Stay Unique And On Brand
A unique domain name can help your website stand out and potentially help you avoid legal trouble. It can also contribute to your marketing efforts. In fact, if your site represents a larger brand, you would be wise to consider your domain name as youre creating the brand name itself.
If youre a self-employed individual, you can still consider your body of work and your website as part of your personal brand. For instance, if you run a private therapy practice, an original yet branded domain name might include your full name and field. In this scenario, a strong URL might read something like: janesmithpsychology.com.
Another powerful way for businesses to reach a local audience is by including geolocation within the domain name .
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What Is A Domain Name And How Does It Work
Almost everyone who uses the internet has heard of a domain name. But what exactly is a domain name, and how do they work? Should you have your own domain name?
No matter which Development Career Path you’re following, it’s important to understand the fundamentals of domain names. In this article , we’ll answer all of your domain name-related questions. Use the table of contents to jump to a specific section.
Choose A Domain Registrar
After selecting an available domain name, youll find yourself in front of a seemingly endless list of domain registrars to purchase it from. But while they might all seem the same at first, a closer look will highlight noticeable differences in their pricing and domain extension offering, as well as in other features such as privacy, customer support and add-ons.
Here are some of the key characteristics you should pay attention to:
Its important to keep in mind that when you purchase a domain name, youll need to pay an annual fee to the domain name registrar in order to maintain your ownership. Certain providers take advantage of this by offering the initial registration at a price much lower than the industry average and charging exorbitant renewal fees.
On the other hand, other registrars provide free domain names that are renewed for an average cost. Needless to say, you should keep an eye out for the latter as they allow you to save money without making you pay for it later on.
Private domain registration
ICANN requires everyone who purchases a domain to provide personal information that is then made publicly available on a database known as WHOIS. If youre concerned about privacy or want to minimize the chances of SPAM and identity theft, you can hide this information using WHOIS privacy protection.
Web hosting pairing
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But There Are Other Good Reasons To Register A Domain Too
When you register one, you reserve it so that no one else can register it. So it might be smart to snatch up a domain nowyour name, company name, or other things you’re involved with, like a book title, band name, or hobbyjust to take it “off the market”.
In my case, I might not need cosmohedgehog.rocks today, but I’ll definitely want to own it once I become super famous.
The Dns: Phonebook Of The Internet
Now that you understand why we use domain names and the anatomy of a domain name, you might be wondering how to convert a domain name to an IP address. That’s where the Domain Name System comes in.
The DNS is a global database of all the registered domain names on the internet. A DNS record will typically include the domain name and an associated IP address. Through the DNS, your browser can translate a domain name in the address bar into an IP address that it can then use to send requests to the web server and receive webpage content.
What’s important to remember is that there’s no single DNS server or even a single physical location for DNS servers. Instead, the DNS comprises a group of different servers located all around the world.
Consider These Popular Domain Extensions:
The most popular and professional extension for any kind of website.
Grow your network, and your business, with a .net domain.
Brand your site as an organization for greater good.
Show you’re at the forefront of todayâs tech scene with a highly relevant domain.
Get personal. Show off what you’re all about to your visitors.
Rep your company with a domain that’s globally recognized and memorable.
Surprising Ways You Can Use A Domain Name For Your Small Business
A personal domain name is an essential in todays virtual world. If youre a business owner, creating a website is no longer an option, its a necessity.
When you choose a domain name, you give your business instant credibility. Its your entry point to the online marketplace. A personal domain provides a pathway to your website, for people to learn more about you and your business, and to make a purchase.
The right domain name will help you establish a great online presence. The wrong domain however, could do just the opposite.
Its important to consider your domain extension too. In simple terms, a domain extension is the .com, .org or .net that follows your personal domain.
Believe it or not, web visitors judge you by not only your domain name, but your domain extension too. For instance, if a visitor see .org at the end of your domain, they might assume that your business is a nonprofit.
