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A domain name is an online address that allows users to access the exact location of a website, which is the Internet Protocol or IP address. The IP address is a unique combination of numbers and characters which is too difficult to remember.
The domain name simplifies it into words so that it’s easy for users to remember and type it in the browser URL whenever they want to access a particular website. In simple words, domain names are like website names, representing your business on the internet and if your website is your office, the domain name is its address.
As we have already established that a domain name is the unique identity of your business, it is essential for any online business to own a domain name. Not only will it make you look professional, but also help you in building credibility, improve SEO, protect your trademarks and copyrights, boost your brand awareness, and so on.
Still not convinced? Here are a few reasons:
If you want to buy domain online, you need to find a domain registrar that can help you get domain names of your preference for your website. There are a lot of domain registrars out there and everyone promises to give you the best domain registration services.
However, choosing the right domain registrar is highly essential as it saves you from possible future problems. Apart from making the process of domain purchase easy and simple, it also helps in protecting your brand name and facilitates shifting to a different hosting platform if you need it in the future.
The huge amount of options of domain registrars might get a little overwhelming for you. And that is why we have put together some of the best ones to make it easier for you to decide:
1. GoDaddy - One of the oldest and the biggest players in the domain registration industry, GoDaddy has successfully completed over 75 million domain name registrations for more than 18 million customers throughout its existence. Its powerful yet user-friendly domain management interface offers features like domain transfer, contact information updation, name server changes, bulk domain renewal management, and various other domain customizations.
2. Domain.com - Founded in 2000, Domain.com is one of the most popular domain name registrars. It has a domain availability search tool that lets you check domain name availability. It comes with additional tools like free whois, whois privacy protection, top domain registrar including private registration, bulk registration, easy domain transfer, easy DNS domain management, email account, email forwarding, and so many more.
3. Bluehost - Primarily, Bluehost is an official WordPress hosting partner and is one of the largest hosting companies in the world. But besides that, they also offer domain name registration services. If you are taking their web hosting services, you can get a free domain name along with a free SSL certificate for your website. And they provide additional features like the ability to add unlimited subdomains, professional emails through G Suite (Google Workspace), malware protection for websites, and more.
4. Network Solutions - One of the largest domain registrars on the planet with over 7 million domain registrations, Network Solutions provides various other services like website building, web hosting, business email address, website security tools, digital marketing, SEO services, and IT support. Their domain name check tool provides you with instant domain name search features and even shows premium domain names in its results. Additional features include WHOIS privacy, DNS name management, private registration, and so on.
5. HostGator - HostGator is a one-shop stop, where website owners can get both domain names and hosting services for their websites. Besides a great selection of domain extensions, domain privacy, and user-friendly DNS management tools, their domain search tool can help you with instant domain search. Since they have a website building tool, they offer free domain names and hosting if you buy their website building plan. Their domain management platform is user-friendly too and if required, you can carry out a domain transfer easily whenever you want.
6. Namecheap - A great domain registrar, their domain search tool can help you check domain name availability, and gives suggestions when your preferred domain name is unavailable. Their add-on features include premium DNS domain, domain privacy, and whois privacy.
7. DreamHost - Since DreamHost is a web hosting service platform besides being a domain name registrar, it offers free domain names along with domain privacy to the customers who sign up for their shared unlimited hosting plan. However, if you don’t want their hosting services, you can just buy domain online from them along with free private registration. With over 400 TLDs and all necessary domain management tools, it is a great place for domain purchase.
8. BuyDomains - BuyDomains is a registrar for buying premium domain names. Premium domain names are those domain names that are already registered but their owners have put them up for sale. And this usually happens when professional domain buyers buy domain names that are short, memorable, and most importantly brandable, and are valuable enough to be sold in the future at a profit. And that is the reason why they are more expensive than regularly available domain names, and this concept is termed as domain flipping. BuyDomains allows you to check premium domain name availability and gives you premium domain name suggestions if they match your search terms, and accordingly, you can get domain from them.
Picking a domain name might seem like a very basic task, but only it’s not. A domain name plays a major role for any business, and here are a few considerations you need to make before picking one:
We have already established how essential it is for online businesses to get domain names of their own. In simple words, it can make or break a business, and here’s how:
What is the recommended length for a domain name?
