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Domain Names

First off, why are domain names even a big deal? Well, as described in our article about IP addressing, numbers like that are far from memorable and give no idea of how that address relates to a specific business, organisation or individual. To avoid this the concept of a domain name was developed to address the human side of the internet equation.

A domain name consists of two main parts: the actual name (e.g., "example") and the domain extension (e.g., ".com”, ”.co uk”). Together, they form a complete domain name like "example.com." The name and extension are separated by a period.  It is what people will type into their browsers to find your slice of the internet pie. It's your online calling card, your cyber identity, and you want it to be memorable, right?

However, there are certain rules which have to be followed and the systems which manage domain names and translate them to the correct IP address are critically important to the operation of the world wide web, email and other services.  As such there is a defined set of extensions which are are available to be used.   These are currently defined by ICANN (together with the assignment of network ID address).  There is now a long list of these extensions or Top Level Domains.   If you are in the UK you will probably be interested in the UK country code TLDs - .uk, .co.uk, .org.uk, .me.uk or one of the generic Top level domains such as .com, .org, .me.    These are generally available for all to use and for the UK ccTLDs currently, you do not have to be resident in the UK.    There is nothing to prevent you from registering with names from both, for example, co.uk and .com.

When choosing the main part of the domain name it is often said that you keep this short, snappy and easy to remember!.   Nowadays with so much demand for domain names, this is easier said than done!   Some general guidelines are

  • Keep it Simple: Avoid complex words, hyphens, or tongue twisters. You want people to remember your domain name without having to consult a spelling bee champion.
  • Reflect Your Brand: Your domain should give visitors a hint about what you do. If you're selling artisanal cupcakes, something like "CupcakeCrafters.co.uk” is way more on point than "RandomTreatsGalore.biz."
  • Go for the Classics: While quirky names are cool, remember that people tend to default to what they know. Stick to common domain extensions like or .co.uk,.com, .org, .me to keep it familiar.
  • Check Availability: There's nothing worse than falling in love with a domain name only to find out it's already taken. Use a domain registration service to check the availability and variations of your chosen name.
  • Avoid:  Names that might seek to mislead (e.g. misrepresent what you do as a business or organisation.  Also, avoid names similar to or that might be confused with other organisations or websites. Avoid abusive or offensive terms.

The British government are currently consulting on regulation around UK Domain names so things may change in the future.

Bear in mind that although you will be paying for a domain name (for a defined period of time), it may be challenged or taken away for a variety of reasons (generally for illegal or other inappropriate actions).

Where to Register Your Domain if You're in the UK

Alright, you've settled on the perfect name. Now, where do you go to claim it as your own? If you're a savvy UK business or individual, here are a couple of reliable options we would suggest starting with the official UK Doman Name Registrar Nominet.uk     Although they do not sell domain names, they allow you to check availability of the UK domains and if available, will present a list of Domain Name providers that you can contact to register your chosen name.  If the name you have chosen is found then it will only show you the registration details.    However many of the Domain Name providers have search facilities which can suggest alternative names and also offer access to more than just the UK extensions.   Some examples are:

  • FastHosts (also UKReg): A UK based Hosting provider that also offers comprehensive domain name services
  • Namecheap: Just as the name suggests, they offer budget-friendly domain registration. They also throw in freebies like WHOIS protection and email forwarding.
  • 123-Reg: A popular choice in the UK, 123-Reg provides a variety of domain extensions and hosting services. Plus, their customer support is as British as a cup of tea!
  • GoDaddy: The big daddy of domain registration. GoDaddy is user-friendly, offers competitive prices, and its ads are memorable enough to prove they know a thing or two about branding.

Remember, it's not just about the registration cost – consider additional features, customer support, and renewal prices. You're in it for the long haul, after all!   Also, it is possible to move your domain name from one provider to another before renewal time and if you have your own custom domain name then this can be used with your choice of hosting provider regardless of where you purchased the name.

Wrapping It Up

So, there you have it – the lowdown on why domain names matter, how to choose a winner, and where to claim your cyber territory if you're based in the UK. Whether you're launching a business, a personal blog or a professional email address your domain name is the gateway to your online adventure. Choose wisely, register promptly, and let the World Wide Web be your oyster!

For more information start here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domain_name

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