What is a domain name?
A domain name is an address on the internet with which people can reach your website. By typing your domain name into an inline search bar or a web browser, the pages of your website are shown. The domain name that is typed in is just the actual location of the server that has your website files stored.
Why do I need a domain name?
Here are a few reasons having a domain name are important.
- If you ever switch web hosts, your domain name will go with you. Regular visitors to your page and know what your domain name or address are would still end up on your page even though they're actually being redirected to a new website (i.e. your old page that is now hosted on a new server that is run by someone else).
- When it comes to businesses, domain names will help you develop trust with your clientele, as well as a great deal of credibility. Not many people would be willing to conduct business with a company that does not have a domain name of its own.
- Having a domain name that describes the business you are in, makes people more likely to remember that name easily, which means they can return to your site time and again without having to look you up.
Do all my domain names have to be hosted live?
Contrary to popular opinion, you don't necessarily have to have a website to register a domain name. you can park a new domain temporarily, even as an incomplete page, without having a fully-fleshed website up and running.
When you buy a domain, you own the domain, not the host that you use to buy or park the domain. The contact information associated with that domain, data forwarding, servers, etc. all belong to you. You can sell these rights, transfer them, renew them, let them expire, or whatever else you may want.
How do I register a domain?
Many web hosts register domain names for their customers for free, while others can help you with registration but you have to pay registration fees yourself.
Domain names are sometimes hard to find, especially the good ones. Below you can learn more about high-value names and how to pick them.
Choosing a domain name to register
If you're thinking about registering a domain name, first come up with the name you want to register. Payment for registration is usually done by credit card. The easiest thing to do is to go to a popular web host (aka web registrars) and buy the domain through them. They'll register, host, and keep your page in your name for a year at first, and then with regular renewals, you can keep your domain in your name for as long as you want.
You can register domains ending in .com, .net, .org, .biz, .info, .us, .ca, .tv, .name, .cc, .de, .sr, .md, .co.uk, .us.com, and more.
Before paying for a domain, however, check with your host, because chances are they may give you a free domain name for hosting with them.