Similarly if they see .edu theyll assume your website is educational. With all that said, in this article well cover 7 surprising ways your can use a domain name for your business.
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Choose The Right Domain Extension
When searching for the best extension for your domain name, there are two main things youll need to take into account: perception and pricing. In addition to respecting usage rules, such as not registering your store under an .org extension, youll also need to take into account how likely people are to trust and remember certain TLDs. According to a study by GrowthBadger, .com is 33% more memorable than any other top-level domain and also scores the highest trust index among users.
As for the pricing, the extension you decide will have a direct impact on how much a domain name costs, as well as renewal fees. Make sure to check all options and weigh the pros and cons before settling on a certain TLD.
How Do You Read A Domain Name
Each domain name includes a top level domain like .com or .net, and a subdomain of that top level domain. For example, take a look at the domain name for this website: Lifewire.com. The TLD is .com in this example, and lifewire is the subdomain.
Taken together, as a whole, Lifewire.com forms a fully qualified domain name that you can use to visit this website.
Domain names can also include additional subdomains. For example, en.wikipedia.org is a subdomain of wikipedia.org, and you can use it to visit the English language version of Wikipedia.
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Why Is This So Important
The URL of your site is the first thing your visitors will see. Creating a relevant domain name can make a good first impression. Otherwise, your website may be viewed negatively.
This also affects the organic SEO rankings of your pages. Although exact match domains are no longer a necessity, your domain name keywords still have the ability to improve your SEO ranking.
Finally, domain names define your brand. A good domain name can increase brand and business recognition.
Purchase Your Domain Name And Complete Its Registration
Once you settle on a domain name, its time to purchase it. When you buy through Mailchimp, well let you know the annual cost of the domain name as well as any available discounts.
During the checkout process, youll be required to enter your contact information, including an email address, to register the domain.
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Pick A Domain Name Thats Flexible
Your domain name is one area where you dont want to put yourself into a box. While you should be specific enough to attract an audience, you dont want to be so precise that theres no room for your website to grow.
For example, shutter.photography might be perfect for a photography blog. However, if you decide to write about other art forms in the future, youll be stuck with an inaccurate domain name.
Therefore, its smart to consider how your site or business may expand over time. Youll want to make this decision with a long-term vision.
Best Practices For Managing Domain Names And Web Hosting
If theres one thing to know about running a small business, its that change is expected. Once you get everything set up, you might still have questions about managing your domain name and hosting over time.
Lets look at a few best practices to keep things running smoothly for your domain and hosting setup.
Youll need to abide by any waiting periods before moving or transferring any domains between domain or hosting providers.
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Verify Ownership Of Your New Domain
Paying for your domain might seem like the last step in the process, but you also need to verify your ownership. This step lets you send email using the domain and keeps other people from using it without your permission.
If you purchase your domain through Mailchimp, this process is simple. Youll receive a verification email after you complete your purchase. Simply click on the Verify Domain button in the email and follow the instructions on the next page, and you can start using your domain to build your brand. Youll only ever have to complete this step once.
How Do Domain Names Work
When you enter a domain name in the browser, it will send a request to a domain name system ) server. This can either be hosted by your ISP or by a reputable third-party that relies on a distributed global network of servers for superior performance.
It is the duty of these servers to look up the name servers associated with the domain name and then forward your request to those name servers. The name servers are computers that are managed by the websites web hosting company.
The name servers will in turn forward the request to the computer that hosts the website. This computer is called a web server and is powered by a HTTP server software such as Apache, Nginx, and Tomcat, whose duty it is to fetch the website, which is then sent back and rendered on your web browser.
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Register Domain Name Variations
Even if your domain name is catchy and easy to remember, typos happen. The last thing you want is for a hiring manager or potential client to get an error message because they missed a letter when typing in your web address.
