A 2020 Guide: “What is a Domain Name & how do they Work?”

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If you’re looking to improve your knowledge on Domain Names, you’re in the right place.

We’ve put together a fully comprehensive beginners guide on everything you should know about Domains and kept it jargon free (where possible).

Whether you’re looking to make a website, buy a Domain for future re-sale or improve your technical knowledge on the Internet… There will be something valuable for you here:

What is a Domain Name (DN)?

How do Domain Names work?

How do I choose the right Domain Name for me?

What are the different Domain Name types?

How And Where Do I Buy A Domain Name?

Can I Cancel A Domain Name In The Future?

Can I sell a Domain Name?

What Is The Most Expensive Domain Name Ever Sold?

How Do New Domain Names Get Released?

Can I Transfer A Domain Name In Future If I Wanted?

What Is The Difference Between Web Hosting And A Domain Name?

Can I Move My Website To A New Domain Name In Future?

Is Blackpool Web Design a Registrar?

Well, lets get straight to it…

What is a Domain Name (DN)?

Ours is blackpoolweb.design.

A Domain Name is essentially anything that follows after ‘www.’. It acts as a Web Address so Internet browsers know exactly where to go to find your site.

The Internet is a combination of servers (ultra-fast computers online 24/7) that are managed by Web Hosting companies. Each server is identifiable by a specific IP address which is a combination for numbers e.g “01.389.88.1”.

Of course, this isn’t memorable at all. It would be incredibly inconvenient if every time you tried to visit a site you needed the IP address. This is why Domain Names were invented: To be used as a catchy, memorable unique online address so people can remember what to type when trying to find your site.

There are three key parts that will make up a complete Domain Name:

1. Sub Domain

This is the ‘www.’ element of the total DN. This is mostly optional and not required to find the site you’re looking for.
Example: www.blackpoolweb.design

2. Second Level Domain

The part that’s unique to you between the dots.
Example, www.blackpoolweb.design

3. Top Level Domain

The very end of the DN.
Example, www.blackpoolweb.design

How do Domain Names (DN) work?

Your Domain Name will be registered at a Domain Registrar. Web Browsers and other web based platforms use these to identify which server your site is hosted on. 

Each time you search for a specific Domain Name e.g ‘www.blackpoolweb.design’ you’re Web Browser springs into action a chain of events. We’ve broken them down in plain English so you can understand whats actually behind the scenes.

1. You type into a browser ‘www.blackpoolweb.design” and press Search!

2. Your Web Browser sends a global request for information on our Domain. Specifically, they’re looking for our Name Servers linked to our Domain. (Where our website physically lives)

3. Your Web Browsers is notified of our Name Servers and re-directed to our site. Name Servers act as the Internet’s sign post directing Web Browsers to the right place.

4. Your Web Browser confirms it’s in the right place by performing an electronic ‘handshake’ with the our server. Which then uploads the correct information on screen.

It’s crazy how fast that all happens right?

How do I choose the right Domain Name for me?

We’ve put together the best tips we can give anybody who is looking to choose the a new Domain Name to consider before committing to one:

1. Stick with popular Top-Level-Domains – the safest bet is to stick with a ‘.com’ or a ‘.co.uk’ as they are the most popular, easiest to remember and receive the most web traffic. Most companies would agree, its probably best to avoid obscure TLD’s (although this is a little hypocritical of us to say this).

2. The shorter the better – this means your DN is likely to be more memorable, quicker to type and more readable via search engines.

3. Check if its already in use – you might be looking for ‘mandyscakes.co.uk’ and find that there is already another well established business using ‘mandyscakes.com’… Although you could still use this, the Second-Level-Domain is in use by another business. Your customers could be led to your competition by a typo.

4. Keep it in brand – you definitely want to think of something creative and unique that is in line with your business brand. Try saying it out loud and asking yourself the question “Does this sound right for me?”.

5. Avoid numbers & hyphens – these will definitely make the site’s address be harder to type, pronounce and just make it far less catchy that it would be with out it. Remember, people love whats convenient.

What are the different domain names types?

There are different types of Top-Level-Domains(TLDs) that are the last part of the complete DN e.g ‘www.google.com’.
Mostly, you will find they are broken down into three main categories such as:

Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) – a generic pre-defined list of TLD. For example all sites that end with ‘.com’, ‘.org’, ‘.gov’, ‘edu’, ‘.net’, ‘.mil’.

County Code Top-Level Domains (ccTLD) – is a two letting domain extension referencing the geographical location of the sites origin. For example: ‘.uk’, ‘.eu’ or ‘.de’.

New Top Level Domains (nTLDs) – there are the unique words used by companies to pick something in line with their services. For example: ‘.zone’, ‘.properties’ or like us have prompted for ‘.design’.

How and where do I buy a Domain Name?

