Every good business these days needs a website. In fact, every good product, presentation, and sometimes every person needs a website. It is just part of the world we live in.
But how do you secure one? It’s not something they teach in school. That’s what we are here to help with today. What you are looking for is a “domain name”. We are going to talk about what that is, where to get one, how to upkeep it, and what to do if a domain name is taken already.
Where to get a Domain Name
Domain names can be secured through any number of web hosting services. Websites exist on the physical component of the internet: Devices called data centres. These are servers to all the clients that try to access a website, as the website itself is stored as data on the data centres.
Web hosting services have data centres and sell you space on those data centres for a yearly fee. But data centre space is not all they offer you. Or rather, if that is all they offer you, then they better be pretty cheap. Because the world of web hosting is a competitive one.
What Else can a Web Host Offer?
Many web hosts also provide website building services. Perhaps the two most well-known examples are Wix and Squarespace. Those are very much for beginners, but they are not bad either.
Besides website builders, a good web host should also offer you security services. Any web host that does not talk about security anywhere on their website is either omitting something important from their marketing, or legitimately doesn’t provide security for their clients. Both are bad.
The last thing a web host might provide (though this is not seen everywhere) is promotion services. This can include both methods of advertising your site, as well as methods of advertising on your site.
Ads on your site are a good way to pull in revenue, though they can also be a good way to slow down your site and drive away customers. Ads elsewhere on the internet that promote your site are better for revenue, but they cost money, so make sure you have an idea of how much they will generate in return.
Can You Buy a Domain Name?
The short answer is yes, you can outright buy a domain name. If you want to get really technical, you can also skip the whole “web host” portion of possessing a domain and just buy your own data centre. That would be an extremely complex process, but that is one way to get a domain name.
Buying a domain name from a web host is similar to renting one, though usually more expensive. It is, technically, possible to break down the process even further. The first is registering a domain name. This can be done at a domain name registrar. This will entitle you to the domain name even without server space to host it, or a website that actually proves that it exists.
After that, you can find a web host to host the website with the domain name. This task can be done separately from registering the domain name. And then you can build the website separately too.
What is a Domain Name?
Simply put, a domain name is the name of a website. But as with most things related to the internet, that is just a cover for something much more complex. A domain name also maps to a website’s IP address. You can think of an IP address as the street number of any given website.
And just like a street number, an IP address has to be unique. By extension, a domain name has to be unique as well. That means your website’s name has to be unique from every other website out there.
Being unique is not that hard, however, due to the three layers of a domain name. The first is the base name itself, while alongside that is the subdomain and the domain name extension. These things are easiest to define if we start with the element every domain name has: The domain name extension.
Domain Name Extension
Pop quiz: Why are some websites “.com” while others are “.net”? Both of those elements are different forms of a domain name extension. There was a time, when the internet was young, that .com, .org. and .net were the only domain name extensions, with each of them meaning something slightly different.
They still carry those meanings too. A .com domain is a business website, a .org domain is a non-profit website, and .net is a network where you tend to connect with other users (this is so common now that you hardly ever see it). These days, however, you can have any domain name extensions you want.
This is a great way to make your domain name unique. The “unique” domain name extensions do not have set-in-stone purposes like the old domain name extensions did. But all the same, there are a few that have come about that have been accepted to mean certain things. Some popular ones are:
- The .gg domain name extension. Used for sites related to gaming.
- The .io domain name extension. Used for sites related to software.
- The .info domain name extension. Used for sites meant to provide information and nothing else.
But as we said, you can have just about any domain name extension you want. There are sites that make their domain name and extension mix together, like sta.sh, a file storage service. Just be aware that these extensions are their own form of marketing. If you make your domain name extension too strange, then it might make it harder for people to find your website.
How Do You Upkeep a Domain Name?
When it comes to actually keeping hold of your domain name, that is the easy part. As long as you pay your web host a monthly fee, you will be allowed to keep the domain name. But there are a few complications that can arise. Imagine, for example, that a major corporation wants your domain name.
If you bought your domain name outright, then you don’t need to worry. You are the sole owner of the domain name, and the major corporation would have to make an offer to you to buy the domain name.
The issue comes when you are renting that domain name alongside the server space that hosts it, and the website maker that makes the website for it. This is a common setup, and one that comes with a curious caveat: You end up not being the sole owner of anything that you are renting.
As a result, the company that hosts your domain name can actually sell it off to someone else, depriving you of the ability to make use of it. So, how does one avoid this to keep their site going?
Upgrade from Renting to Buying When You Can
The most obvious solution to this problem is going from renting your domain name to buying it outright. For some people and businesses, buying a domain name has to come after renting one since they only start getting revenue to justify the purchase after they have rented the domain name for a while.
Use a Web Host That Provides a Domain Name for Free
Since most people get their domain names from their web hosts rather than a domain name registrar, web hosts have started making the sale of domain names part of their business.
This means that if you rent server space from a web host, then they will usually give you a domain name of your choice for free. If they do this, then that domain name is yours. They do not have the right to sell it out from under you. This is a good way to make sure that your domain name belongs to you while still making use of the convenience features offered by a web host or website builder service.
How Do You Keep a Domain Name Secure?
Domain names exist on the internet, meaning that anyone who can make an edit to the domain name can claim that the domain name belongs to them. There are a few things you’ll want to do to make sure that this does not happen. The first is setting a password for the domain so that no one can make edits to it without the password. Of course, you should also use a trusted registrar.
You can also register that domain name as part of a corporate entity. This makes sure that there is a record of that domain name belonging to you somewhere outside the registrar.
Once you have a domain name registered with a registrar, there is still a lot to do to turn it into a website, much less a business. But you have to take the first step. And once you keep that domain name secure, you are sure to be on your way to making use of it how you want.