Don’t know what a domain name is or why you need one? Not to worry—the following information will help you understand the registration process and how domain names work.

What is a domain name?

What is a Domain NameDomain names are like a home’s street address, but for a website instead of a house — it’s how visitors find your website or email address. A domain name is the basis of your online identity. It’s how people remember and revisit your site.

You might not be familiar with the term “domain name”  but trust us, you’ve seen them everywhere. A domain name is a unique address that represents a website or Internet location. They are located after the www. in an address bar or after the @ symbol in an email address. The bold examples below represent a domain name:

www.coolexample.com and info@coolexample.com

Getting a domain name

Every domain name is unique, which is why you can’t simply create a domain name and call it your own — you have to register it. To make sure that every domain name is unique, the Internet has to stay organized, and that’s where we come into the mix. There are three different roles in the domain name registration process: the registry, registrar and registrant.

Let’s break down each role so you know which is which:

Registry: When a domain name is registered, it is managed by a large database full of other domain names called a registry. The registry delegates restrictions and maintains each domain name’s information.

Registrars: Domain registrars, like us, work directly with domain name registries. They are the middle man that separates you from the registry. Registrars make domain name registration and management possible.

Registrant: Last but not least is the registrant. That’s you — the individual registering a domain name.

Domain ownership

When you register a domain name, you only lease it for a specific period of time — you do not own it. For example, when you register a domain name for one year, you need to renew your registration when that year is up. If you don’t, the registry will put the domain name back on the market for registration and someone else might get it.

If you can register your domain name for multiple years, you should. This locks the current price and you won’t have to remember to register it again for a few years.

Registering a domain name

To find out if the perfect name’s available, you can go to a registrar and do a domain name search. Once you find an available domain name you want, register it!

Understanding TLDs

A top-level domain name (TLD) represents the last part of a domain name or the domain extension. The most common TLDs you see are .com, .net, and .org.

There are different types of TLDs, and each TLD has unique registration restrictions. For instance, some countries have their own domain extensions called ccTLDs, or County-Code Top Level Domain names, and you are required to live in that country if you want to register one. For example, to register an .eu domain name, you must reside in Europe.

TLDs can describe your website type, give you regional recognition, and reach a growing number of Internet users. It’s up to you to determine which TLD is right for you—keep in mind, there are hundreds of TLDs to choose from!