Increase Professionalism With A Domain
An often-overlooked benefit to registering a business domain is the ability to create and use domain-specific email addresses. Many small business owners still use free email services like Gmail or Yahoo to communicate with their customers.
Consumers are becoming more tech-savvy, and they expect the businesses they use to have a certain level of professionalism. In a highly competitive market, small differences like having a business email can be the factor that tips the scale in your favor.
Choose Your Top Level Domain Extension Carefully
A Top-Level Domain extension is the last part of your URL that comes directly after the name of your site. Some of the most popular TLDs are .com, .org, and .net.
Among all the TLDs, .com is often a popular choice. However, if .com is taken, its not the end of the world.
Other popular TLDs such as .xyz, .shop, .club, .online, .art, .inc, and even .party are becoming increasingly common. TLDs like .marketing and .technology allow you to go with something more relevant to your industry. The usage of ccTLDs is also an extremely popular option. In recent years, more technology startups are using .io , .ai , and .co , for example. Ultimately, youll want to choose a domain name extension that is cohesive with your website and signals credibility.
The Parts Of A Domain Name
There are typically two parts of a domain: the second-level domain and the top-level domain. If read left-to-right, these parts decrease in specificity.
The second-level domain is the unique identifier for your website. It’s the part of your domain that comes before .com or another extension.
If you’re building a website for your business, consider buying a domain that reflects your business’s name. This will make it easier for people to find your website without needing to spend a lot of time scouring Google for it. For instance, hubspot.coms second-level domain is hubspot.
The top-level domain is the extension, or the part of your domain that comes after your second-level domain.
It specifies what type of entity your organization registers as on the internet. For example, HubSpots top-level domain is .com since were a commercial entity in the United States.
Most American businesses also register their website with .com. In fact, according to data from Verisign, the largest TLD in 2021 was .com, with 158.6 million reported domain names in the domain name base.
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How To Get A Website Domain
We started by asking, What does domain mean? Having answered that, as well as having seen the purpose of a website domain, we can now look at how to get your own website domain and use to it create a website.
Domain name registrars
To buy your domain, you have to go to a domain name registrar, such as Domain.com or Bluehost. These registrars are authorized to sell domains that havent yet been taken. Start your search with an idea of the domain name you want.
Ideally, you want to keep it simple. If your business is called Gareth Plumbing, try garethplumbing.com, or maybe even gareth.com. Your choice of name will have marketing ramifications for you, as an overly long or hard-to-remember domain name will make it harder for people to find your site.
Dont get too attached to any specific name, though, as it may not turn out to be available. The registrar should be able to tell you whether the domain you want is available. If it is, you can register it for your company.
If not, youll have to come up with something else to use or offer to purchase the domain before making a purchase, use a domain valuation tool to get an accurate estimate.
Once you have a domain, you can go about building your website. This is the fun part! Its like creating your physical store after signing the deed on the land.
Whether you go it alone or get help from a web development agency like WebFX, design a site that will engage users.
How To Buy A Domain Name: Domain Registration Guide
What you need to know about domain names, how to choose the right one, and the steps to take to check if a domain name is available and to register your domain.
If you want to start a blog or a new online business, youll need to register a domain name, the name for your website. Getting the right domain for your needs might sound technical at first, but the process is pretty simple.
This domain registration guide will tell you what you need to know about domain name extensions, how to choose the right one for your needs, and the steps youll need to take to check if a domain name is available and to register your domain.
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What Are The Parts Of A Domain Name
Domain names are typically broken up into two or three parts, each separated by a dot. When read right-to-left, the identifiers in domain names go from most general to most specific. The section to the right of the last dot in a domain name is the . These include the generic TLDs such as .com, .net, and .org, as well as country-specific TLDs like .uk and .jp.
To the left of the TLD is the second-level domain and if there is anything to the left of the 2LD, it is called the third-level domain . Lets look at a couple of examples:
For Googles US domain name, google.com:
- .com is the TLD
- google is the 2LD
But for Google UKs domain name, google.co.uk:
- .com is the TLD
- .co* is the 2LD
- google is the 3LD
*In this case, the 2LD indicates the type of organization that registered the domain .
