One of the most important things when starting your website is a great domain name. Your domain should be memorable and reflect you but Domain names are also one of the most misunderstood aspects of having a presence on the internet. With this blog post, I hope to demystify Domains and pass along some important info about when to get a domain and the best practices for Domain names. 

 

At its core a domain name is a way to lookup information on the internet every computer on the internet has a unique number (like a telephone number) called an “IP Address” and when the internet was just for military and research use this was fine but when the world wide web came online in the 80s and the web was opened to everyone there needed to be a system for easy to use could you imagine having to remember an 8 digit number such as http://172.16.254.1/ to get to your favorite website instead they created a Domain Name Service or DNS the DNS acts as a phone book turning these numbers into easy to remember words

 

Now with that technical stuff out of the way, we will go over some points about purchasing and setting up a domain

 

What does your Domain End In?

 

Your domain is going to be www.yourgreatname.something the most famous is .com with the others of the Big 5 being .org .net .us and .info on Google Domains these 5 endings all register for 12.00 per year. in the beginning of the internet, they all had meanings such as .com was intended for commerce, .org was for nonprofits .net for internet and technology .us for American Entities and .info for informational websites. In practice any of these can be used for any type of website although to register a .us domain you must be an American Citizen or Resident and .us has mostly seen use on Local or State Governments there are also “Vanity Endings” such as .me .pro .actor .theater and .dance but the pricing of these can vary widely from registrar to registrar there are some endings that are completely restricted such as .edu (Colleges and Education) and .gov (US Federal Government) there are some free domains too that can be registered through Freenom these are .TK / .ML / .GA / .CF / .GQ but we would recommend being careful while using those you never truly own these free domains 

We recommend you start with .com and if that is available, then .me then .info and then if you have to .net .org can be a last resort.  

Website and Internet domain names web concept with domains sign and text on colorful computer keys.

Choose a Registrar wisely

 

The companies that sell domain names are called “registrars” and sales policies and pricing can vary from registrar to registrar some charge for things like privacy protection and others include it some will have a lower price for the first year s than the price goes up in subsequent years others have flat pricing We highly recommend Google Domains and we don’t make money off of it the combination of flat, easy pricing, share of control that allows us to configure and monitor your domain and free privacy protection make Google Domains our pick 

 

  

Domains must be unique 

There can only be one combination of words and an ending. If you have sell apples sorry,  your aren’t getting apple.anything if you have a “more common” name you will have a tougher chance getting your name is a domain name when you enter your name on the domain registrar website it will show you all the options available for your name   

 

Get Your Domain Early…or Loose it

We recommend you grab your domain name as soon as you decide this is what you want to do, As soon as you start going to auditions, get it as soon as your child starts taking classes, get it. even if you have no intention of getting a website right away you can park your domain for later use and pay the low registration fees to prevent someone else from getting it if you have a common name you will honestly have less of a chance of getting the domain you want but there are many options to get a memorable name If you choose not to register your name Someone could get it out from under you especially if you get cast in something that causes your name to become known and these “domain squatters” will register the name you want then attempt to sell it back to you at a high profit if you are getting something that would put you in the public eye it is suggested to register at least all of the “Big 5” variants to make sure you are covered.

This would be an expense of about 60.00

 

What if you can’t get your name?

There may be a case of all the regular combinations of a name are taken you can then use the dash method such as www.your-name.com or if you have a well known social media presence you could always turn your instagram handle into your domain you can use something like  www.yournameoffical.com sometimes you will have to get creative with your domain name to get the right one  

 

Make sure YOU own your domain  

When a Web Designer, manager or photographer sets up your website it can be very enticing to just let them handle the tech stuff. They may say I’ll register the domain and just put it under my account. On the surface this seems like a great idea they manage your domain, and you pay them the yearly fee but in that scenario you don’t own your domain, they do   if you ever have a disagreement or they just disappear or God forbid something happens to them you it can be very difficult i to get control of your domain if someone is uncooperative or unavailable it usually takes a costly appeal to get control of your domain name and then you still might loose it in the end. The better plan is always to register your own domain and use sharing tools such as those on Google Domains to share control or just set the nameservers yourself as long as you can set your own nameservers whoever is doing your site shouldn’t need to access your domain account.

 

Remember, Domains need to be Renewed Every Year

Domains need to be renewed every year it’s easiest if you turn on auto renew if you do this as long as the creditcard  the most important thing is to stay on top of the email address 

 

    

Use Privacy Protection 

 

Privacy Protection is Free on Google Domains and Highly recommended. We require privacy be on for all sites featuring minors 

 

All domain names have a WHOIS listing, that goes into a database of all the registered domains and all the registrant information such as address and contact details associated with a domain. This information on WHOIS is available to everyone over the Internet. Without Domain Privacy Protection, all your data is available to the public. Thus, Domain Privacy Protection is a service that hides all your contact information from the public on WHOIS listing.

 

Privacy Protection is a service that’s available when you purchase your domain name. It is up to you the user to enable or disable it. You can purchase it, at the time of Transferring or Registering your domain name or at any other point in time as long as your domain name is valid. In fact, if you even purchase an SSL certificate for your domain, depending on your hosting provider you may or may not need to disable your WHOIS privacy temporarily though earlier it was compulsory to do so.

 

Why is it Important?

 

Safeguard your Information

When you register your domain name, the registrar is required to enter your contact information by ICANN. WHOIS is a service that manages all the data with respect to domain registration. The WHOIS of your (registrant) domain name lists all your personal data such as Name, Company Name, Address, Contact Number, Email Address etc as contact details for your domain name. If anyone performs a WHOIS lookup then all your personal information is available to them. This is true for all gTLDs and some ccTLDs, as most ccTLDs follow their country-specific policies.One of the primary reasons for WHOIS listing all your information is that ICANN believes in giving internet users the ability to validate the credibility of a website and identify who it is owned by, given the open source/chaotic nature of the internet. ICANN also mandates registrars to monitor data that registrants submit for accuracy. If the information that a registrant provides is incorrect or false it could lead to cancellation of the domain name.However, this does not prevent you from using Privacy Protection services on your domain name. 

 

Stop Unwanted Contact

If this data, falls into the wrong hands you may become a victim of spam and other junk calls/emails. When you enable Domain Privacy Protection, your data is hidden from unwanted solicitors and domain hijackers. Not only this but scammers could use your business details for social hacking to taking over your business.Thus, Domain Privacy Protection even helps you keep your domain & business secure.

 

Domains are very important yet very misunderstood but if you follow these tips you can be a domain AllStar If you have any other questions about domains don’t hesitate to reach out