A beginners guide to domain names

16
Sep

What is a Domain Name?
Other names used are URLs (Uniform Resource Locator) or Web Addresses, but for the most part, they’re the same thing. A Domain Name or Web Address is a user-friendly name for a website, such as ebay.co.uk, amazon.com or microsoft.com.

Domain names link (or resolve) to an IP (Internet Protocol) address which could be thought of as a digital postal address. An IP address looks like 214.213.87.564 which although is useful to a computer, is not all that useful or memorable to a human being. For this reason, Domain Names were introduced to make internet addressing much more usable for us human beings.

How do I get a Domain Name?
Domain Names can be acquired from a Registrar. Most Web design companies will offer this service for you, however it’s simple to acquire a Domain Name yourself. Popular registrars include 123-Reg, Go Daddy, UK Reg and 123 Connect and FL1 Group.

Who owns a Domain Name?
Domain names are generally owned by a small number of key bodies. For example Nominet and TUCOWS. When you register a domain name, you in effect lease the domain name, you never actually own it.

How long can I register a domain name for?
In theory as long as you want. Typically 2 years tends to be the standard registration term.

Can someone else take control of my domain name?
Technically no, although in theory if someone managed to convince your Registrar that they were working for your company, they could redirect your domain name to somewhere other than where it should be. This isn’t
typical, but sadly can happen.

What happens when my domain name expires?
When a registration expires, it falls in to what’s called a Redemption Period. Typically as the last registrant, you are given first refusal to renew the registration. If the Redemption Period elapses, the domain name becomes publically available for purchase again. Depending on the registrar, there is often an additional charge to renew a domain name once it’s in redemption.
This can sometimes be hundreds of pounds.

How much do they cost?
They vary. A .co.uk domain name will cost between £7.00 and £20.00 for 2 years, whereas a .com will be between £25 and £50 for two years.

What suffixes are available?
There are a wide range that are both generic and specific to a particular country.
For a comprehensive list visit: http://www.sharpened.net/helpcenter/domains.php

What happens if someone else has registered my domain name?
This is common where a web designer has registered a domain name in their own name rather than their client’s. This is not good practice, but unfortunately is not uncommon. In some cases it’s possible to write to the registrar and provide evidence that the domain name registration is rightfully yours. This is not always a simple process and can take many months to resolve.

How many domain names can you have?
As many as you need. Always purchase the key .co.uk, .net and .com names for your business name if you can. This can protect your brand and block your competitors from trading under your name.

In summary
1) ensure a domain name is registered in your business’ name, not your web designers’
2) ensure your domain names don’t expire. This can be a costly mistake
3) protect your brand and buy all the necessary .co.uk, .net and .com domain names
4) if you’re a business, avoid .org and .org.uk. These are for generally for not for profit organisations, not businesses.

Don’t forget, if you need any more advice or need help with any of the above call us on 01727 739812!

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