Everyone knows the .com domain names because they are the most common: of the top ten websites in the world, eight of them are .com — and one of the others is the specialized Indian .com: Google.co.in. But there are many other extensions that you've almost certainly heard of, like .org. But there are far more than most people know: over a thousand, all with special purposes. These include extensions like .london for people and businesses associated with the city of London, United Kingdom. There are also extensions like .faith for churches and other religious groups.
So regardless of who you are, you may decide that you would like your own internet address. It can be for almost anything: business, family, group, or just something you are interested in like model trains or needlecraft. If you are reading this, the chances are that you've already got an idea for a website that you'd like to set up — or just an email address that you'd like to have. After all, firstname.lastname@example.org is a perfectly serviceable email address, but jenny@TheKimFamily.com is better.
But you can't have any domain name in the world. You will need to use your own creativity within the limits that the internet has put in place.
Confining Your Creativity
Domain names have various technical requirements. Before you start thinking of a name, you must consider the following:
- A domain name can have up to 67 characters, including the extension (eg, .com or .org) at the end.
- The name can include numbers and all 26 letters of the alphabet, but not special characters such as @, #, $, ?, etc.
- It can include hyphens ( – ), but they can't occur at the beginning or end of the name.
- No spaces can be used within a name.
- A domain name is not case sensitive — learnthenet.com is the same as LearnTheNet.com.
Choosing the Right Name
The internet has been around a long time. As a result, billions of domain names are already taken. Thus, you may find that the most straightforward and compelling domain names that you think of are not available. But with some creativity and flexibility, you can still register a good one. The name you ultimately select really depends on how you plan to use it.
Buying gifts for people can often be very difficult – especially for adults who are largely able to buy the things they want. Giving someone their own domain name (with or without a simple website) can make a unique gift.
A good way to come up with an appropriate domain name is to brainstorm the process. Get other people involved in the process. Toss out ideas — words that have to do with what it is your website is all about. Let's go back to our Hernandez family example. Where do they live? What do they like to do? What is unique about the family? Jot it all down. So for the Hernandez family, we might have: Houston; ski; quilt; H-4; raise chickens; work at NASA; funny. The possibilities are almost endless — from the staid HoustonHernandez.com to the cheeky SkiingChickens.com.
A few other points to keep in mind:
- The shorter the name, the better; but don't make it meaningless in the effort to make it short.
- The name should be easy to remember.
- It should be easy to type without making mistakes; try to avoid characters like “q” and “z” if possible.
- The Internet has become a global medium; ideally, a domain name will be easy to read in a language other than English.
- Avoid numbers unless there is a very good reason to include them.
There Is More to the Internet Than .Com
While most domain names use the .com extension, you're not restricted to this. You can also register using other common extensions like .net and .org. What's more, in recent years, a huge number of other extensions have become available like .name, .info, and .pro. There are currently over a thousand of them, each with a particular purpose. For example, if all you really want is an address for the email for your family, you might register Hernandez.email.
Determining If a Domain Name Is Available
All domain name registrars provide tools for checking the availability of a given domain name. For example, Go Daddy has a tool that allows you to check whatever domain you might be interested in — including all of the less common extensions. Once you find a domain that you want to buy, you can buy it anywhere you want — you aren't limited to Go Daddy or any of the many other domain name registrars.
Get Your Domain
There are lots of reasons for getting your own domain name: website, email, branding, and so on. And it isn't hard to do or expensive. Just keep in mind what we've discussed here and you should be on your way.