The Five W’s of Domains

A Beginner's Look at the Who, What, When, Where and Why of Domains

Having an Internet presence outside of social media means starting and keeping a website. Having a website means you need the name of a place on the Internet to direct people to, and to do that, you need a domain. 

Who needs a domain?

Any individual, group or organization that desires establishing a website.

What is a domain?

A domain (a.k.a “domain name”) is the registered name for your website. Google’s is www.google.com. Facebook’s is www.facebook.com, ours is www.jltcreations.com. Yours will be www.whateverisavailable.com as an example.

Websites have http:// or https:// as a prefix. (Http stands for hypertext transfer protocol, and https stands for hypertext transfer protocol secure.) These prefixes indicate the level of security a user enjoys while visiting that website. See our post on SSL’s (secure sockets layer) for more information on securing websites.

The domain name tells a computer what to ask the Internet to retrieve and display for you. But a domain name does nothing if there is no web host for the website. 

Domain names must be renewed periodically, often ranging between every one to three years based on how much time the buyer paid for upfront when registering the domain name initially.

When do you need a domain name?

Any time an individual, group or organization wants to create a new website.

Where does one get a domain?

Web hosting services such as SiteGround*, Godaddy, Blue Host, and more help users purchase and register domain names for a nominal fee. Fees vary by seller, so check fees before attempting to buy the domain name. One of the least expensive, but most notable companies to purchase domain names from is Name Cheap at www.namecheap.com*.

Visiting a domain name reseller and querying whether the domain you want is available- and then not purchasing that domain immediately- may prompt the reseller to purchase that domain out from under you to force you to buy from them.

A safer option is to visit https://www.internic.net/whois.html and type in the domain name you desire. If the domain name has been taken, the site will respond with details about when the domain was purchased and who it is registered to. If the domain name is available, it will advise as much.

Domain name resellers offer buyers privacy protection for an added fee. Privacy protection keeps the owner’s name and contact information from appearing on a “who is” search. This prevents spammers and others from soliciting the domain name owner.

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Why get a domain name?

Obviously, a domain name is necessary to establish a presence on the Internet (create a website), but there are other reasons to purchase and register domain names. Some purchase the various iterations of their name (www.firstnamelastname.com, www.firstinitiallastname.com, etc.) to protect against others from buying it out from under them, to create easily accessible resumes and portfolios, or create personal or family websites to share updates with friends and family members.

Domain names that sound like promising business names are often snapped up and sat on in the hopes someone will want to purchase them one day. The original buyer will then resell the domain name for far more than they purchased it for. This is a risk, as it’s possible no one will ever want to purchase that domain name, especially not for an exorbitant fee.

Final notes

While the most popular domain name suffix is .com, there are easily a hundred or more other options to choose from if www.domainyouwant.com is taken. Some of the most recognizable alternatives are .net, .co, and .org. Additionally, country codes (e.g. www.domain.com.uk for the United Kingdom) are added to domain names when visiting sites for other nations.

If you or your company want to build a website, but don’t know where to start or don’t have the time, patience or energy to build it on your own, contact us for help! JLT Creations will make your vision a reality. 

*Sites listed with an asterisk (*) are affiliate links. If you click the link and make a purchase, JLT Creations may receive a small commission at NO added cost to you.

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