Welcome to BlogMeHow’s Ultimate Guide to Domains. This is the only guide you will ever need when picking a domain or buying the right kind of domain. What’s more you will also get to know in details what is Domain and what are the different types of domain available.
A Domain is something which will form the identity of your website and picking the right domain is crucial. A Domain or a Domain name is not something that you can change anytime like a WordPress theme or the type of content on your website. It is very important to take an informed decision when it comes to picking a domain. More so, a lot of people I talk see domain as only a name for their site. However, it is not that simple and hence here I am writing this extensive guide, covering everything related to domain.
Here’s What you will Find in this Post about Domain:
What are Domains?
Technically a Domain means an address that points to a certain IP or to identify webpages. You will need
In simple terminology, Domain or a Domain name is nothing but the means to identify and reach your website. For instance, BlogMeHow.com is a Domain for me as well as the identity of my site. It is a name one has to acquire for their website by registering it with the domain registrars by picking suitable extensions like .com, .net, .biz, in and so on.
Note: You need to renew your registration for the domain year-on-year. You can also opt for a combined registration for a few years together, but there is nothing like buying a domain permanently. You will to renew it in someway or the other.
Now, don’t let the word ‘registrar’ lead you into thinking that is like a typical government process. No, infact this is a very fast and simple online process and is over even before you realize it. Getting a domain is very easy. However the problem comes in getting the right kind of domain.
Types of Domains:
There are different types of Domains and I am not talking about the extensions. Types of Domains means TLDS, GTLDs, CCTLDs, STLDs, Second Level Domains or SLD and more.
TLD stands for Top Level Domains. This is the the broader term under which most domain extensions will fall – GTLD, CCTLD, STLD and more.
These are your Generic Top Level Domains like .com, .net, .org, .biz, .info etc.
These are Country Code Top Level Domains. Meaning the TLDs specific to countries will fall under this type. For instance extensions like – .us for USA, .in for India, .ca for Canada, .au for Australia and so and so forth.
Sponsored Top Level Domains are domains which are TLDs which are restricted and not available for all. These are typcially .gov, .edu, .asia, .cat and so on
Subdomain is a domain which is part of a primary domain or a TLD. For example if I were to have something like a forum or something as part of BlogMeHow.com but wouldn’t want it to be on the same domain I will add a subdomain like forum.blogmehow.com which will point exclusively at the Forum for BlogMeHow.
I have done a complete comparison on the Types of TLDs over here. Be sure to check that out for further details.
What should you choose – .com OR .net or .in OR others?
It is always preferable to go for domain names for which .COM is available. However there is generally a case where any popular phrase or word you think of, the .com will already be taken or it will priced such that is affordable for you to start off.
So what do you do? Well you can try some of the Domain Hacks Mentioned below in this post or over here
Or you can take any other extension apart from a .com as long as you get your desired and chosen domain name. (Do read the How to choose the Right Domain, below)
To .COM or to Not .COM – that is the question
The reasoning behind opting for .COM:
- It has a global resonance. Earlier Search Engines used to associate a certain extension with a certain kind of source or to a certain Geo-Location.
- However that has changed a lot and now a Domain Extension is no longer that big a ranking factor.
- Yet another logic behind favoring .COM was it was more common and people would relate to a website with a .com much easily as opposed to any other. Again, that too has changed and people are now receptive of a lot more different and newer kind of extensions.
- Moreover as mentioned earlier, chances are every popular, common or sought after keyword related domain will be taken or will be very highly priced.
- At this stage it makes sense to opt for a decent other alternative like .net, .io etc (if available and affordable) or if you are targeting people from a particular country then you opt for a CCTLD also like .in, .us, .au etc.
- Or try a made-up or a grammatically incorrect phrase like we tried with BlogMeHow. It does tell our readers that it is related to blogging and how to guides etc. At the same time a .COM was within our reach.
- You should also understand that a lot of BIG and Popular portals never got .COM and yet they started off well. Once their business grew they were in a position to acquire a .com domain too.
- Bitly started off as Bit.ly and did awesomely well. They were then in a position to buy a expensive .COM domain only recently.
- Buffer went ahead with Bufferapp and only recently got hold of Buffer.com. Again a company that did well WITHOUT a .COM domain
- ProductHunt started off as Producthunt.co. Again – a success.
There are lot of other companies too which have done well and this proves that while you should prefer a .COM domain, not having a .COM domain will not stop you from growing or being making your website successful.
