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Domain Names - do I need one - what should it be?

What's a domain name?

A domain name is the top level name for a web site. For instance. this website has the domain name of (Look up at the address bar at the top of this page.) Computers work on numbers but human beings prefer words and pictures. The REAL place this web site is at, is what is called an IP address which is just a bunch of numbers. A domain name is a way of helping real people find an IP address without having to remember all those numbers.

A domain name has two parts - the name, such as personapaper, and the suffix, such as .com or .net or, etc. The suffix is VERY IMPORTANT . is a totally different website from, which is totally different from, etc. Some big brand names will buy ALL or many of the suffixes available for their brand. For instance, Marks & Spencer, a big brand name in the UK has and many other suffixes go directly to this. For instance, if you type in or .net or, they will ALL direct you to the dot com version. This means that this company has bought these domain names so that no one else can use them, even though they all redirect to the dot com version. On the other hand, if you try or .org, you do NOT get redirected to the dot com. It is very expensive to buy up all the suffix possibilities for your preferred domain name.

So you may find that typing in could take you to a different site from and a different place again from This is useful if someone has a website name you want. If your preferred dot com is not available, you could go for a different suffix, such as (if in the UK) or .net, etc.

Do I need one?

If you want to have your own web site or blog, you need a home for it and for people to find your home, they need an address. on the web, that's an IP address or a domain name. So if you want your own web site or blog, you need a domain name.

What should my domain name be?

If you are a business, then you need your business name or brand, such as if you are the motor racing sport or want people to visit your page for news of formula1 motor racing. If you want to sell products or put your affiliate links onto a page, then you need a title that conveys your product or niche. If you want to tell people about coconut oil or sleep problems or exercise, then you need to find a domain name that helps to convey that meaning. Use a keyword finder, to see what people are searching for in your area. If you are a blogger or writer that people know about, then you might want to use your own name, such as (Harry Potter books).

The dot com isn't available - now what?

Sometimes your preferred name might be taken. Maybe someone already has a business there. Sometimes people buy up a domain name and "park" it, waiting for someone to come along and want it, at which time, they will sell it to you for a fee! Say you want to sell coconut oil, so you search a domain name reseller for something like If you find it's taken, you then look for but you may find that someone has "parked" it, that is, they have reserved it but instead of using it to sell coconut oil, they are advertising other people's web sites on it, as well as offering it for sale. (It may be the domain reseller who is doing the advertising, rather than the domain name "owner". It may also be the domain name reseller who has "reserved" the name.)

What other domain extensions are acceptable?

According to one internet authority I have seen, the .org and .net suffixes are equally as well regarded as .com. So if your preferred .com isn't available, look if the .net and .org versions are available for use. If not, see if you can come up with some variation of your preferred name. Even adding a single letter onto the end of the name makes it different. For instance, coconut oil is very popular and there are lots of domain names taken for this, even but is NOT taken. Find a domain reseller you like and search for a variation of your preferred name.

What else do I need? My creation. I created this using Serif DrawPlus6

To get your web site or blog up on line, you also need Hosting . Hosting is somewhere that holds your web site or blog - your warehouse or home or spot under the railway bridge! Your domain is your nameplate, if you like. Your hosting is where you HANG your nameplate - the place to pin it up and say, "here I am, come and read me!"


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Feisty56 wrote on November 25, 2014, 8:32 AM

Lots of good, basic information here explained in a way that someone, such as myself, who isn't savvy about such things, will fully understand it.

Ellis wrote on November 25, 2014, 9:28 AM

I heard that someone bought the '21st century fox' domain hoping to make a killing...

MegL wrote on November 25, 2014, 11:17 AM

Seriously, though, you cannot domain squat in the UK. For instance, if a business, such as Marks and Spencer, goes to get a domain name using their business name and you have already obtained it, the courts can force you to hand it over. This is called domain squatting. Some people were buying up the domain names for well known businesses and trying to sell them back to them. But you can't be accused of domain squatting if the name you pick and "park" is not a business name (that is NOT a legal statement!).

maxeen wrote on November 25, 2014, 2:06 PM

Just what I wanted ! Thanks ,now some more please. If I buy a domain do I take it with me to a server, or do I have to get one from a server ?

MegL wrote on November 25, 2014, 2:30 PM

You "rent" a domain name from a domain name reseller. Some possible resellers are, and I am sure there are lots more out there. It is considered good strategy NOT to have your hosting and domain name with the same company, it is safer for you. If one goes down, you can move to another but if your domain name AND your hosting are with the same company you are up the creek without a paddle.
You then "rent" hosting. (I am using the word "rent" because you will need to pay monthly or annually for both hosting and domain names. Hosting is the space on a commercial server where you post your content (articles). You may need to tell your hosting company what your domain name is and they will set up your hosting under that name. Once that is set up, you then go back into your domain seller's page and POINT the domain name servers to your host. It sounds tricky but it actually only takes a few seconds. Most domain resellers and hosting resellers will help you through their customer service. The ones I have used (even the cheap ones) have all been good.

MegL wrote on November 25, 2014, 2:34 PM

You can actually host your own website on your own personal server but you would need to keep your server running 24 hours a day and be willing to fight off cyber attacks etc.!

maxeen wrote on November 25, 2014, 5:25 PM

Thanks! Easy ! Then it gets tricky, I have paid for a server and hardly bothered ,will have another go..

MegL wrote on November 25, 2014, 6:00 PM

Maxeen When I said "your own server", I meant in your house or office - basically - your computer. But you can also "rent" a server from a hosting company in the same way as you purchase hosting. THEY keep it running for you. It is more expensive of course, but if you have a large number of websites or are doing a large amount of selling, then it might be worth it.

AliCanary wrote on November 27, 2014, 1:36 AM

There is a law in the USA against advertising for gambling sites, so a common trick is to register two versions of a site under the same domain name, but with a different suffix. The websites with .net are the "training websites" where you supposedly just "learn" how to play poker, et al, for free, and those innocent-sounding sites get heavily advertised. But they know full well that people are more used to typing in .com, and those are the actual gambling sites, so the advertisement is devilishly effective.

MegL wrote on November 27, 2014, 3:04 AM

Totally amazing! Yes, people are much more used to .com

Ruby3881 wrote on December 4, 2014, 1:14 AM

This is a really great explanation of a complex topic. Nicely done!