Domain Names


What is a Domain Name?  A Domain Name is the unique text name that corresponds to the address of a computer on the internet.  Using the Domain Name , internet visitors are able to download copies of the corresponding website.

A Domain Name consists of three elements:  an identifier for a system of internet servers - usually "www" corresponding to the world wide web; the domain name itself; and the domain extension - e.g. ".com".  The resulting combination must be unique, and a system exists to control the definition and registration of Domain Names.

Different Domain Extensions have different intended purposes, and their use may be limited or controlled.

Selecting a Domain Name  A number of companies are licensed to register Domain Names.  Most, if not all of them, provide an online, no obligation facility to allow you to check whether a given name has already been registered.  [A name may be registered even though there is no published website for the name].  Typically companies are only licensed to register Domain Names for specific extensions.  Most are able to register a ".com" domain but not all are able to offer a "" domain.  If you are looking to register a domain with a specific extension then you will first need to select a company that deals with the extension concerned.

If you are lucky, you may find that your choice of Domain Name is still available - all too often this is not the case.  If someone else is using, or has already registered, a domain name that clearly "belongs" with your business you may be able to take action of obtain the rights - or at least prevent them from using the name.  However, more likely, you will just need to think of another name.  Domain Name Registration companies are often able to suggest alternatives from your organisation or product name, or to suggest using an alternative domain extension - e.g. ".net" or ".org".

Other techniques frequently used to obtain a unique name include: misspelling, using hyphens, concatenating two or more words, or inventing a new word altogether - "Google" (instead of googol) and "eBay" are fine examples.  You may wish to consider registering your "dream" domain name for several domain extensions in order to prevent their use by other.

Register Your Domain Name Once you have selected your Domain Name, you need to secure the rights and means of using it.  You will need the services of a suitable Domain Registration Company - shop around as the charges for Domain Name Registration can vary considerably.  Monthly or annual charges vary according to the domain extension and the period for which you are registering.  You will normally need to register the name for a minimum period of one or two years.  If you fail to renew your registration, you will be unable to continue using the domain name and, after a period, your rights to the name will lapse.

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