Domain Names

This is part of a series of educational blog posts aimed at de-mystifying some of the essential steps required for anyone to get a web site. In this post we will address Domain Names. We will follow the same What?-Why?-How? format for this blog.

WHAT - What is a Domain Name?

From a simplistic and practical standpoint we can define Domain Name as Website Address. In case you ask "OK but what is a Website Address?" let me give you some examples. Here are some of the most popular addresses on the Internet:,, Simply put, your web site address is used by people to locate and visit your site.

Domain names have 2 parts that you need to pay special attention to:

  1. The name itself. Example: google, yahoo, amazon, getacustomsite, infomarvel etc.
  2. The extension. These are the most popular extensions:
  • .com - commercial business
  • .org - non-profit organization
  • .edu - educational institution
  • .gov - government agency
The important thing to understand is that the "name.extension" combination (known as domain name) has to be unique.

WHY - Why do I need domain names?

You need a domain name to distinguish the location of your web site from that of all the other web sites. Your domain name (web site address) is used by people to locate and visit your site.

HOW - How do I get a domain name?

These are the 3 steps involved in getting a domain name:

Step 1: Come up with a list of domain names ("name.extension" combinations) that you like. Now sort the list in the order of your preference (most desired to least desired).

Step 2: Go down the list and find out if one of your domain names is available. If none of the domain names are available you will need to come up with more domain names. See if any of the new domain names is available.

Step 3: The third and final step is easy - simply register your domain name. Once you register a domain name you own it. Here are a couple of points for you to keep in mind during this step:
  • Act fast: If someone registers the same domain name you came up with before you register, you lose that domain name. So act fast.
  • Decide how long you want to own the domain name - 1 year? 3 years? 5 years? In general, longer the duration, less the cost on a per year basis.
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