More than a decade ago, most domain names used to consist of 5-6 characters. The most important reason being that the shorter the domain name, the easier to remember it. However, due to the huge number of websites that have come up since then, the options have considerably reduced and now the recommended length for a domain name is under 12 characters.
Even then, when you use generic domain extensions like .com, .org, .net, etc. the chances of finding short and suitable domain names are negligible. But thanks to new and relevant domain extensions like .press, .store, .space, .fun, .online, and .tech, you can choose a domain name within the ideal length of 12 characters that also match your brand.
A domain name comprising 12 characters or less, including one or two words, will help you stand out from the clutter, and allow your audience to remember you. Moreover, it will be short, crisp, brandable, and unique.
What are domain name rules?
Before making your domain purchase, here are a few rules that you will need to consider. There is a lot of what you can do and what you can’t with your domain name, and here they are:
Once you have shortlisted a few catchy, meaningful, and relevant domain names, here’s what you have to do to buy domain online:
1. Find a reliable domain registrar
The first step is to find a reliable company that registers and manages domain names, known as a domain registrar. It should be accredited by the non-profit organization, ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) which regulates the whole domain industry.
There are many companies that could be running a scam in the name of domains, or have hidden fees and end up burning a hole in your pocket. This is why you need to find a reliable domain registrar, for example, radix.website is a great domain provider in the market.
Since it might get confusing amidst so many domain registrars, here are a few things you can consider before picking yours:
2. Run a Domain Name Search
Once you have finalized the registrar, you need to run a domain name check or website domain search. It’s also important that you pick the right domain name extension for your business.
The most generic extensions that you would have seen are .com, .net, .org, etc. Country-specific domains are like .us for the USA, .uk for the United Kingdom, .in for India, and so on.
However, if you pick generic extensions like these, it will be really difficult to find the domain name of your choice as they might have been already taken. So we suggest you to go for newer niche specific extensions, that have a wider variety of domain name options for you like:
3. Pick Your Domain
Once you have selected your domain name, you can proceed to the checkout page, where you will have to choose your preferred domain registration period. Most registrars offer a minimum period of one year, but many might require you to pay for two as well.
If you know you’re going to be using it for a long time, and are getting a good discount, you might choose a longer period like 5-10 years as well.
4. Complete the Domain Registration
After completing the payment, you would need to fill out all the details to complete the domain name registration. You will have to provide details like your name, address, contact info, email address, and so on.
5. Verify Domain Name Ownership
The final step for you is to verify your ownership of the domain name which usually happens through your registered email id where you get a verification link on your email. Once you click on it, you can follow the further steps and complete the verification process of your domain name ownership.
That’s all there is to it. Now you know how to buy domain or website names and complete the initial registration process.
When you have to buy domain online, in some cases you might not be able to find the exact domain name you want, as it’s already owned by someone else. But you need not lose hope, as it’s still possible that it’s available, and you will just have to buy it from the person who owns it instead of a domain registrar, which would be like a domain transfer.
Here are the steps involved when you have to buy domain name from another person:
1. Find out who is the existing owner
Start by looking for the existing owner on the WHOIS directory, which is like the White Pages of domain name owners. You can find their contact details there unless they have chosen to keep it private.
Even in those cases, there might be a private email address listed, to which if you send an email, it’s most probably going to reach the owner. If that doesn’t work too, there’s also a chance that the owner’s contact details are provided on the domain’s website.
2. Negotiate a Fair Price
Once you have made contact and received a response, you will have to make an offer for the domain purchase. If you are not very familiar with domain name costs, especially premium domain names, like in this case you could hire a domain broker to help you in facilitating the deal. Some professionals buy valuable domain names for domain flipping and want to sell them at a good profit later. You will have to be very careful in buying from such domain flippers, as their aim is to sell it at the highest possible price, and yours is to buy it at the lowest possible price.
3. Complete the payment
Once the deal is finalized, the last step is for you to complete the payment for the domain transfer, and this is the tricky part. You want to make sure that you actually get the ownership of the domain you pay for, and since this might not be through an official registrar, taking extra precautions are of the essence. You could use an escrow service so that both the parties are safe and satisfied.
Just like a house needs an address, a website needs a domain name. Every website has its unique IP or Internet Protocol address. Now the IP address is a unique set of numbers distinguished by periods, which is impossible to memorize. Because there’s not just one site that a user would want to visit, and imagine how many IP addresses would they have to remember to visit these sites.
