A domain name is a memorable web address for a particular site that can help people find you online (example: www.amazon.com or www.microsoft.com). Similar to your home’s address, a domain name is your website’s address.
You do not have to be a company or organization to register a domain name. Any individual can do so.
A domain name consists of two parts. In the case of google.com:
- The first part, google, is a unique name reflecting the web site.
- The second part, .com, is the extension, which often describes the website category.
- “.com” for example stands for “commercial.”
- .com, .net, .org are the most popular extensions in the United States. Many others are available however including .biz, .info, .name, and .pro.
- “http://” and “www” are not part of the domain name.
You might choose a domain name based on your own name, the name of your company, keywords that describe your business, even a short phrase— anything that will make your web address easy to remember.
How Do I Get a Domain Name?
Domain names are acquired by registering them with a domain name registrar, an organization accredited to register top-level domains (TLDs). TLDs are domain names ending in standard extensions such as .com, .net, or .org. Your domain name registrar is responsible for maintaining your domain registration records, managing your domain renewals, and other administrative details.
Upon registration, your registrar submits information about your domain name to a central database. This central database, or registry, allows other computers on the Internet to find your domain. This makes it possible to view your web site or send your email.
How Do I Register a Domain Name?
You register a domain name by working with either an approved domain name registrar, or a third party who registers the name on your behalf. Two low priced registrars that I recommend are GoDaddy.com and 1and1.com. Here is list of accredited domain name registrars.
How Much Does It Cost to Register a Domain Name?
Domains are registered on an annual basis for a period of anywhere from one to ten years. Prices range from $10-$30 per year depending on the registrar.
Do I Own The Domain Name I Register?
While many people say they “own” a domain name, what they’re really saying is that they own the exclusive right to use the domain name for a certain period of time. It’s kind of like leasing a car. You have the right to use the car but you don’t really own it.
When you register a domain name, you pay an annual fee for the exclusive right to use that domain. When your registration period is over, you have to renew your domain name registration. If you don’t renew your domain, it will eventually be dropped or re-released back into the general pool of available domain names where anyone can register it. If that happens and someone else registers your domain, your website would be lost.
It’s also worth noting that under certain circumstances, a court or governing organization like ICANN, can take your domain name away from you.