Domain names have been around since the beginning of the World Wide Web.
Before the idea of domain names and search engines like Google, you used to have to type in the IP address of a the server hosting the website you wanted to go to like 123.456.789.10 in order to visit it.
Nowadays, there are over 300 million domain names registered and over 200 different extensions to choose from.
I bet you’re like wait… what’s a domain extension?
A domain extension is the part that goes after the dot/period “.” of a domain name.
For example, if my domain is “robertd.uk“, the “.uk” part would be the domain extension chosen and the “robertd” part is the part what makes the domain name unique to me, like a username.
Domain extensions vary in price, depending on their popularity and whatever the domain registrar (the place where you buy your domain name from) charges.
Some common domain extensions and their uses are as follows…
- .com – The oldest and most famous, usually favoured by many and designed for companies, but can be used by individuals too.
- .net – Designed for networking-based companies such as ISPs and web hosts but often used by companies and individuals as an alternative to “.com“.
- .org – Designed for non-profit organisations such as charities but again, sometimes used as an alternative to “.com“.
- .info – Another old one and usually used for information and brochure style websites, fallen out of favour recently.
- .biz – Another one fallen out of favour recently, but was designed for small/medium sized businesses.
- .me – Designed for individuals and personal websites or digital side-hustles.
- .co.uk – Designed for UK-based companies, businesses, individuals and websites. There is also “.org.uk”, “.me.uk” and just “.uk”… all part of the “.uk” family of domain names.
Domain names are available on a first-come, first-served basis and are registered annually or by purchasing many years in bulk.
If a domain name expires (you don’t renew it or it doesn’t auto-renew itself), it will enter a grace-period (usually between 30-90 days) before it is made available to anyone again, so be careful to make sure your domain is renewed on time.
So now you know what a domain name is, why on earth would you want one, even if you don’t plan on starting a website or web presence any time soon?
There are plenty of great uses for having a domain name…
- Website or Portfolio – If you did want your own website or portfolio, registering a domain is the best place to start, you will be able to tell people to visit your domain name to get to your website.
- Blog – If you wanted to start your own blog, a place to jot down your thoughts (highly recommended and quite rewarding), you will need a way for people to get to your blog, a domain name is great for this and much better than a subdomain that most blogging platforms give you like “yourname.wordpress.com” or “yourname.blogspot.com”.
- Online Store i.e. Shopify, Ebay, Amazon, Etsy... – If you wanted to run your own e-commerce online store using a platform like Shopify (better than the “yourname.myshopify.com” subdomain) or sell a few things online using platforms like Etsy, Ebay, Amazon, Depop, Vinted (there are so many lol) you can re-direct your domain name to the subdomain or address they give you.
- Email – A huge benefit of having a domain name is you can use it for a customised and professional-looking email address such as “email@example.com” rather than “firstname.lastname@example.org” or “email@example.com”.
- Social Media i.e. Facebook page, Instagram profile, LinkedIn page… – You can point and re-direct your domain name to your Facebook or Instagram page, especially if you are an influencer or have a following.
- Content Channel i.e. YouTube channel, SoundCloud profile… – You can point and re-direct your domain name to your media/content channel like your YouTube channel or SoundCloud profile to get more listeners/viewers easier.
- Host your CV – If you are applying for jobs, you can put your CV online by using your domain name.
So you see, there are huge number of reasons why you’d want and use a domain name.
Especially with everyone moving online recently and the web being the place to be.
Hence why I’d advise you try and get your own (or a few) soon, because someone else does and you might regret it later on.