Domain Names


Some of you may want to build a blog, others may create a personal website, and some business owners may want to create an online store (ecommerce website). Regardless of type of website you're planning to create, registering a domain name is an essential first step in making a website.

What is a domain name?

A domain name is an "unique", human readable Internet Address which is mapped to machine readable IP Address. A domain name is used to setup a website, and is also used to create email addresses. It is desirable to register a memorable, short and keyword-rich domain name.

Cost of registering a domain name is anywhere from $10-$15 per year.

Owning a domain name involves registering the name with the ICANN, a non-profit organization that is responsible for maintaining domain name database. You cannot register a domain name directly from ICANN, but you may register one from an ICANN accredited domain name registrar or it's reseller. You may register a domain name for up to 10 years, and the name has to be renewed before expiration otherwise you'll lose the domain name.

Domain Name Syntax

Domain name is comprised of at least two parts: top level domain (TLD) and second level domain (SLD). TLD includes generic TLD (or gTLD) such as .COM, .NET, .ORG, .INFO, and .BIZ; or country code TLD (or ccTLD) which is designed for each country such as .us (USA), .ca (Canada) or .fr (France). Each TLD is designed for a specific purpose, so choose the one that is right for you. If you're looking to build a business website, the .COM domain name is the right choice; and for non-profit organization, family or hobby website, the .ORG domain name will work.

The domain name that you can register from a registrar is the second level domain (SLD) name for a particular TLD. The domain names starts from right to left separated by a dot, so TLD is the rightmost name, SLD is the one before that. The third and lower domain names are known as subdomain names, and they can be arbitrarily created by the SLD domain name owner. A good example of subdomain is the www, which is generally used for a website such as www.setup-website.com. As a owner of setup-website.com domain name, we created a subdomain name called www to serve our website.

What are the valid characters and how long can it be?

  • Only alphanumeric (A through Z, 0 through 9) and dash (-) characters are allowed. No symbols including @ are allowed.
  • Domain name cannot begin with a dash.
  • Domain name can be 1 to 63 characters long excluding TLD (.com, .net or .org), but you may only register names that are only 3 - 63 characters long. A single letter (or digit) domain names for .COM, .NET and .ORG are reserved by IANA, and cannot be registered. The 2 char domain names are only available through secondary market.
  • Domain name is case insensitive, but usually written in all lower-case.

You may obtain a 3rd-level (sub) domain name from a free blog provider such as wordpress.com or blogger.com, but I strongly suggest that you get your own domain name. It takes time and effort to advertise your website to the world, so building your website on your own domain name will create a significant intrinsic value to your web property.

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