The internet is a fantastic tool to use, but it can be daunting to learn the more technical aspects. That’s why we have started this 101 series; to break-down fundamentals of the internet to help you better understand how things work.
Today’s topic is domain names, which we use everyday to visit websites and send emails. Let’s get started!
What is a domain name?
A domain name is a string of alphanumeric text that points to an IP address so users can access a website using an internet browser (e.g. Chrome, Safari, etc).
The domain name is just part of what makes up a website URL. Below is a diagram of all the parts of a URL:
Domain names are always followed by a TLD (top-level domain), such as .com, .net, .org, or .org.
FUN FACT – As of 2021, there are over 1589 different TLDs! Click here to view the full list.
Why would I need one?
Domain names are crucial when it comes to branding. Whether you’re a corporation or a sole-trader, having a custom domain for your website & business email looks professional.
They’re also great for SEO purposes; custom domains make it a lot easier to advertise your business and for clients to find you online.
How do I get a domain name?
Registrars make it possible for anyone to register a domain name. It’s as simple as placing a registration order and waiting for the order to be processed.
There are some TLDs, like .com and .net, that anyone can register without needing to provide any documentation.
Other TLDs, such as .org, were specifically created for non-profit organisations and require the registrant to provide proof before registration.
All country-specific TLDs require the registrant to have a presence in said country before registering a domain with their TLD.
For example, to register a .au domain you need to have a presence in Australia, as well meet eligibility criteria depending on the specific TLD you’re after.
What if the domain name I want is owned by someone else?
It sucks when the domain name you’re after isn’t available, but there are likely other domains that are similar and can still work for you.
You can try abbreviating the domain name, changing the TLD, or coming up with something completely new!
For example, if you wanted to register test123.com but it wasn’t available you can check if any of the following are available:
- test123.com.au (or the relevant country-specific TLD)
If you really want a specific domain and aren’t interested in alterations, you can try contacting the registrant of the domain and making an offer.
So long as the registrant doesn’t have ID Protection, you can find their contact information by performing a Whois Lookup using a tool like this one.
If the registrant does have ID Protection enabled, you can try contacting the registrar and ask if they can forward your offer to the registrant.
NOTE – This will not guarantee the registrant will release the domain to you, regardless of how large of an offer you make.
Be prepared for the registrant to decline your offer and have a backup plan incase things don’t go as planned.
If you have any questions about domains or would like to register one, contact us by submitting a support ticket from your Client Area account!