So if you don’t get a .COM – Chill, go for something else!
Choosing the Right Domain – Rules to pick a Domain correctly:
By now you know that the domain is vital to your website or blog and you have to get it right. Afterall you cannot be compromising with the identity of your website/ blog, right? Moreover once you get a domain and get on with your site and content, and soon realize the domain you picked is not the one you should have, you would be a mess to change it at that point. As not only the process gets a bit technical, you stand to loose your brand recognition and lot of time and effort will be involved. So my tip, pick the right domain once and for all.
Here are some tips to choosing the right Domain Name:
Generally the basics for choosing a Domain Name are as follows:
- Incorporate anyone of the top 5-6 keywords of your niche into the domain name
- As mentioned above, try for a .COM domain. However don’t let its unavailability deter you, as you can still pick a good domain with any other extension like .net, .co, .io etc. which are also good options, as discussed above.
- Ensure your domain name doesn’t infringe upon the copyrights of anyone, especially in the same stream or niche
- No one else from your niche should be ranking for the domain you pick. It will be difficult to rank otherwise.
- Keep the Domain Name – simple, easy to remember, type and without any numbers and special characters. Also the shorter the name the better.
- The domain should easily resonate with the niche and the purpose of your blog and website.
While the above list covers most of the things to keep in mind when picking the right kind of domain, I have written a detailed post on this one explaining each point in in-depth. You can refer it over here.
Can you get a free domain?
Well the answer is YES, but you should stay away from them. Here’s why.
There are few ways to get a FREE domain:
1. Dot.tk offers .tk domains:
The worst thing you can do for your blog. I seriously do not recommend it. While Dot.tk as a domain or an idea is not wrong or anything. However this ‘noble’ deed offered by them of getting a free domain for anyone, has resulted in a lot of shady and spammy websites opting for a .tk domain, just ‘coz its FREE.
As a result chances are search engines might not give a preference to such sites with a .tk extension, however great they are. Thus ranking for your niche will get a lot tougher and sometime impossible. Plus you run the risk of being marked as a ‘spammer’.
2. Free Domain with a Free Website Building or Blogging Site:
WordPress.com, Blogger, Weebly, Wix and a few such portals offer to have a FREE Domain as well as web hosting and while it is perfectly safe and secure. Again, it is not recommended as you will not be able to monetize such sites and will have to eventually upgrade or move out these free offerings.
While you are still on the free plan, you will have never have a unique domain to yourself. Let’s say you to name your site – ABC.com or ABC.net etc. Now with any of these options here, you will get a domain which is something like – ABC.WordPress.com or ABC.Blogspot.com or ABC.Weebly.com and so on. There goes your branding exercise out of the window!
You can find this explained in much detail, over here
3. FREE Domains Offered by 1 & 1:
1 & 1 Offers a chance to get genuine domains for FREE. They just charge you $0.99 which is just the registration fee. There is no cost for the domain as such.
However there is a catch. From the second year you will have to pay for the domain, as only the first year of the domain is FREE.
4. FREE Domains with Web Hosting Plan:
This is the one you should look for if you intend to go for a Free Domain. When you BUY a Web Hosting plan you will often see an option for a FREE Domain. If your chosen domain is available, you can have it for FREE expect in case where it is a very ‘premium’ domain. In most cases you will find what you are looking for. You might have to see it .COM is there for all, but you will get other alternative extension for sure.
You can of course get in-depth details, over here.
How to search for domains, the right way?
You will come across a lot of ways in which you can search for a Domain Name. However I recommend a single go-to place for your Domain Name search.
iwantmyname.com is a place to go to search your desired domain’s availability. Will not only show you whether or not your given option is available, but will also show you the list of possible domain extensions you can go for. Its a pretty fast and cool tool to get your domain.
Of course, if you want you can even get your domain for FREE if you signup for a web hosting plan with any of the web hosts. Check out more details here
How to get the domain you want, if you are particular about a name?
There will be times when the domain name you want is something you do not to compromise on. It can be a name of your product or the only name you wish to start your new blog or website with.
You will often find that the name you want is not available or is just too expensive (will come to that later in the post) so what do you do? Do you give up? No, there are some domain hacks you can try to still be able to get your desired domain.
Let’s say for example you want a domain name which is AwesomeBlog.com. You check the domain name and find out it is taken. So here are some of the things you can try:
- Take an alternate extension: .co is pretty ‘in thing’ these days or your can go for .io – another cool extension. Plus .net or any your country specific domain like .in, .us, .ca etc can also be opted for.
