What is a Domain Name?
Reflect your brand through your Domain Name
All about Domain Names
Ahh, the humble Domain Name. Many people upon starting a website get a little confused about terminology, but Domain Names are an easy one. In fact, if you’ve ever used the Internet at all, you should be all too familiar with Domain Names.
A Domain Name is a website address, or URL. It’s simply the string of characters you type into your Internet Browser to access your favourite websites. Our Domain Name is ProWP.co.uk
Domain Names are important for a variety of reasons, not least because without one nobody will ever be able to publicly find your website! Here we’ll briefly run through some Domain Name information to ease your understanding.
Domain Name Structure
This is a simplified explanation, but a Domain Name is split up into three distinct parts:
- Hostname – This is also known as a Subdomain. It is the very first part of a Domain Name, and is used to denote separate entities of a website all within the same Domain Name. For example www.example.com or the more well known mail.google.com (for Gmail)
- SLD or second-level domain – This is the most important part of the Domain Name, and is made up of the string of characters that you will use to access your website. We recommend keeping it short & memorable! For example www.example.com
- TLD or top-level domain – This is the final part of a Domain Name and is used to identify and distinguish Domain Names into its purpose, or the geographical area where it originates. For example http://www.example.com Some typical TLD’s you may encounter are .com, .net, .org, .info – but there are now over 300 in existence!
Domain Name Availability
Domain Names as we know them today have existed for almost 30 years, originating in the mid-80’s. For example, the first ever .com Domain Name registered was Symbolics.com, waaay back in March 1985! As such, the availability of Domain Names today is a tricky subject, and getting the perfect Domain Name for your website is harder than ever.
Thousands of Domain Names are getting registered every single day. Luckily, we have many Top-level domains to choose from, so if your desired .com Domain Name is unavailable, you can try many other alternatives such as .org, .net etc.
If all else fails, and your desired Domain Name(s) have already been registered, you have two options. Think of something quirky to add to your Domain Name, like a buzzword or a related keyword, or contact the current owner of your desired Domain Name and make them an offer they can’t refuse.
Just some advice on that last part though – the most expensive Domain Names ever sold privately have reached over $30 million (PrivateJet.com and VacationRentals.com). Domain Name owners can name their price, and this can be a very expensive endeavour!
Cost of Domain Names
Domain Names are purchased on an ongoing basis – you cannot own a Domain Name outright, and they must be registered to you through a Registrar. Registrars typically keep to a standardised pricing model, but the prices for all of the different Top-level domains can vary.
For example, my preferred Registrar for .co.uk Domain Names charges £7.80 per Domain Name for a 2-year registration. My .com Domain Name supplier charges £7.10 per year. Charges for the most common Top-level domains are very fair. But do remember this is an ongoing charge for however long you wish to use the Domain Name.
I touched on the subject of privately purchasing a Domain Name above, and there are companies out there that specialise in buying and selling ‘Premium’ Domain Names. These are often coveted names, such as individual dictionary words or very short strings of letters. You can buy a Premium Domain Name from a supplier for a fixed (often wildly expensive) cost, but you will still have to pay the standard ongoing registration fee on top of this.
We’ve kept this answer rather brief on purpose, as the infrastructure behind Domain Names can be overwhelmingly complex. However with the information above, you should have a much greater understanding of a core principle of your website. For more advanced reading, see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domain_name