What is a domain name?

6 January 2023
8 minutes
Domain name

Table of contents

In today’s digital era, having a digital presence is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. It starts with owning a virtual presence; an efficient website of your company.

If you are not familiar with website creation, you will surely get lost in the Google ocean trying to clear all the doubts that arise when you start.

You may have heard the terms “domain” and “hosting” and still not know what they mean.

You are in the right place.

In a nutshell, the domain is the website’s name and the hosting is where the domain is stored with all the content of your website (infographics, videos, images, etc.).

Let’s take a closer look 👇

What is a domain name?

The domain is the name of your web page, it is the address people use to search for your site, basically it is what we know as “www.namofyourwebsite.com”. This will be unique and exclusive for your company, no two domains can be the same.

Without this address, nobody can access your website. Therefore, domain and hosting are the first step to take when you create a website. So, you must think well before choosing it.

Expired domain names

When you buy a domain name, you pay for one year, and you renew it annually.

Normally, the sites that sell you the domain will send you a notification when the year is about to expire.

If you decide not to renew the domain, it enters a redemption period (30 to 45 days) and will eventually be deleted. After the end of the redemption period, any other user can claim your domain name and buy it.

Free domain name

You may be tempted to get a free domain name, and that’s fine when you’re just starting. However, if you are in it for the long haul, you have to pay attention to details that can turn off many of your potential customers who come to visit your website.

You also have to be aware that free comes with plenty of compromises on features like data storage, data transfer, tech support, bandwidth, email accounts, etc.

How is the domain name formed?

A domain name is composed of two parts, the first one will be the name, for example, Amazon and the second one will be the extension: what comes after the dot. The common known ones are: .com, .org or .net

And then there are the country code extensions that use two letters representing the country of origin of the website, like: .es for Spain, .fr for France or .de for Germany.

How to choose a domain name

There are three other groups of extensions created in 2013 by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to give more visibility to emerging industries and companies:

  • Branded or closed, which are those that have the company’s own name.
    Example: .amazon for e-commerce or .ford for the automotive company.

  • Sectors, according to the subject, branch or industry to which the website belongs.
    Example: .travel (tourism), .bike (sport) or .photography (professional activity).
  • Global, regional or by city, depending on the specific location of your company.
    Example: .barcelona, .world or .europa.

💡 Pharos Digital Tip:

We recommend that you purchase several domains and extensions for the same website. This hack allows you to be found in different ways, including domains with possible errors that users may make when typing the name of your website.

Then, among all these domains and extensions, you choose one, which is the main one. All the others will be redirected to this main one.

Use as much as possible the .com extension because it is the most popular and easy to remember.  »

How to select the best domain name provider?

There are many domain providers, but you need to pay special attention to the offers that each one has and choose the best option for your needs.

Here are some criteria you need to think about to make the best choice:

Domain name price and commitment

Many companies offer quite low prices BUT for only one year, when you renew the subscription the price goes up drastically. Other companies require a minimum of two years subscription and if you decide to cancel or go with another one, you have to pay domain transfer fees.

Don’t be fooled by low prices, always check the offer, renewal price, commitment, and domain transfer options.

Domain transfer

If you are dissatisfied with the service offered by your current provider or want to change it for other reasons, there are possibilities to switch to another vendor.

During the first 60 days of registration, you cannot transfer a domain name. This initial period is decided by ICANN. After this period, you are entitled to change.

Most providers do this easily and free of charge. But there are also others who make the transfer complex and ask for compensation.

Domain expiration policies

What does domain expiration have to do with choosing the best domain provider? EVERYTHING, absolutely everything!

While most companies have the automatic renewal option, some do not have the “Grace Period”. ». even if you don’t check the automatic renewal box or your credit card expires, you will still have time to repurchase your domain name before someone snatches it away from you.

Indeed, if you do not have the “grace period” or “redemption period” (30 to 45 days), your domain will be offered for auction to the highest bidder.

Add-on service

Among the add-on services are WordPress hosting, email hosting, web services, email marketing services, etc.

They also include domain privacy or even extended expiration protection.

Even if you don’t need them now, they could be useful in the future. So take a look at the different services they offer. It’s good to know they have them.

What to consider when choosing a domain name service?

There is fierce competition in the domain registration business. Many offer attractive prices to get your attention. But you must be careful what these prices include in the offer and engagement.

At Pharos Digital, we advise you to consider two more things before you go ahead…

Poor user experience

We all know how important user experience is. All companies compete to make the interfaces of their websites, applications and software user-friendly, easy to use and intuitive.

Some do the opposite, with a specific goal: to keep you as a customer. It may sound strange, but it is a way to keep you a prisoner of their services.

If you want to transfer your domain to another provider, they make the settings very difficult to use to dissuade you.

Be sure to read how previous customers describe their experience and whether they recommend using this online service. You can also join online groups and communities like Quora to learn more about the domain name registrar.

Illustration Avis et Retour Client, nous voyons 4 personnes donnant leurs avis sur une entreprise

Added Cost

When it comes time to pay, keep your eyes wide open to see if features are added automatically.

Some domain name registrars add services automatically when you purchase your domain name. This can increase your bill significantly.

In most cases, you don’t need these features, so uncheck these boxes before confirming payment.

Which is the best domain provider?

There are a lot of domain name hosting companies out there, and to choose the right one, consider your needs and possibilities.

  • If your priority is price, you can go with Namecheap.
  • If you are looking for security features, go with Domaine.com or Ionos.
  • For a quality domain and hosting, you can consider Bluehost.

Here is a list of good providers with great options:

  • GoDaddy
  • DreamHost
  • GoogleDomains
  • Hover
  • Hostgator
  • Hostinger

Closing thoughts

Many of us imagine a data center and a hacker when we encounter the domain names. However, it is in fact a simple term to indicate the name of your future website. Nothing scary!

That’s all for today. Thanks once again for reading us, and we hope the article has cleared your doubts.

If you are planning to create your website, Pharos Digital offers complete project management, including a personalized recommendation of your future domain name.

Pharos Digital is a communications agency specialized in video production, web-design and digital marketing. Our team creates and designs unique solutions to help your company develop its reputation on the Internet.

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