Launch Your Domain With Shopify
If youre setting up your own website, you need a domain registrar, a server to host your domain, a website design, and email and customer support functionality, among other ecommerce software features. Thats why its important to choose tools that simplify and centralize business management as much as possible.
When you register your domain with Shopify, it immediately connects to your online storeso you dont have to worry about third-party apps or complex setup processes. Everything is ready to go so you can focus on what matters most. No additional website builder needed.
Ready to create your first business? Start your free 14-day trial of Shopifyno credit card required.
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What Is The Purpose Of Having A Domain Name
Domain names are used for a variety of reasons, including application-specific naming, addressing, and establishing the following in various networking contexts: Hostnames and hosts may be easily identified. Uniform Resource Locators for Internet resources, such as web pages, include hostnames as an element.
Which Are Not Allowed In Domain Name
While it may be difficult to find a domain name for business websites, there are basic rules you should follow when registering domain names. These rules include:
You should not include hyphens at the beginning or end of a domain name. You can include hyphens in the middle of your domain name but ensure that it is something your target audience can remember.
Spaces are not permitted for use in domain names. Thats because website hosting services and browsers do not recognize spaces.
Symbols are not allowed to be used in domain name parts.
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Make It Easy To Remember
Making it easy to remember how to get to a website is what GOOD domain names are all about.
If you make your domain name easy to remember, youll get more people coming back to your website again and again. And its easier for those people to tell their friends about you!
To help make your domain name easy to remember, try to come up with a catchy name that describes what you do.
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Differences Between Domain Names And Urls
While a domain name and a Universal Resource Locator share some similarities, they are different. It acts as a complete web address that can direct visitors to a specific page on a site. A domain name is just a part of it.
Also, it consists of a protocol, domain, and path. The protocol shows whether a site has an SSL certificate. Note that URLs have a path only when they direct visitors to a specific page on a site.
Theres also the fully qualified domain name . This refers to the complete version of a domain name that also consists of the hostname.
What Exactly Does A Domain Name Look Like
Lets use domain.com as the example. www.domain.com is what people would generally refer to as a domain name, but is that technically correct?
Eh, sort of.
In the image above you can see that weve underlined the different parts of www.domain.com, separated, and numbered the different parts separated by the dots. Your domain name is, technically, the part that comes after the www. so its comprised of parts 2 & 3. Part 1, the www, turns your domain name into a complete web address, or URL In essence, every URL has a domain name in it, but URLs arent domain names.
Did you know that the two parts that make up your domain name, 1 & 2, actually have their own names? Part 3, what comes after the dot, is called the Top Level Domain, or TLD. Part 2, the beginning of your domain name, is called the Second Level Domain, or SLD.
So when someone asks, How do I get to your site? what theyre really asking for is your domain name.
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Truth In Domain Names Act
In the United States, the Truth in Domain Names Act of 2003, in combination with the PROTECT Act of 2003, forbids the use of a misleading domain name with the intention of attracting Internet users into visiting sites.
The Truth in Domain Names Act follows the more general Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act passed in 1999 aimed at preventing typosquatting and deceptive use of names and trademarks in domain names.
What Is The Website Domain
Once in the browser, users can open web pages by entering a uniform resource locator in the address bar, like so:
When users dont know the URL of a website, they can use a search engine, like Google, to find it. Computers communicate using unique number strings called IP addresses, which look like this: 172.17.234.8.
If you type in an IP associated with your website, youll end up seeing your website in the web browser. Now, imagine that you would have to memorize countless IP addresses to access websites daily. Its highly unlikely that users will memorize all of this information. So, this is where domains come in place.
A website domain is a user-friendly version of your IP address. Its an easy-to-remember way for users to access your website. Google.com, Amazon.com, and Youtube.com are some of the most popular domains on the web.
Oftentimes, users confuse domains and URLs. So, lets make it clear. A URL is a complete web address used for locating files on the web.
Whereas, a domain name is a form of web address located in a URL. For example, Colibris URL looks like this: https://colibriwp.com/
A domain name inside this URL looks like this: colibriwp.com
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A Strategic Approach To Choosing The Perfect Domain Name
Your URL offers a chance to leave a good first impression. Thats why a strong domain name is essential for the success of your website. So, if youre ready to land that perfect domain name, remember these handy tips and click below to start your search today.