- Go for hacks like prefix, sufix or break it down: See if some simple prefix or suffix may do the trick.
- Like try for TheAwesomeBlog or MyAwesomeBlog or AwesomeBlog101 etc. Still if you do not find it, try for something like AwesomeBlogby.me or Awesome.Blog.me . Chances are you might find a suitable name by these methods.
- Try this tool: Try NameMesh to get some combinations and options of the domain name you are looking for. Check it over here.
You can even check the details post on Domain Name Hacks over here.
How to buy Cheap Domain?
In order to buy cheap domains you can look at options available at the above mentioned 1and1.com which you can buy a domain for as low as less than a $.
Yet another way to get cheap domain is to go for extension other than the more sought after ones, like .com or .net or .org. You might get domains of your choice with extensions like .biz, .website etc at cheaper prices.
Plus you can always opt for a long term registration like for 3-5 years together in order to get some discount and get your cheap domain right there.
And of course, like everything else, there coupon codes, if you can get your hands on one.
What do you mean by ‘Backorder’ for Domains?
Often times you will come across a situation wherein a domain of your choice is already taken or unavailable. Most of the case if a name of a domain is popular or very catchy, or is very widely used, chances are the .com and other popular extensions will be taken.
Now in some of these cases your domain registrar might provide an option for a ‘Backorder’.
What Backorder Domain means:
Backorder simply means an option to buy a domain at at a later date, if and when such a domain becomes available. Sometimes you have to pay some nominal fee upfront showing your interest in such a backorder. When the domain is available you will be notified about the same and if the price is acceptable, you can attempt to buy it.
Why I say attempt to buy it, is because generally just like you, there will be others who would have also make a ‘backorder’ request for the same domain. In such a case there will be an auction and the highest bidder might eventually buy it.
Why I don’t recommend it:
I recommend you avoid a backorder domain. The reason being first, it will only lead to a delay in you picking a domain name and thus starting your blog. The later you start, the more you allow the competition to grow.
Plus, you are not sure if you will actually get the domain even after the ‘wating’ period is over or the domain is available. As I said, it is more of an auction or a lottery. Also the backorder price you paid will be upto the domain providers discretion to refund it or not.
So long story short, avoid backorder domains or domain backorder. Use the domains hacks and tips provided in the sections above to get the domain you want, right now.
If you would like to what
What are Premium Domain Names?
Premium Domains are basically domains which are already registered by someone and is not up for sale directly. Such domains can be bought only from their owners and the domain registration companies play a mediator.
For instance if you need to buy a domain name BestBlogSite.com . But this domain is already bought by someone but not used or is not being used currently. Still the present owner keeps renewing the domain as he/she intends to sell it.
So now if you want BestBlogSite as a domain name you can either pick any other domain extension like .net, .co etc. except for .com or buy it from the seller.
Generally the domain name registration companies will list such domains separately under premium domains. The pricing of such domains is very high and range from a few hundred to a few million dollars in some cases.
However, this high fee is, in most cases a one time fee as from the next renewal, the fees are the usual renewal charges levied. The reason for this high first-time expense is that it involves a fraction of the registration fee, while the remaining is a ‘Transfer Fee’ the seller charges the buyer, which is always at a premium.
Here are some of the most expensive Premium Domain Names:
- VacationRental.com for $35 Million that is approx Two Hundred and Thirty Three Crores, yes!
- PrivateJet.com for $30 Million, yeah do the math 🙂
- Insure.com for $16 Million
- Fb.com bought by Facebook for $8.5 Million
There are just some of the Expensive Premium Domain Names ever sold. For a complete site, head over here.
What is Domain Privacy? And do you need it?
Ok, when you register a domain there is a certain chunk of information the domain registrar needs. This is your personal info right from your name, address, contact info to the number of years the domain is being registered for. This needs to be accurate and real, as these details are often verified by the company from whom you are buying the domain name.
This chunk of info is also known as “WhoIs Info”.
Now, there is something called as Whois Lookup and lot of sites provide you to check any website’s ‘whois info’. This can be for any reason. Just say you want to know who is the person running a website or how old this domain is or with whom has this domain been bought from. You would even want to approach a particular website’s owner or webmaster for marketing or business perspective.
For all this you can do a whois lookup and get their contact info, mostly email and get in touch with them.
Here comes Domain Privacy :
There is generally an added cost to having a domain privacy.
