogs.
Some of the most popular sites for buying a Domain name are BlueHost, GoDaddy, Hostinger, HostGator, Register.com, A2 Hosting, SquareSpace, Domain.com, etc. It's recommended that you go and try a few of these sites to see which one gives you a better offer, as most of them also have discount coupons.
What is a Sub Domain?
A Sub Domain is literally what the name suggests. It's an offspring of your main Domain. Upon buying and registering your Domain, you automatically have permission to create subdomains for it. These are commonly used by Websites to create smaller sites, under the main website.
For example, A business named ABC can have their main Domain name as ABC.com and for their store, they can use the Sub Domain, such as store.ABC.com. The more diversities, the more Sub Domains can be created.
Cancelling and/or Selling of Domain
Canceling of a Domain name is allowed by certain domain registrars. However, many people just prefer to let the subscription expiry and not opt for renewal. At the time of purchasing, remember to check on the "Auto Renewal" clause. But once canceled that Domain name then becomes available in the market for others to buy it.
It's all in the name. And this holds very true in the case of Domain names. The more popular your name is the more value it holds. There have been numerous instances where a bigger business has gone out and purchased smaller business Domain names (mostly in the same field of business), once they see it getting popular. You just need to figure out if it's in your best interest to either continue with your Domain name and business or sell it for a handsome profit.
There are also instances where people have come upon a good Domain name, which was sought after by someone else or was sought after by some big business houses and purchased it. And thereafter sold it for a profit.
Well, I hope that my blog has been helpful, in understanding what a Domain Name is, its importance, and it's functioning. There are other processes involved in making your own website and buying and registering a Domain Name is the 1st step. I shall be posting further blogs to explain the others process as well.
As always, I would love to get your feedback and questions/comments regarding this Blog on What is a Domain Name.
You are also welcome to share your ideas here as well.
Also, keep sharing our Blogs with others as well, so that they too can benefit from it.