About the Author: Stefanus Hadi, Ph.D.
Stefanus Hadi, Ph.D., is Product Research Manager at DreamHost. He is responsible for directing and managing the companys partnerships with various domain registries, including those that control TLDs like .com, .online, .shop, .xyz, .club, .art, .io, .co, .me, and many others. In his free time, Stefanus enjoys outdoor activities, visits national parks regularly, and serves as a member of a Los Angeles high school support group. Connect with Stefanus on LinkedIn:
How To Transfer A Domain Name
Domain transfer is the process of changing a domains registrar. As domain registrars offer different support and maintenance, some users transfer their domain for better service.
With Hostinger, users can perform a domain transfer from any registrar.
All you have to do is enter the domain authorization code or EPP from your current provider and confirm the transfer. The process can take from 4 to 7 days.
Unfortunately, some extensions are not transferable. However, there is an option to point the nameservers to a particular hosting company if a registrar doesnt accept certain TLDs. You will need to change your nameservers for this.
Note that changing the web server information can only be done from where you purchased the domain. However, if your registrar does not allow changing nameservers, it is still possible to point a domain to a different registrar using an A record.
Looking for a more detailed guide? Check out our How to transfer a domain to Hostinger? support page.
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How To Get A Free Domain With Your Web Hosting
Some web hosts offer a free domain name when you sign up for a hosting plan. You may have to pay for renewal at the end of the first year, but its not typically expensive. Additionally, you wont have to worry about migrating your domain if you register it through your hosting provider.
At DreamHost, we offer a free domain name when you sign up for one of our . Once youve selected the right option for you, just click on Register a new domain.
Then, youll be prompted to search for your desired domain name. Then, simply add your domain to your cart and complete the checkout process!
Check The Domain History
You might have your sights set on a completely fresh domain name. However, theres also a possibility that the domain youd like to purchase had a previous owner.
This is useful information to know. For instance, you wouldnt want to buy a domain name that was previously running an unethical business, as it might hurt your reputation.
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Why Do You Need Domain And Hosting
The above-mentioned difference between web hosting and domain is undoubtedly brain-picking. But these do not answer why someone needs both domain and hosting. Only a few know why things cannot work out by leaving out one thing for another. To your surprise, there are several reasons for their coexistence.
- Domain helps readers tackle the need to remember your websites IP address. Consider the IP a data structure that is used throughout the entire internet to access websites from any part of the world. It can be truly tiresome to remember it each time someone wants to access the beneficial data on your website. Therefore, a domain helps people convert this string of variables, numbers, and other characters in a more easily rememberable word format. They can simply put the name in the Google search bar and save both time and energy efficiently.
- Similarly, web hosting companies help individuals to store their files and make them easily accessible. They undertake the maintaining and configuring part of the process so you can shift your focus of attention to blogging. It allows people to rent server space and hoard HTML files or media content for the viewers. Without it, hosting can become hostile to your savings.
Understanding Domains And Trademarks
As you might imagine, many brands target their organization name as their domain name. For instance, GoDaddy uses GoDaddy.com, Pepsi uses Pepsi.com and McDonalds uses McDonalds.com.
The value of a branded domain cannot be overstated, but are brands awarded these domains under trademark laws? Are domain owners awarded any protection over their domain names?
The relationship between domain names and trademarks is important to understand before you purchase a domain and start building a website and business. There are risks to purchasing a domain name without researching trademarks first.
Domain availability doesnt protect from trademarks
Just because a domain name is available, doesnt mean there isnt a trademark protecting that brand name.
For instance, if you found a variation of GoDaddy that was available for registration, you could not purchase and operate a business on that domain because it would still be protected under trademark law.
Choosing a domain name requires more research than just availability you need to make sure that you are not walking into any legal conflict by picking a domain name that is protected by the United States Patent and Trademark Office .
When it comes to domains and trademarks, remember these basic considerations.
Protecting domain names with trademarks
Domain name and trademark case study: Nissan.com
Protecting yourself from trademark infringement
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