Nowadays, it’s incredibly cheap and easy to purchase a Domain Name online. We’ve drafted some of the best places to look if you’re considering purchasing a new Domain Name as a start-up business. 

There control-panels are beginner friendly, usually they offer promotional discounts for the sites first year and their customer service is quality. Even if you’re not ready to buy, it’s helpful to check out their websites and just run some checks on availability. It’s free to window shop!

*We aren’t being paid for the promo, we genuinely recommend these to one-time buyers of Domains.

Go Daddy – if you Google anything to do with Domains you’re incredibly likely to see them. Theres good reason for this as their service & prices are great.

123 Reg – Another big player in the DN game that does great deals for first time site owners. Would always recommend to take a look at the prices 123 Reg has to offer as their first time buyer promo’s are pretty good.

Domain – I wonder what they sell? Specialists in the trade with a super-easy contract panel. Definitely worth considering to purchase a Domain through Domain.

Can I cancel a Domain Name in the future?

Yes, if you no longer want to use your Domain Name then you can cancel its subscription.

You should always read the terms and conditions of the agreement you signed when purchasing.

For example, the reason why the sites above we’ve recommended can offer great deals for start-ups is they essentially give you the first year free on a 90% reduction on the condition you have to renew for at least one additional year.

Can I sell a Domain Name?

Yes, pretty much anybody can buy and sell Domain Names. As a DN is essentially a web address… You’d be dipping your toes in the online property market.

A market with a huge demand! You can contact the companies above in relation to selling your DN, even if it’s currently registered with a different service provider. Some people have made a career of buying and selling domain names by pre-empting the markets demand and watching for new releases.

A previous Google employee actually purchased ‘google.com’ once as their system failed to renew. A mistake that cost Google £6006.13, (notice the numerics of the cash figure). It was a brilliant minutes work for the ex-employee Vlad!

What is the most expensive Domain Name ever sold?

Some of these figures are absolutely incredible…

1. business.com – 1999 – £280,000,000+

2. lasvegas.com – 2005 – £68,000,000+

3. carinsurance.com – 2010 – £37,000,000+

4. insurance.com – 2010 – £28,000,000+

5. vacationrentals.com – 2009 – £28,000,000+

6. privatejet.com – 2012 – £22,000,000+

7. voice.com – 2019 – £22,000,000+

8. internet.com – 2009 – £13,500,000+

9. 360.com – 2015 – £12,750,000+

10. insure.com – 2009 – £12,000,000+

How do new Domain Names get released?

There are generally three stages when it comes to the release of new Domain Names:

1. Sunrise Period (30 days): the part in the launch process where the owner of the registered trademark has a grace period where it is held in reservation for them.

2. Landrush Period (30 days): most Domain Names during this period will allow anybody to apply to register. They’re then allocated appropriately to new bidders. If multiple bids are places on the same DN then an auction is held to decide the who wins the rights to use the new name.

3. General Availability (Ongoing): These are available to purchase by the general market and generally will have their price lowered in order to increase the likelihood of the sale of the remaining names.

Can I transfer a Domain Name in future if I wanted?

Yes, this is something you will be able to do on a the following conditions:

1. The registration or last transfer must be longer than 60 days ago

2. The Domain Name must not be in the process of Redemption or Deletion

3. You should have your DN’s authorisation code a.k.a EPP code

4. You have disabled the privacy protection security and your ownership information is still valid

If you fit the above criteria then you can contact your current/new DN Registrar as this is something they will assist you with.

What is the difference between Web Hosting and a Domain Name?

To understand the three components we use on a daily basis that will outline the differences is:

Your Domain Name is the post code & address of where you’re going.
Your Web Host is the property itself, where your site lives.
Your Web Browser is the sat-nav/car that takes you to your destination

Of course, this isn’t the most technical of explanations but its pretty bang on.
If you need any further information on Web Hosting then watch this space. A much more detailed post is coming in due course.

Can I move my website to a new Domain Name in future?

Yes, this can normally be done quite easily by using your web host’s name-servers on your new DN to redirect to your existing site.
We would recommend discussing this with your Domain Registrar or Web Designer as they are usually pretty helpful with this at the point of transfer.

Is Blackpool Web Design a Domain Name Registrar?

No, we aren’t.

We can assist you with pretty much all of the general Domain Name tasks that are required for maintaining a successful website. We have experience with most of the major DN Registrars so are happy to handle this part of the Web Design process for you.

Conclusion

Well, thats all we’ve got for now…

The team at Blackpool Web Design hope you’ve got everything you were looking for. As we mentioned earlier we keep our content updated so if you feel there is anything we missed or you have something to add… Please do leave us a comment.

If you’re considering launching a new website and you’re essentially at the start of the process with getting things set-up, drop us a message. Our aim is to ensure everybody has an opportunity to make an information decision on taking their venture online.