The goal of this page is to help you register a domain name, and to become much more knowledgeable about domains. Apart from Wikipedia (overly technical explanation), there is no clear explanation of what domain names are exactly. When you’re finished with this domain name tutorial you’ll be an expert on domains.
Domain names are the web address of your website. They are made up of two parts, the actual name and the extension. Extensions are the .com, .org, .uk, .net, (and so forth) part of a domain name. Any domain with these extensions are known as “top level” domains.
For example, anything with a .EDU means an accredited academic institution. Anything with a .gov is a United States government agency. A .com is for commercial websites while a .net was created for a website that acted as a portal for a network of websites.
These extensions are called “country codes”. Examples would be .au for Australia, .de for Germany, .UK for the United Kingdom.
A list and explanation of all the Internet top level domains and country codes can be found here.
The most popular and universal top level domain name is of course the .com, and that’s the extension you should get. Don’t do weird top level domain names. I will always take a 2 or 3 word .com over a shorter .net, .org etc word. In practice most register a .net or .org because the .com version of the domain name they wanted was already registered. Start off right from the beginning and go with a .com. A .org does however work well with health terms. Registering a new .com will cost no more than $10 a year.
You can also buy a “premium” domain name if you like. A premium domain name is a domain that is already registered by someone and has a lot of demand. For example, candy.com is a premium name – it’s specific and thousands of people want it and will pay top dollar for it.
You can buy premium domains at any registrar, but don’t spend any more than a few hundred dollars (and only if you have some money to spend and the domain you want is premium).
Simple answer is no. You can build a popular website with an extension other than .com, .com is simply the most popular and universal.
It might be a good idea to register all three so someone else can’t register your domain name with a different extension. This does not happen though in actual practice. It’s more useful for brand ownership when you have a proper business that is popular, not a small website no one has ever heard of. Also, copyright also comes into play. So if you see a business or brand using a .org or a .co or whatever, you can’t just go and register the .com and build a similar website.
You don’t have to do this, it’s not critical to your success but it’s something to keep in mind when registering your domain name, particularly if they type of site you want to make will be brand focused and not generic (brand – GuitarSage.com / generic – PlayGuitarNow.com).
When you register a domain name your contact information is public. Something called a “WHOIS” search can be performed on your domain and anyone anywhere can find the details you submitted for your contact information.
Don’t like the idea of your contact details being public? That’s what private registration is for. It’s an extra fee on top of your registration fee that masks your details with a proxy company so when someone does a WHOIS search the proxy shows up instead of your information.
Is it worth it?
No, when you’re starting out it’s not necessary. The main question you should ask yourself is why do you need to hide your details? If you’re building out a legit site there should be no reason to hide your name and email. You should understand what private registration as it related to learning how to register a domain name, but otherwise don’t concern yourself with it at this point in time.
$10 a year for registration of each .com domain name extension. The price points for domain name extensions other than the .com are less.
Also, your cost is reduced if you register for longer than one year. That’s one of the reasons why you should consider registering for 2-3 years minimum in advanced. Not only does it demonstrate to search engines that your site is in it for the long haul – it saves you money.
NameCheap is of course not the only domain name registrar, there are plenty of others.
I like NameCheap because of their price points, reputation as a leading domain name registrar and their years of being in business. If you want to look into other domain name registrars no problem! ICANN maintains a list of ICANN-Accredited Registrars you can check out here.
Any question you may have please use the contact page.