That’s why you should consider registering domain name variations that redirect people to your website, even if they’ve mistyped something. For example, a lot of people misread or mishear Codecademy as “Code Academy.” But, when they type in CodeAcademy.com, they’re automatically redirected to the correct domain, Codecademy.com.
Similarly, say your domain ends in “.org,” “.edu,” or “.net.” You might want to consider registering the “.com” variant as well to prevent competitors from doing the same.
Different Types Of Domains
The DNS uses an inverted-tree hierarchical structure to manage its distributed database system. On this structure, a dot serves as the root domain and sits at the top of the framework. Below the dot, the domain name space is divided into different levels depending on their position in reference from the root domain.
This results in different types of domains, all of which serve a different purpose:
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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.
What To Look For In Hosting
These are the hosting basics all websites need from the start:
- Storage: For most small- to medium-sized business sites, a few gigabytes of storage is sufficient.
- Bandwidth: People with large sites who expect to attract a large number of visitors require more bandwidth.
- Scalability: The option of an automatic increase in storage/bandwidth in case of a large traffic spike on your site.
- Reliability: Look for a 99.9% uptime guarantee or better. A website thats down is useless.
- Security: If the hosting provider doesnt list malware/virus protection as a feature, ask about it.
- Backups: Some providers run scheduled backups of your content and store them on the hosting plan for you.
- 24/7 technical support, so you can call for help no matter what the hour.
Features you might need down the road include:
- Speed tools for optimizing your site for mobile devices.
- Analytics tools for gathering information about your marketing efforts and your users.
- Tools that allow you to integrate your website with your social media pages.
You might be able to move your website over to a new hosting service later on, but it helps to have access to these features from the beginning.
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How To Choose A Domain Name
- Choose a name thats easy to type and pronounce. If people struggle to spell it or pronounce it correctly, it will affect the memorability of the name and hurt your brand.
- Pick a domain name that can be turned into a brand. You dont want exact and partial keyword match domain names because theyre too generic and very difficult to brand. You should also steer clear from numbers and hyphens in your domain name theyre too difficult to remember and pronounce.
- Keep it short and simple. Long, complex domain names run a huge risk of being mistyped and misspelled. Thats just an unnecessary headache.
- Avoid names that can be confused with existing brands. If you think you can piggyback on some other brands success, youre hugely mistaken. Brand confusion will be the least of your concerns when you get sued!
- Use an appropriate extension.With the new TLDs rocking the internet, youd think everyones going for something as eye-catching as .boutique. Yet the prevailing advice among marketers is to stick to the old good .com, merely because its the most recognized suffix outside the tech world. If youre targeting a local market, then ccTLDs is probably a better choice for your business.
- Choose a name that indicates what your business does.You must be careful not to get too literal. But a clever domain name that suggests to consumers what they can expect to find when they land on your site is a great advantage to any business.
What’s The Difference Between A Domain Name And A Url
As you read this article, you might be looking up at the address bar and wondering whether that’s all part of Codecademy’s domain name. What you’re actually looking at is the uniform resource locator or URL.
The URL contains the domain name and two other important pieces of information: the transfer protocol and the path. Note that some browsers, like Google Chrome, no longer display the full URL in the address bar. If you’re using Chrome and can’t see the full URL, right-click the address bar and click “Always Show Full URLs.”
The transfer protocol is the convention used between the computer and the server on the internet .
The path name contains information about a specific page or file within a website. For example, everything you see in your address bar to the right of “Codecademy.com/” is the URL path.
Just like a file path on your computer, the URL path for this article is unique and allows you to easily access this page later on or share it with your friends on social media.
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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:
Setting Up Your Domain
If you want to acquire a domain name, you must buy one and register it. To do this, visit a domain name registrar, like GoDaddy or Google Domains, plug your desired domain name in, check its availability and price, and then buy it, if its in your price range. From there, you’ll be able to associate that domain with your server and hosting provider, making your site accessible via the web address.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in February 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Originally published Jul 19, 2022 7:00:00 AM, updated August 08 2022