If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you will know that we occasionally publish articles on blog-related stuff, such as picking a web host, which blogging platform to choose and so on. Now it’s time to look into domain names, as they also have quite an important role in your online blogging business – maybe even if you’re just blogging for personal pleasure.
A domain name is the name you see in your browsers address bar, such as “google.com”. What happens behind the scenes, are a bunch of servers knowing what IP addresses each domain should point at. IP addresses are unique addresses for all computers connected to the Internet, and since websites are hosted on computers, your browser needs to know where to find that computer.
When you just enter a domain name into your browser, your computer will ask the DNS servers (Domain Name System) for which IP address the domain name points to and it will take you to that server, without actually showing you the IP address – that’s just how it works. Imagine if you had to manually enter http://188.8.131.52 to get to Google and http://184.108.40.206 to get to Facebook, that wouldn’t be very easy to remember, would it? That’s why we use domain names – it’s much easier to remember, you can use your name – or business name – as your domain name, and it looks a lot nicer too. Especially now that we have IPv6 just around the corner, then we will start seeing IP addresses that looks more like 2a00:1450:8005:0:0:0:0:68 instead of the two examples above which are IPv4 addresses. IPv6 was invented because we’re running out of IPv4 addresses because there are so many devices connected to the Internet.
Back to domain names. You can get a free domain name and free hosting in many places. The catch is that they (the site at which you’ll be hosted) is likely to have their name in the domain as well, so you’ll be getting a domain name such as yourname.theirname.com instead of just yourname.com for yourself, and nobody else. A yourname.com domain signals professionalism rather than a free subdomain elsewhere.
If you’re signing up for paid web hosting you’ll often get a good deal on a domain name too, often even a free domain name for the first year. After that, you’ll have to pay a fee, usually $10-$15 per year for a .com, .net and .org domain. It varies.
One way of finding a domain name is PCNames.com. You just enter your desired domain name in the search box, hit the button and it’ll tell you what top level domains are available. Maybe your desired domain name is taken in its .com version but is available as .net instead, or .biz, etc. For example, when entering “techpatio”, it shows that .com is taken (which is the site you’re reading right now), but .net, .org, .info, .biz, .us, etc. etc. are available and free for registration – so if somebody wanted to, they could start their own TechPatio blog on a different domain… that’s also something you need to consider, if you want to pay extra to own all the popular top level domains for your site, so you get both .com, .net, .org and so on.
Don’t know what domain name you want? Try out PCNames.com’s domain name generator to generate a domain name for you. When entering “tech” it gives me results such as mytech, thetech, newtech, techstore etc. If the results doesn’t please you at first, maybe they can help bring new ideas to mind which you can use for your site’s new domain name.
If you still have some questions and concerns about this whole domain name business, PCNames.com also have an extensive FAQ covering all the domain names questions you might have.
Good luck picking your new domain name!