Everything You Need to Know About Domain Names


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What are domain names?

Domain names are unique addresses on the internet that tell you where to find a website. It is the equivalent of your home address. 

If you gave people the coordinates for your home, it would be harder to find than if you used street names, cities, states, and countries.  

The same with a domain name; in computer language, it is just numbers. Using only numbers makes it harder to stand out, remember, or quickly find on the net. So instead, we use text, which includes the name of the business, individual, or organization. 

An example is Google’s domain, “google.com.” Everybody knows Google Domains and can find it easily.

I knew very little about domain names when I created my first website. But, like most people I know, website addresses are the same. 

However, you can have a domain name without a website, but you need a domain for your site to be accessible. 

In simple terms, the domain name is the address for your website or what people will enter into their browsers to find your site. 

What are the different types of domains, and what are top-level domains? 

You might have seen domain names and noticed the different endings, for example, .com, .net, .edu, or dot plus a country and want to know their significance. 

They split domain names into two parts. The first part is called the “second level domain,” and the second part is called the “top-level (TLD).”

Periods also called dots, separate the different parts of a domain. 

 For instance, in the domain name ‘google.com,’ google is the second-level domain while dot com is the top-level domain.   

TLDs have two types: “generic top-level domains” (gTLDs) and “country code top-level domains” (ccTLDs).

gTLDs are the most common TLDs and include .com, .org, .net, .edu, .gov, and many others. 

These are for general use; anyone can register a domain name with a gTLD.

ccTLDs are specific to a country or region, for example, .us for the United States, .uk for the United Kingdom, or .cn for China. 

Organizations or individuals use these in those countries or regions.

So, a domain name is an address for a website, the second-level domain is the main name of the website, and the top-level domain is the last part of the domain name. It can be generic or specific to a country.

How much does a domain name cost, and how will I need to pay to keep it? 

The cost of a domain varies depending on the domain extension and name. Therefore, a domain name may cost as little as a dollar of thousands of dollars. 

Registering my first domain, I was shocked to discover that my preferred name cost US$25,000. Even more, surprising is there are generic domain names valued at almost 1 million dollars. 

Premium domain names in popular niches cost more than other domains. Also, the shorter your domain name, the more it is likely to cost. 

A non-premium domain name with extensions, such as .com and .net, typically costs around $10-15 per year. Other less common extensions, such as .co or .io, can cost closer to $20-30 per year.

It costs the same to renew annually; however, you might get a discount if you pay for a two or more-year service. 

Another consideration, although optional, is domain privacy. It protects your contact detail from being available to anyone who locks up your domain name.

 It can cost less than US$20 per year. 

Domain privacy is essential; it prevents you from getting unsolicited emails and phone calls and makes it less likely for scammers to try and steal your domain. 

It is important to note that some registrars offer different pricing or plans for specific countries, so it is better to check with the registrar you choose for the exact cost.

If you plan creat a website for your domain, check with your host provider before buying a name. Some hosts offer a free domain for the first year of your service. 

With my first website, I learned a hard lesson. I didn’t know my host would give me a free domain name, so I bought one before signing up.

The domain name you want might be unavailable. Before deciding on your website or business name, search for the domain and social media name. 

If the domain is registered but not active, you can negotiate to purchase from its owner through a domain name broker. 

Here are some popular domain name registrars to consider GoDaddy, Namecheap, HostGator, Bluehost, and Dreamhost.

What’s the difference between a domain name and a website name?

There is a difference between a domain name and a website name.

A domain name is a unique address that identifies your website online—used to access a website by typing it into a web browser’s address bar. For example, “google.com” is a domain name.

On the other hand, a website name is the name of the website that is used to identify it. It is not necessarily the same as the domain name and can be different. For example, “Google” is the website name, while “google.com” is the domain name.

The same name for your domain and website is suitable for branding and SEO purposes. However, it can be unclear to the visitor if, for example, your website name is ‘The Farm,’ but your domain name is ‘sports.com.’ Any reasonable person would expect the domain or site name to match exactly or be related.   

Can I have a domain name without a website?

You can have a domain without a website; many buy domains with no intention of using them but rather to sell them for profit. Buying and selling domains is a multimillion-dollar business. 

A domain name without a website can also be helpful for other reasons. Such as:

  • It gives you a unique and memorable web address to share with others easily.
  • You can protect your brand or business name by registering a domain before someone else. In addition, some businesses register multiple versions of their domain name and extensions to prevent people from exploiting their brand name. 
  • Creating email addresses using the domain name can enhance a professional image.

However, there are also some drawbacks to having a domain name without a website:

  • Without a website, the domain name serves no real purpose and cannot be used to drive traffic or generate leads.
  • A website is needed to provide information and value to visitors, which can help establish credibility and trust.
  • It makes it easier for people to find contact information and learn more about a business or organization.

Having a domain name without a website can have some benefits, but it is generally more beneficial to have a website as well. A domain name is a powerful tool for building a brand and providing value to your audience. On the other hand, a website is a powerful tool for driving traffic, generating leads, and providing information to your audience. Having both is a better approach.

How much does it cost to keep a domain?

The cost of keeping a domain name typically includes registering and renewing the registration annually or biennially. However, the cost of registering a domain can vary depending on the top-level domain (TLD) used (e.g., .com, .net, .org) and where you purchase your domain.

In addition to the cost of registering and renewing a domain name, there are also costs associated with web hosting. Web hosting is a service that allows a website to be accessible on the internet. Hosting services can vary in price and can be paid monthly or annually. The cost of hosting depends on the type of hosting service you choose (shared, VPS, dedicated, cloud), the amount of storage and bandwidth you need, and the level of technical support you require.

Other costs associated with keeping a domain name include:

  • Email hosting: If you want email addresses that use your domain name (e.g., [email protected]), you’ll need to pay for email hosting.
  • Additional features or services include security (SSL/TLS certificate), Site Backups, CDN, etc.

It’s important to note that these costs can add up over time, so it’s wise to budget for them and to consider whether the domain name is an essential part of your business or brand. 

In some cases, it might make more sense to use a free service such as a social media platform or a free blog hosting service rather than maintaining a domain name and website.

Conclusion 

A domain name is a unique address on the internet that directs users to your website. It is the equivalent of a physical address for a website and allows users to find and access a website easily.

 Domain names have two parts: the second-level domain, which is the main name of the website, and the top-level domain, which is the last part of the domain name and can be generic or specific to a country.

The cost of a domain name varies depending on the domain extension and name, with some premium domains costing thousands of dollars. Some registrars also offer domain privacy protection for an additional cost, which protects your contact information from being publicly available.