We visit websites all the time, but it’s unlikely that you’ve put too much thought into what it means when you see those words in the top of your browser like facebook.com or google.com. Let’s take a deeper dive into what it means, and how to get one of your own.
First off let’s establish some nomenclature. We use words to talk about the internet all the time, do we really know what they mean?
URL: Universal Resource Locator. This locator finds a coded webpage on the internet based on specific coordinates. Think of it as directing you to a location based on the longitude and latitude like a map.
Domain Name (or just Domain): This is somewhat interchangeable with the term URL, but usually refers to a “human readable” or user-friendly version of these coordinates.
Host: A hosting company is usually a datacenter that contains a huge amount of servers that house your website on them.
Server: A server is basically a hard drive that has the ability to hold large amounts of data and “serve” that data on request.
You can also think of it this way…
If your website is your house, your server would be your land, the host company would own that land, and your domain name (URL) would be your street address. Since it’s a rental only market, hosting fees would be like your rent.
So how do you get a domain name, and is it ever REALLY yours?
Well… yes and no. There are a number of sites you can register a domain through, and each website has a slightly different terms of service, so it’s difficult to make a blanket statement about the policies.
The long answer is yes… for now, with a few caveats. When you purchase a domain name there’s a reasonable assumption that it belongs to you (for now), unless someone else has a trademark of that name already, they are given that name at birth, or a small number of other reasons it could be seized from you.
All that to say, purchasing a website domain is not an indication of total ownership, but rather more of a lease with the option to renew.
So where do you get a domain name?
With a simple Google search, you’ll see there’s hundreds of companies that provide this service, but there’s 3 in particular that I like to stick to for a few reasons. The user interface is simple, the costs are low, and they are reputable companies.
How much should a Domain Name cost?
Your basic domain can start anywhere from $.99 to hundreds of thousands of dollars. These numbers vary based on a few factors.
- What is the domain extension? .com’s have always been the most popular and most recognizable, so if you can get a .com of the name you want, it’s in your best interest to snatch it up. These domains usually start at $.99. Some of the new specialty domain extensions can start a bit higher like .club or .info.
- The price the seller is asking for. It’s not uncommon for people to ‘squat’ on domains of popular phrases and wait until the name becomes popular or desireable to be able to sell it to the highest bidder. There are entire company business models that are based on the ‘buy low, sell high’ of domain names.
Any domain tips you want to share? Post a comment below, or shoot us a tweet at @wearebspoke