So What Is a Domain Name?
For the moment we humans and computers are very different beings, one of these differences is that we like to communicate using words, computers prefer numbers. Every computer connected to a network or the internet is know by a number called an IP address, think of it like a telephone number. For example, the computer you are using now probably has the IP address 22.214.171.124, your home internet router might be 10.1.1.1, the IP address for Dunskii Web Services is 126.96.36.199. If you like living on the edge, you may even have an IP6 number which is even longer, and have something like FE80:0000:0000:0000:0202:B3FF:FE1E:8329. As you can see, trying to remember a multitude of complex numbers may get a bit much, hence a cleaver cookie came up with the domain name, enabling it easier to remember different computer locations around the internet. So instead on trying to remember 188.8.131.52, its just dwa100.wpengine.com. If you would like to learn more about the history of the domain name, A Brief History of the Domain Name.
Choosing Your Domain Name
As I discussed in Creating Basic Content For Your Web Site, your domain name is your first chance to introduce your business and the services that you offer. So you could use yourbusinessname.com.au or yourbusinessnameyourservices.com.au, if both are available it is a good idea to purchase both for your web site. Recently there was the addition of many more TLD’s (Top-level Domains) enabling you to describe your business even further, examples of these are .coffee, .house and .fish, please note if you want one of these you will be paying a premium.
Finding a Domain Name Seller
There are domain name sellers all over the web, most likely the web site host you select will be able to sell you your domain name as well. A couple of popular sellers out there are Namecheap and GoDaddy, I use an Australian company VentralIP. Pricing will vary but on average you should be paying between $10 and $15 for a .com per year or $15 – $20 per year for a .au address. Though you may find some much cheaper, make sure you read the conditions as the first year maybe $5 but each year after that could be $25. You also maybe limited in what functionality your have available when managing your domain name.
What Functionality Do You Require from Your Domain Service
First and foremost you need to be able to control which DNS (domain name system) you point your domain name to. There’s no point having a domain name and not being able to point it to your web site. For most this will be adequate, but if you plan on using other web services such as, Google Apps for Business or Office 365 you will want to have control of your a Record and CName settings so you can set where different domain name variations go. For example; docs.yourbusinessname.com.au could point to your web documents. You will also want to control your MX records, enabling you to use a third party mail application, once again like Google Apps for Business or Office 365.
Ok, I might just be that I have had a few too many frustrating experiences with Crazy Domains, but I thought I should mention the following. Yes, it is tempting to purchase a product promoted by Pamela and yes they’re cheap. But no you don’t have complete control over your domain name, i.e. aRecords and CName, even if you pay extra for the functionality. When you want to transfer your domain name to another seller, they wont release the domain for 5-7 days which is quite frustrating. Apart from that I guess they’re ok.
That’s About It
I can go a lot deeper into domain names as there are a lot of very cool things you can do with them, but in the theme of keeping things simple and to the point that pretty much covers it. Under $10 could be too cheap and over $20 is getting a bit pricey and make sure you have control over your DNS, A Record and MX Record. Follow that rule and you should be fine.
Till Next Time,