Domain names are used to access websites and online resources on the Internet. In order to run a website, you need a domain name so people can find your website online. A domain name consists of a unique name that you choose, and an extension; with many different domain extensions available that are designed for different kinds of websites.

The most common domain name choice in use today is .com. This extension is short for commercial – and while it was originally designed for business websites – it has become the de facto choice for personal and business websites online. Of course, there are many other domain extensions available like .net, .org and .info; and these different choices are generally grouped into two categories:

  • Generic Domains: These are your general purpose domain names, like .com, .net, .org and .info. They are referred as generic because, while each choice is designed for a specific audience or industry, they can be registered by anyone and used for any legitimate purpose (e.g. you don’t need to run a business to own or use a .com domain name).
  • Country-Specific Domains: These are the domain extensions reserved for a specific country or region, and are usually administered by an organisation or company operating within the country or jurisdiction the domain extension is designed for. For example, .co.uk is the general purpose domain choice for UK consumers and businesses. Most countries in the world have their own country-specific domain extension.

What type of domain name do I need?

It entirely depends on what kind of website you intend to run, and there are many great choices for you to choose from. Here are the top five:

  • .com: as mentioned before, this is a great all-purpose choice for personal and business websites, blogs and forums
  • .net: perhaps the second most popular choice behind .com, this extension is generally used by online-only businesses, and for websites operating in the I.T. industry
  • .co.uk: if you are primarily targeting a UK audience, this is a very good choice for both personal and business websites
  • .org.uk: a recommended choice for UK charities and non-profit organisations; providing immediate recognition and a greater inherent level of trust
  • .me.uk: aimed at UK individuals and is great for personal websites and blogs

Registering a domain name

Registering your own domain name is extremely easy. All you need to start your own website or blog is website hosting and a domain name. The domain name points to the website hosting provider that hosts your website. As such, it is perfectly acceptable for you to have a domain name with one company and your website hosting with another company. You would simply need to change the settings for your domain name so that it points to the website hosting provider that hosts your website.

If you register your domain name and purchase your web hosting with us directly, we can manage your domain’s configuration automatically and make sure it points to your website hosting account. In this scenario, you would simply need to place your order and wait for our team to set everything up for you.

Buying web hosting and a domain name at the same time

When you purchase a website hosting package with us, you will be given the option of registering a new domain name at the same time, or using an existing domain name you already have (whether that domain is with us or another service provider). If you do not already have a domain name, you will want to choose the option of registering a new domain name at the same time. In this scenario, as soon as your website hosting account is set up, your domain name will be automatically configured to point to your website hosting account with nothing needing to be configured.

You’ll be surprised at just how affordable domain names are. They start from just £5 a year. Once you’ve registered a domain name, it is yours for the period of time you’ve paid for. And once that period nears its end, you can easily renew your domain’s registration so you can keep using it.

Creating a website for the first time

If you do not have the technical skills to create a website yourself, don’t worry. Consider looking at our Build a Website package, which is just £4.49 a month with no contracts. Build a Website allows you to create your own website using an advanced, easy to use website builder that gives you the tools to create professionally-looking personal and business websites, online stores and blogs quickly and easily.

Have questions?

If you have any questions about starting your own website or about domains, please do not hesitate to speak with our friendly and knowledgeable sales team who will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

To speak with us, call 0800 862 0380 or contact us via live chat.

(Calls are free from UK landlines; mobile networks may charge you considerably. If you need to call us on a mobile, call us on 0113 350 4473. Calls to this alternative number are free from mobiles if included in your allowance. Any calls made from abroad may cost substantially. Contact your provider for details.)

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