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About Domain Names

People new to websites or looking at creating their first website, often find the whole concept of Domains and Hosting to be quite confusing.  This page provides a brief  introduction to Domain Names – What they are; Why we need them, and How to register one (also see our Hosting Plans page for information about Hosting).

What is a Domain Name?

Simply put, a domain name (also referred to as a Host name or web address) is a name that identifies a website on the internet.  Domain names provide an easier to remember name to refer to a numeric IP address. (It is easier to remember your website.com than of 123.345.567.789.)

The system that manages domain names is very flexible and allows multiple IP addresses to be assigned to a single domain name, or multiple domain names to be assigned to a single IP address.

Domain names are different to URLs (universal resource locator).  For example :

  • http://www.yourdomain.com is a URL
  • yourdomain.com is a Domain Name

In this example the domain name has two parts yourdomain and .com.

.com is called top level domain (TLD) and yourdomain would be called second level domain. Similarly if you make a further subdomain and name it blog then the address to that would become blog.yourdomain.com.

In such situations blog would be called third level domain. You can create any number of domains on a TLD without any restriction. Domains of third and higher levels are commonly called subdomains.

You will probably have seen lots of different kinds of TLDs when surfing the web – .com is most commonly used top level domain. Others which are commonly used are .org, .biz, .net etc, but there are  many others.

Apart from these TLDs which are called generic TLDs, there are also many country code TLDs or ccTLDs which are country or region specific. Thus .au is for Australia .us is for USA and .uk is for UK.

When do I need a Domain?

You will need a domain name if you are creating a website, or if you want to use a personalised (professional) email address – something like: yourname@yourbusiness.com.

Choosing a Domain Name

Choosing a domain name is a VERY important aspect of setting up your website as it can influence how well you website ranks in search results – and hence how much traffic you are likely to receive via Search.

Keyword Rich domain names tend to achieve higher rankings, and you may have noticed in your own searches that domains based around the keywords you have used in your search query  often show up on Page 1.  (note: This is not actually because of the domain itself – but more likely due to the way that external websites link to the domain).

Here are some quick tips about choosing a domain name :

  • Wherever possible use primary keyword phrases in your domain
  • Keep it Simple – Long or obscure domain names are difficult to remember and type, so a short and memorable domain is more likely to perform better for non search related traffic.
  • Hyphens are OK – and may be necessary, but try to limit the number of hyphens to 1 or 2

.com OR .com.au

There are different rules and regulations associated with different types of domain names – for example to register a .com.au domain you need to provide an ABN, CAN or RBN as a part of the registration process

Ideally, if your primary target market is based in Australia, you should  use a .com.au domain however, these are a bit more expensive than a .com domain, have a minimum of 2 years registration, have a more rigorous registration process, and will usually take longer to register (.com domains are generally registered immediately,  .com.au domains will usually take longer -sometimes a day or more).  The upside of a .com.au is that you are more likely to find a domain that you like (.com domains are cheaper, quicker, but  much more competitive).

How do I register a Domain?

Registering a domain name gives you control over how the domain is used, but be aware that you do not actually “own” the domain, you register it for a specific period (usually between 1 and 10 years) so are effectively renting the domain for this period.  If you choose not to (or forget to) renew the registration, the domain may become available for someone else to register (and take control over).

Domains can be registered online.  Many sites offer domain registration services, but prices for domain name registration can vary significantly,  so some care should be taken when choosing a domain registrar.   Even though the “registration service you are buying is essentially the same no matter where you get it, the features offered and the functionality available to you to manage your domain will vary.

In-a-Day is partnered with a domain registration service which offers great value domains with excellent domain management facilities.

For a Free eBook Guide to Domains and Hosting, click the “Domains and Hosting Guide icon below. To access In-a-Days Domain Registration Service, click the In-a-Day Domains icon below.