Do you need Domain Privacy:
Not really. And it actually has a positive impact. First let me talk about the “not really” part.
If you run a network of shady or objectionable sites, then you might want to consider it. However in usual cases where you run sites which are genuine you ideally should NOT have Domain Privacy. It gives a reliability and authenticity to a site that it is indeed being run by someone who is open and transparent enough to own up to those sites. It builds trust.
Now for the positive impact. If your WhoIs record is public, then Google finds your site to be trustworthy and it does value it a lot. Infact there is this untold thing called “TrustRank” and Brian Dean from Backlinko has written a whole post on this. You can check it here. So yeah, you basically don’t need domain privacy, for most cases.
Cases when you may want Domain Privacy:
There are certain time when you do need Domain Privacy.
1. You run a site or a blog under a Pen Name and do not want people to know the real name.
2. You do not like being bothered by eMails for Marketing tie-ups or are getting a lot of Spam related to your website – Yeah, a flipside to not having Domain Privacy is people might spam you with offers and marketing stuff in your email. But that can be avoided with the right tools and tactics.
3. You just don’t care about TrustRank and do not want to reveal who you are.
So, Does Getting a Domain mean you can now Start your Website?
As mentioned above, if you have a FREE Domain then probably you have taken from someone who is providing a “FREE” website. But again that is NOT advisable as explained. Morever, even in that case you still need to build a website and “host” is somewhere. Of course you FREE Domain providers will give you tools to build a website and get started. They will also host it for you for free.
But you know what happens to free sites. And again, simply getting a Domain will not mean your website is done.
Ideally getting a domain is only part of the process. You need to host your website and then POINT Your Domain to the Web Host. Once you do that only then will your site be LIVE. Putting content and stuff is another matter.
But to start a website your need to have a Domain, Web Host and a Site which is Hosted/Setup to run on that host. You can check this post I did over here on why just getting a domain, doesn’t mean you get a website.
Why NOT to buy Domains from Just About Anywhere?
Suddenly, you realize your site is sluggish and slow and then you get in touch with your web host since the site is hosted there and they are at their wits end as everything appears good at their end. You get upset, think they are taking your for a ride and post a bad review ans decide to move out.
Then someone from their customer care suggests to check the Domain Name Server, and you find out all the fuss was due to the problems with the domain server and not your web host!
Yes, Domains are on a server too. As mentioned at the start of the post in the “What are Domains?” section, Domain means an address that points to a certain IP. So basically your domain name is mapped to an IP address and a server runs this process that’s your DNS. Which in turn is pointed to the servers where your site is hosted, that is your web host or your web host’s IP, rather.
So here is what goes:
A. Someone enters BlogMeHow.com in their browsers [this is human readable language] ->
B. This fires a call to the IP mapped with BlogMeHow.com [IP is machine readable language] ->
C. The server running this Domain receives the call ->
D. It then fires a call to server or IP of the web host to load the contents of BlogMeHow on your webpage
The above process happens in fraction of seconds.
Understand one thing; your web host is NOT the first point of contact, it is the server of your Domain. So while the overall site speed and load times are dependent on the web host, if your domain server is messed up the first call itself will be in a soup and thus your site load speeds will be impacted.
Also, if this server is not a good one or reliable one, it will not be able to stand any possible threats like a DDOS attack – which is basically a kind of attack by hackers wherein there are automated queries fires to your website simulataneously, resulting in increased utilization of your server resources. This results in your site going down.
Moreover your should be vary of some of the malpractices done by some of the “Domain Name Providers”.
Practices like Domain name fronting, whereby whatever domain name you enter will be logged in their backend and blocked. Now you will not be able to buy this domain from any other company except for this one. They might offer it to you at any price they feel like. This is a common practice to make money by blocking your preferred domains n trying to sell it to you at a higher price, or to someone else looking for that same domain at a higher price.
Moreover as you must have known by now, how performance, the reputation of your web host and from where you buy your domain – all this affects your “TrustRank” something that Google values.
Ideally, buy a domain from reliable and reputable source like iwantmyname.com You can also get it from the web host your are buying your hosting and get it for free.
Actually, I highly recommend you refer this Guide on Where and How to Buy a Domain Name, over here.
I have written a lot more on domain as well as web hosting and starting your blog. You can also explore the site for more such topics. Moreover, I recommend you have a look at some the posts which will definitely help you to get started with blogging, over here and ways to ensure you make a ‘failproof’ website over here. Or simply check the WordPress Tutorial, hand curated by me, over here
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