That’s where the domain name comes into play. A domain name is the name that you choose for your website’s address, and whenever users enter it on their search browser, they will land up on your website. So in a way, domain names are website names.
Now DNS domain is the naming database that is responsible for locating the domain names and translating them into IP addresses. DNS or domain name system maps the domain name of a website to the IP address that is linked to it so that people can reach it easily.
For instance, your website’s IP address could be 66.261.67.1, whereas your domain name could be mybusiness.store.
Even though websites and domain names are closely knit, they are not the same thing. A website is a collection of web pages that together store and display content and convey specific information to its visitors.
Besides HTML pages that display content, it also comprises CSS stylesheets that govern styles like font type and size, spacing around elements, button color, and so much more. There are images and other media files on the website like audio and video files.
Now the name that you need to type in to land on this website is the domain name or the website name. Website names or domain names are simply the addresses that take you to the websites they represent when you type them in your search browser.
You can have a domain name without having a website, meaning you can buy domain names beforehand and keep them with you. But you can’t have a website without having a domain name.
We have already established that when you type the domain name on the search browser, you land up on the website. But how does that exactly happen, let us understand!
There is something called the DNS (domain name system), which is a set of servers that store the IP addresses linked to their correct domain names. Whenever you enter a domain name in your search browser, it sends a request to this very DNS.
Now this DNS will look up the IP address associated with your domain name and pass it on to the location that has stored the website. It will then fetch the website contents and send it back to the browser that searched for it, and the desired website will display on your screen.
The global non-profit organization, ICANN is responsible for coordinating the Internet’s core systems of unique identifiers, known as the Domain Name System (DNS). As explained above, the role of DNS is to translate easy and memorable domain names to their respectively linked IP addresses.
DNS follows a very hierarchical model of the organization where ICANN is responsible for coordinating and designating TLD name database operators or registries.
The TLD registries provide authoritative online database services that are accessible to the public, for their respective top-level domain name (i.e. .net, .de, .info). And the registrants who have registered second or third level domain names are responsible for the DNS services that relate to their own domains.
In this whole framework, the responsibility is distributed where ICANN’s primary role is to set global policies for the TLD and IP address registries. It helps in assuring the integrity and stability of the naming and address allocation systems of the internet.
For TLDs that are not country-specific, ICANN acts as the neutral accrediting body for the competitive registrars. It monitors their compliance with their published DNS standards and accreditation agreements.
Besides that, ICANN also provides various services like the management of the DNS domain root zone file. It includes the authoritative list of the TLD registries and the master name servers for each of them, that have been publicly made available through a system of 13 root name servers. These services are commonly known as the “IANA functions” because before ICANN was created in 1998, these were being performed by the IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority).
Which device is responsible for DNS domain?
A DNS server is responsible for the functionality of the DNS domain. It is a computer server that helps in translating the domain name that a user types in their browser into something that a computer can understand to locate a website.
Humans can understand domain names and computers can understand IP addresses, and the DNS server helps in connecting the two. This process can be divided into a few parts:
As soon as the DNS resolver receives the response from the authoritative name server, the website is displayed on the user’s screen. Now even though this process might seem long with a lot of back and forth, it actually happens within a couple of seconds or less.
Which device is responsible for DNS domain?
There’s a common misconception that keeps floating around that there is a total number of 13 DNS root servers, but it is not the case. It is because due to certain limitations in the original architecture of the DNS domain, the maximum number of server addresses in the root zone couldn’t exceed 13. And for each of the 13 addresses, there was supposed to be only one server, most of them located in the United States.
However, at present, each of the 13 IP addresses has various servers, like a cluster of servers. They together help in creating a huge network of servers all around the globe using Anycast routing and distributing the requests based on their load and proximity. There are more than 600 DNS root servers spread out across various continents, which helps in decentralizing, and if there is any issue with any server, the other servers don’t let the process stop.
ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) hosts the DNS servers for one of the 13 IP addresses and has delegated the operations of the other 12 to different organizations in the world. Here is a list of all the organizations along with the DNS root servers and IP addresses they host:
|B.root-servers.net||18.104.22.168||University of Southern California (ISI)|
|D.root-servers.net||22.214.171.124||University of Maryland|
|F.root-servers.net||126.96.36.199||Internet Systems Consortium, Inc.|
|G.root-servers.net||188.8.131.52||US Department of Defense (NIC)|
|H.root-servers.net||184.108.40.206||US Army (Research Lab)|
Your brand name is directly connected to your domain name, and any potential risk to your domain name would be a potential risk to your brand name as well. It has happened with companies where a past employee, the website developer, or the competitor was in dispute, and they attacked the business by taking control of their domain name.
To protect your brand, you will need to protect your domain name in the following ways:
A complete domain name known as a fully qualified domain name (FQDN) is structured into three parts. It starts with the host or machine name (like “www” indicating world wide web), followed by the website name, and ends with the TLD or top level domain (like .website or .site). All three parts are separated by periods to form an FQDN like www.mywebsite.site.
We will be covering TLDs separately in detail below. Before that, let’s look at the other parts of the domain name structure.
Second-Level Domain (SLD)
The second level domain or SLD represents the actual website name without any extension or host name. From the above-mentioned example, your SLD would be mywebsite.
The SLD plays a major role because your audience will associate it directly with your brand name, and that is what will need to be stuck in their heads for them to visit your website in the future.
SLD can be anything and you can pick any SLD you want. But for the domain name availability, you will need to find a unique combination of the SLD and TLD that is currently not being used by anyone else and is available for you.
For instance, you might not get mywebsite.com but you might get mywebsite.site. So settle on the SLD first, because that needs to be your brand name or at least somehow relating to it, and then find a TLD that belongs to your niche and has your preferred SLD available.
With most domain registration platforms, you will have a domain name check option where you can find the domain name you require for your website.
Third Level Domain
The third level domain is the name the complete domain name starts with and in most cases, you will see that it's www or world wide web. However, for very large companies the third level domain is not always this and you might see third level domains like www1 or www2.
A domain that is located under another domain according to the DNS hierarchy, is a subdomain. By definition, SLD is a subdomain too, but it is just the TLD’s subdomain.
But when you talk about a subdomain, you are usually referring to the SLD’s subdomain, and in that way, it could be the third level domain as well. So, “www” is kind of a subdomain as well.
A subdomain is a part of the main domain, is easily changeable, and can be used to create a unique page for the site to drive traffic from there to the main site. Here are a few examples of subdomains:
Top Level Domains or TLDs
A Domain Extension is also known as top level domain or TLD and you would see it as the suffix of your website URL. The most common ones that you must have heard would be .com, .org, .net, and so on. Initially, these TLDs used to suffice but with the growth in the number of websites on the web, the demand for unique domain names increased too, and so did the need for newer TLDs.
The TLDs are divided into different kinds as well:
Now, these had been working really well too, but with the huge number of websites out there, the availability of unique domain names with these TLDs has considerably decreased as well. If you want to purchase domain names that are unique and of your choice, here is a top level domain list that you can pick from:
Apart from being new and unique, these TLDs are highly niche-specific and you can use the one that suits your brand the best. For instance, if you have an eCommerce store you could pick .store, for a tech startup you could pick .tech, for a media and press brand you could go with .press, and so on.
There are a lot of factors that influence the cost of a domain name. But before we get into those, let’s understand that every domain registrar has its own pricing structure as well, which includes standard pricing, renewal fee, packages, and accessorial fees. Roughly, domain purchase costs $10-15 per year.
Sometimes, there are hidden fees involved that you find out later and you end up paying four times the original amount. In most cases, it is the domain transfer charge that registrars usually charge to prevent their customers from leaving.
In some other cases, registrars fraudulently offer a discounted price for a longer period of time but don’t actually pay for that period and keep the extra money for themselves. When you learn about it later, they say that they have a no refund policy and put you in a bad position.
You need to beware of such scams happening if you want to pay the right amount for your domain purchase. There are also such third party platforms that can help you with keeping a check if you’re getting whatever you pay for.
Now let’s look at the factors that influence the domain pricing so much that they can cost you in single-digit dollars or in millions of dollars as well.
Lastly, you need to keep in mind the additional costs that come with owning a domain name. Most people just look at the one-time fee and forget about the renewal costs, and that comes as a surprise later.
Every domain name has a validity period and needs to be renewed every year unless you have paid for a longer period at once. But whenever that period ends, you will still need to pay for the renewal.
