What Is A Domain Name and Why Do I Need One?

People often come to us when they are just getting started in their business and ask us, “what is a domain name and why do I need one?” If you’re a beginner when it comes to domain names, don’t worry. You’re not alone. You might be confusing domain names with website or even website hosting service, and we’re here to help. 

In this overview, we’ll answer all your questions about what is a domain name, how it works, and why you need one. Hopefully we’ll give you tips you need to choose the right domain for your business. 

An Overview To What Is A Domain Name

To put it simply, a domain name is the address of your website. It is the phrase or word that you will type into your URL bar of your browser to find your website. For example, our website is https://nameexperts.com/

You can purchase domain names through a domain registrar, through a hosting provider, or let a domain name broker help you.

What is the DNS?

In answering the question, what is a domain name, we thought we should also address the DNS. Domain names are part of a large network called the Domain Name System (DNS) and it is managed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The ICANN is a non-profit organization responsible for management and maintenance of the DNS, as well as regulating domain registrars.

How Does the DNS Work?

Here’s how it works, as simply as possible. When you type a domain name into your browser, your computer will check if you’ve previously looked at that domain. If not, then your browser will contact the local DNS server to pull it up. Your local DNS server breaks down the domain name into sections. We’ll use our name again as an example. There are three parts to www.nameexperts.com – www., nameexperts, and .com. The .com is known as a top level domain (TLD) and the local DNS server will search for this section first, and then additional serves to find all the details of your domain name and send that information back to the browser you’re using. 

There are obviously a lot more technical steps that go along with that, but that’s the basics of how the DNS works. Let’s talk more about what you really need to know – what types of domain name extensions are available. 

Different Types of Domain Name Extensions

As we discussed above, all domain names are made up of a website name (nameexperts), and a top level domain (.com). Though the extensions can vary, we think it is useful to know the differences between the types of top-level domains available so that when it’s time to choose your domain name, you choose the right one. 

The two types we are going to talk about today are Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) and Sponsored Top-Level Domains (sTLDs). 

Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs)

Normally the best course of action is to choose a reputable TLD like .com, .net, or .org. But because these are so popular, there are millions of domain names that have been registered to date, the name you want might be taken or just hard to find a name that works. There are different and lesser known TLDs. 

Here are some of the most generic:

  • .com (commercial)
  • .info (information)
  • .org (organizational)
  • .net (network)
  • .biz (business)

Sponsored Top-Level Domains (rTLDs)

In addition to gTLDs, there are also some top level domains that are sponsored by organizations or agencies for very specific and often exclusive use. 

Here are some examples you’ll recognize:

  • .gov (used by the US government)
  • .edu (used by educational institutions)
  • .int (used by international organizations)
  • .mil (limited to US military entities only)

Subdomains

We thought we should also mention subdomains. A subdomain is also known as a third level domain and is an extra part of a domain name. They are viewed as separate websites by the search engines, so creating subdomains can help improve your sites SEO. Specifically, a good time to use a subdomain is for a blog. It might look like https://blog.nameexperts.com.

How To Choose The Right Domain Name

Now that we’ve answered what is a domain name, we want to help you choose the right domain name that accurately reflects your business. You want to be easy for your target market to remember and be something that is timeless. Your domain name broker can help you find the perfect domain name and get you started with the process that goes along with it.

Start by doing some research on keywords that are relevant for your business. Whether it’s the name of your business or another keyword that relates to your business and you want to rank for, this type of domain name will help improve your site’s SEO. Another tip is to keep your domain short and memorable. You want it to stand out but be easy to remember – try to keep it three words or less. 

You also want to make sure you avoid numbers and hyphens. People won’t remember where they go and they might mistype. Which leads us into another tip for choosing your domain name, make sure it is easy to spell. Shy away from words with multiple spells or might be difficult to pronounce. Think long term, you want a domain name that supports the growth of your business and will last for years to come. Changing your domain name later can really hurt your business. 

Let Us Help

Getting your domain name right is really crucial for your business or organization. It can help define your brand and be the thing that makes a lasting impression on your audience. Do your research, and let the experts at Name Experts help you find the perfect domain name to fit your needs. We can help you find the right name for your business, and even help you buy and register a name, even if it already belongs to someone else. 

Give us a call today and let us help you with the domain acquisition process. From start to finish, we will walk you through the steps and make sure you get all your questions answered.

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