We come across domains each and every day online, but we rarely stop to think about what they are, how they come about, and how to get a domain of your own. On top of all that, there are various tips and rules that’ll come into play when you register a domain of your own.
Did you know?
The first ever domain was symbolics.com, registered in 1985
So, what is a domain?
Put simply, a domain name is the address of your website.
In the way that people live in houses, websites ‘live’ in servers, and the domain name is their address.
Websites are stored on special computers called web servers, that are managed by hosting companies. When an address is typed in the URL bar, a request is sent to a global network of servers, which search within their database and essentially forward this request to the computer where the website information is stored. In response to the request, the computer sends that website’s data back to the browser.
Types of domains
Within domains there are different types, and within those types there are different types. In a nutshell, it’s super complicated. But we’ll simplify to the stuff you actually need to know.
Top-level domains, or TLDs, are pretty much the ‘end bit’ of the domain name, like .com, or .net.
Second-level domains are the part customised to, and named after, your brand or company. For example, “Google” is the SLD of www.Google.com.
Third-level domains, as well as four-level, five-level domains and so on, are subdomains, and are the prefix to the domain. When a subdomain is entered in front of the domain, you will generally be referred to a stand-alone site, that act as a ‘spin-off’ of the main website. For example, if a company also had its own blog or e-commerce store, it may have a subdomain specifically for that area, like blog.company.com, or store.company.com.
How to register a domain
Choosing a domain name
The first step when it comes to registering a domain is deciding on your domain name. Even though this may seem like an easy step, especially if you intend to just use your company’s name, there are a few unspoken ‘rules’ when it comes to choosing a domain name:
- Keep it short, sweet, easy to remember, and easy to pronounce
- Avoid hyphens, numbers and symbols
- Avoid double letters
- Make sure it’s easy to spell, and that none of the words in it are ambiguous, able to be spelled in different ways or words thats spelling differs in other countries
E.g. avoid words like “for”, which could be spelled ‘for’, ‘four’, or ‘4’, as well as words like “colour”, which is spelled ‘color’ in the US
- Research the availability of social media handles in case you’d like to link social accounts to your site and its domain name
Remember to have a couple of options on hand, as your top pick may be taken. Plus, some of your options may be available for a low introductory price, while others may be considered “premium” and could go for thousands of dollars.
Buying a domain
To buy a domain, you can go through a domain name company, like GoDaddy, Domain.com, or Network Solutions, but you won’t automatically get hosting service with the domain. If you want to handle your domain and hosting in one go, you’d be better off choosing a WordPress hosting company that offers domain registration as well, such as Bluehost, DreamHost or Hostinger.
Domain registration is done on a yearly basis, and you can pre-pay for up to 10 years, guaranteeing ownership of your domain name for that time period. It usually costs between $10 and $20 per year, depending on your TLD and SLD. High-value keyword domains will often be available via domain auctions.
Keep in mind, you can sell your domain or move your site to a new domain at any time.
Did you know?
The most expensive domain purchase was LasVegas.com, for $90 Million
When you register a domain, you have permission to create subdomains for it on your own. However, because they’re regarded as separate sites by Google, you’ll need to pay a separate hosting fee for each subdomain.
For all your website needs, including website building, domain registration, hosting, and more, Method can take care of it. Get in touch with our team today and see how we can take your business online; with professional service you can trust.