Sunday, November 3, 2013

What is a Domain name?

Setting up a website begins with registering a domain. So what exactly is a domain? A domain is a web address on the Internet. Think of it like your home address which is unique to you and you alone. A web address works the same way, it is unique to one individual or company and identifies their web location; for example, xyz.com. Domain registration is administered by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). In Kenya, .ke domains are administered by Kenya Network Information Centre (KENIC)
There are two parts in a domain name; a top level domain and a second level domain. Second level domains are usually picked by an owner after registration if the name is available. For example in www.yahoo.com, ‘yahoo’ is the second level domain. Top level domains include .com (pronounced dot com), .net, and .org. some of these top level domains are restricted for use to specific organizations or even countries. For example, .gov is used by governments and .edu is mostly used by the schools.
There are also country code top level domains (ccTLD's). These are country or region specific. For example:

  • .co.ke - This is used by companies in Kenya  
  • .US – This is an option for companies or businesses in the United States.
  • . EU – This is an option for companies and businesses in the EU.
  • . CO.UK – This is an option for businesses in the United Kingdom.

There are also other types of domains which one may consider such as; .BIZ, .WS, .MOBI, .TV, and .INFO.
A .COM domain is always recommended for companies and businesses; however one may find that their desired domain is already taken by someone else. In such a case, one can come up with the next best alternative name or try and purchase their desired domain from the current registrant. However, more often than not, purchasing the domain from an existing registrant may prove to be too costly.
Registering a domain with a registrar costs between $6 and $15 per year depending on the following;

  • The type of domain, 
  • Number of domains being registered, and,
  • The registrar. 

A .COM domain typically costs $8 per year on average while a .co.ke domain costs an average of Kes 2,500 annually. When registering a domain, always keep in mind the following;

Launch your Online Business with a $5.99 .COM!
  • Keep the name short and easy to remember – A domain name should be short and easy to remember. Where your preferred name is already registered, try adding an extra relevant name at the end; for example if xyz Inc is a manufacturing company and xyz.co.ke is already taken, try xyzmanufacturing.co.ke or xyzinc.com.
  • Do not use hyphenation in your domain name, this causes confusion and is not easy to remember. For example, xyzmanufacturing.co.ke is much easier to remember than x-y-zmanufacturing.co.ke.

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