Besides the renewal cost, there are also addons like privacy protection that can help you secure your business or personal details for an additional charge. Even though these don’t charge you a huge amount, you will still need to consider them to estimate your domain price.
What will you need to pay?
From the above-mentioned factors, you must have understood there is no fixed domain price and it can cost you anywhere from tens to millions of dollars. If you are a little flexible about your domain choice and are not after a specific aftermarket domain, you should be able to find something within a minimum budget. Moreover, if you go for newer and niche-specific TLDs as we mentioned above, you should be able to get an even better deal.
Not only can you own multiple domain names but you should own multiple domain names. Owning multiple domains can play a major role in various areas like marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), brand, legal reasons, and so on. Let’s understand why it’s important to own multiple domain names for any business:
As we mentioned earlier, a domain extension is a top level domain or TLD, that comes as the suffix of the website name. For instance, the most common one is .com, and apart from that, a few other common ones are .org, .net, and many more.
With the growth in the number of websites in the past decades, the demand for these extensions also kept increasing, and the number of domain extensions today has crossed 1500, from just a handful back in the day.
Domain extensions are mainly divided into two broad categories:
If you come to look at it objectively, anyone would think that .com is the top domain. And why wouldn’t it be? With half the websites in the world under its domain, it is the king of domains. Besides that, there are other really famous domains like .net and .org as well.
However, just because they have covered a major portion of the market share, getting the advantage of being the oldest players, is it really fair to call them top domains today? Before we tell you what the top 10 domains according to us would be for you, you need to know why famous domains like .com are not the best choice. Here’s why:
Here are the top 10 domains that could give your website a unique identity, and authenticity, and that too at a budget:
What are restricted domain names?
Restricted domain names are those that are not allowed to be used by any and every individual, business, or other organizations. These domain names are there to denote a specific purpose or geographic location.
Whoever satisfies the particular prerequisites of such restricted domain names, can use them. Most ccTLDs come under the restricted category.
For instance, you can’t buy and use the TLD .us if you are not based in the US. You will need to have a valid address, citizenship, or in some way be affiliated to the US if you want to use that domain extension. Similarly, you can’t use .nyc if you are not based in New York city.
Same applies to TLDs like .uk, .au, .in, and so on. Apart from ccTLDs, many gTLDs are also restricted for use by everyone.
For instance, you can’t use the domain extension .gov, if you do not belong to the government, and your website is not representing the government. Similarly, you can’t use .edu, unless your website is created for educational purposes, or .ngo unless your website represents a valid non-governmental organization.
Which TLDs can be registered without restriction?
Any TLD that is not created for a very specific purpose and does not represent a particular country or location can be registered without any restriction. For instance, you can use .com, .net, .site, and many such TLDs without any restriction.
There are many niche-specific domains like .tech, .fun, .store, etc. that represent a particular area but do not come with a mandate that you can’t use them for a website representing something else as well. However, to convey the right message to your audience, we recommend that you pick such TLDs to match your niche. For example, there’s no point in using .tech for a website that has nothing to do with technology.
Many people think that domain extensions don’t matter as much as website names that represent the second level domains. However, that is not at all true. Let us tell you how you should choose a domain extension and why:
Published in 1967, ARPANET laid the foundation for the internet that we all use today, by introducing a concept for the network. The idea was first put into practice In 1969, with the interconnection of four computers, and kept growing over the years.
However, their concept was highly complex, and to simplify it, Domain Name System or DNS was introduced in 1983 and published by Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). It helped in transforming the internet into a more diverse, collaborative, and user-friendly environment.
The domain name industry has been constantly evolving and so many new gTLDs have been added to the existing gTLDs and ccTLDs. Without domain names, users would have had to enter long numeric IP addresses, and browsing the web would be a really difficult process.
Building the internet that we have today, has taken more than 4 decades, and a lot of research and technology agreements all around the globe. The domain name has been an inherent part of this technology and continues to contribute to its growth.
At present, there are over 1,500 domain extensions that people can choose from to buy domain online. But let us have a look at how we got here since the inception:
Here’s why Namify is the most preferred name generator by entrepreneurship experts such as Timoté Chanut (Entrepreneur and Tech Educator), Ali Mirza (Growth Marketer & Digital Entrepreneur) and Marty Englander (Entrepreneur & Web Developer)