When setting up a website, you will need to register a domain name for it so that your visitors are able to use a single, easy to remember address that they can type into their web browsers to reach your website. The main purpose of a domain name is to work in conjunction with DNS to translate the given name into the IP address of the server that a website is hosted on, with a domain name effectively being a mask for the IP address of the hosting server. You can choose to register a domain name at any time using a web hosting company that can offer the service or a professional domain name registrar quite often web hosting companies will encourage you to register domains when purchasing a new web hosting plan so that you are able to associate your new web hosting plan with a new domain name automatically, therefore reducing the complications that can be introduced by completing this setup further down the line. You can also transfer domains between registrars and hosting providers as you wish so that you can get the best deal when it comes to the time when you have to renew your domains; furthermore, you may also wish to consolidate your domains into a single management account which would be another good reason for transferring your domains to a single provider. Most domain name registrars are able to offer you a selection of TLDs (Top Level Domains) and ccTLDs (country-code Top Level Domains) so that you can register website addresses that are relevant to the target audience of your website; domains that use ccTLDs are best used for website that have the scope of a local audience, whilst TLDs are usually more generic and recommended for use where a website is going to be accessed by visitors from several countries.
What is the main purpose of a domain name?
The main purpose of a domain name is to provide a user-friendly address that web users can type into a web browser in order to access a website. Domain names can be practically be anything so that you can use your business name if necessary, therefore improving the end-user experience and making your website easier to find.
What does on in the background?
In the background a domain name is fixed to at least two name servers that deal with the DNS requests for that particular domain name. It is the responsibility of name servers and DNS servers to take these name requests and translate them into the corresponding IP address for the server on which the requested website or server is hosted. In order for any domain to function correctly, it needs to be fixed to a pair of name servers because as well as dealing with all website-related requests, name servers are also responsible for sending emails towards the correct recipient servers for a domain name. DNS is a service provided with any web hosting plan and any good web hosting company or domain registrar will also provide the service with their domain registration services so you can use your domain for basic tasks without the need for a web hosting plan.
Why do I have to renew my domains?
Domains can only be registered for fixed periods of time as opposed to indefinitely; this helps to keep the system open and free so that if someone has a domain that they’re either not using or don’t want then they can let is expire so that someone else can register it for use. The period of time that you can register a domain for depends on the rules of the managing body; for example, a .com domain can be registered in 1 year blocks for as long as you want, therefore allowing you to register it for 10 years if you wish however, a .uk domain can only be registered in 2 year blocks, therefore meaning you can only register it for an even number of years (i.e. 2, 4, 6, 8 or 10 etc.).
Any good domain registrar will have an auto-renew facility in place that will automatically renew your domains when they are coming towards the end of their term so that you don’t have to worry about forgetting and them expiring.
Can the domain that I use have an affect on SEO?
Yes, your choice of domain can impact on the SEO of your website as it is important for you to choose a name that reflects the content of your website and the name of your business. First off you should consider using your business name as your domain name because this will improve the chances of your customers being able to find your website when entering your business name into search engines. If your business name isn’t available under your preferred TLD then you should consider another TLD or ccTLD that is still relevant to your customer base.
Secondly, if you decide not to use your business name as part of your domain then the next best option would be to choose a domain that contains keywords that are relevant to the content of your website and your business activities. This will still aid you with SEO as your website will then be one of the preferred options in search listings for keywords that are contained within your domain and website content; however, it is important to note that you should never go crazy with keywords in content because this could have a negative impact on you with some search engines.
In conclusion, domain names are the driving force of internet accessibility because they allow us to visit websites using a simple and easy to type name as opposed to having to enter a server’s IP address every time we wish to visit a website. The wide variation of TLDs available makes registering a domain that suits your requirements an easy task and means that there is no reason why your business shouldn’t be working towards a well-established web presence.