What is a Domain Name?

Kristin Crabb
By Kristin Crabb

You have most likely heard the term “Domain Name” before.

While some of us may have a general understanding of what a domain name is, there is usually a big gap when it comes to understanding the full scope of a domain name.

Our aim here at PDM is to get you a full and complete understanding of domain names, so you can become a domain name pro by the end of this article!

All you have to do is read on to discover exactly how you can use domain names to your full advantage – while understanding the broader scope of them as well.

Domain Names 101

A domain name is something that defines a website. 

You can type into the web address bar, and hit ‘Enter’ to be taken to the web page in seconds. (Or you can hit ‘Go’ on your smartphone.)

It can also be reflective of an entire brand or company name, while it also assures the ownership and security of a certain site. While that is simple enough, the spectrum of a good domain name goes beyond that…

The good news though is that domain names are much easier to remember compared to IP addresses, since IP’s contain a series of numbers and a bunch of codes that people tend to forget easily. To define the basic scope of domain names from another angle, they are what separates your website, your favorite online store, and any other website from the other sites present on the internet. 

An easy example here is Google… 

The domain name for this is https://www.google.com/, and this domain name of Google cannot be used by anyone else. Domain names are almost like a ‘calling card,’ or sign, a password, or a lock that provides your site some identity, safety, and security. 

A good domain name specifies and immediately notifies the visitors of what your website is all about. Additionally, a good domain can also accentuate the type of ‘brand’ or ‘vibe’ that is consistent with the contents of the web page.

Importance of Domain Names, and How it Works

While computers basically use IP addresses to identify themselves, domain names are the recognizable ways to remember and track websites. 

With the help of registering and using domain names, people can easily search the websites they wish to visit by just their memory. A domain name can come in any combination of letters and numbers, usually with the common domain name extensions such as .org, .com, .net, and more. 

When searching for a new domain name to be used and even branded, they must always be registered and paid for in order to be activated. And just like a license plate or even a social security number, no two active domain names are ever the same. Each one is unique. If someone types in something called, www.yourdomain.com, it will go directly to that website and nowhere else. 

Nobody else can use this same domain name either.

And remember: domain names also come at a small price — usually it rates from $15-25 per year. Plus, there are only a limited number of domain name extensions available, other than the traditional ‘.com’ — which is the most common and known commercial business extension. 

Some Other Common Domain Name Extensions Include: 

.edu – for educational institutions

.mil – military organizations

.org – used for nonprofit organizations

.gov – for the government agencies for their official pages

Today, There Are Also Domain Name Extensions For Your Respective Countries Such As: 

.uk – United Kingdom

.ca – Canada

.th – Thailand

.ph – Philippines. 

Where to find a [Good] Domain Name and How to Register It?

First and foremost, the most important thing to do when coming up with and registering a new domain name is to make sure it is not being used on the internet today!

Remember: every domain name is unique. So if you think that your domain name is too confusing, very easy to forget, or if there is a possibility that someone else already took it, then just think of better ones. 

Coming up with a good domain name should aim to reflect your brand, and convey what you’re really about. For best results, a good domain name must have “easy recall” for people to remember it easily, so they can revisit your site over and over again! 

Afterward, to make your website legal or “official,” you simply have to register it online… 

This system is already set up for you since domain names are generated to a corporation called “Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers” (ICANN). You can register your domain name through ICANN’s accredited list of domain registrars found on their website, and this can be a very quick and simple process. 

Making The New Domain Name Process Easy

Have you given thought to the idea of creating a new, swanky website? 

If so, you can get started in setting it up today… just choose your desired web hosting service, search for your possible domain name(s), fill out the forms that should be filed, then finally pay for your domain. Prior to paying for the domain, note that the price for owning the domain name will almost always show up right away – usually on the same page where you are shopping for the availability of the desired domain name(s).

Once you’ve got that part done, then don’t forget to link your domain to the actual website! By use of the domain manager, enter the web hosting site’s first and then link the secondary server to your registrar setting for your chosen domain name. After this quick process, your domain name will now be directly linked to your website. 

(If this aspect of using the domain manager seems confusing right now, your hosting service like GoDaddy should have directions and support set up to make this part more seamless and easy for you!)

In a case that you don’t have a website yet, park your domain first after purchasing it! “Parking” the domain name means having a reserved website address until you would have your website created and running with your new, chosen domain name.  Parking a domain can be very smart in the case that you find a high-demand domain name at a bargain, and if you have upcoming plans to launch a new website soon.

Differences Between a Domain Name and a Website?

There is indeed a difference between an actual website and a domain name.

To put it simply, the domain name is the easiest way of remembering the address and name of a website, the type of the site you’re visiting, and even the entire brand name of the company. Also, a simple Domain Name can reflect the name of the entire company or corporation… just as www.Google.com, www.Facebook.com, and www.Twitter.com directly reflect the branding of the whole corporation.

There is also a technical difference when it comes to Domain Names vs a Website… 

First, the website itself basically consists of the database, the content, the online accessibility, and is known to be the collection of the web pages hosted on the internet. On the same page, the domain name is the access point to the website – and often even the name or brand or company as well. And as you probably understand by now, the domain name is a key factor to your audience for separating one website from another, simply because each one is named differently from the other! 

Is Transferring a Domain Name Possible?

To be certain that your domain name is eligible for transfer, sign in to your previous registrar online and check it first. 

Per ICANN’s policy regarding the Transfer of Registrations between Registrars, it states that domains that are less than 60 days old – or those domains that have undergone transfer between registrars within the 60 days – are not eligible for transfer. In other words, this means you have to wait for 60 days for your transfer to be processed. 

Then, if all this is settled and clear after this waiting period, you can now prepare your domain name for transfer. To do this, unlock your domain by removing the registrar lock you might have put on your domain for safety and security measures. And if you need assistance, your web hosting company should have direct support, directories, and assistance to make this easy for you.

Choosing ‘.com’ as a Domain Name Extension

The well-known “.com” is indeed preferred if you are running a website linked to any type of commercial business. As you know by now, “.com” is the most known extension on the web. In fact, it is highly suggested that any professional business and brand use the extension “.com” to prove its credibility and trustworthiness almost immediately to its users.

Since this is also the most well-known domain name extension, “.com” is commonly used as a measurement of a site’s professionalism and trustworthiness. For this reason, many organizations, stores, or brands running a website about commercial businesses preferably use “.com” as their extension. For other organizations, they use this .com extension to prove their legitimacy, while industry authorities use this as well for establishing their public presence. 

Making Your Domain Name A Reality!

Before pulling the trigger on a new domain name, please think of your brand first so you can have a concrete idea of what you want your domain name to convey. Don’t just come up with one domain name that you are stuck to, but come up with as many good options as you can, and then narrow it down. 

In processing your domain name, make sure you use a credible hosting site referred by ICANN to avoid any complications. Upon registering your domain name or a case of transfer, learn first the procedures provided to you by your hosting companies support line, guides, and directory.

And if you follow the proper steps, processes, and procedures to make sure that your new website is credible and rememberable, then it will soon be known by many!

 

 

Kristin is a Content Strategist at Power Digital. She was born and raised in San Diego but headed down south to attend the University of Alabama. With a degree in Communications and Advertising, she enjoys creating valuable and engaging SEO focused content to drive traffic and boost rankings for her clients. Roll Tide!