What is a Domain Name?
A domain name is an essential for a website. This is the human-readable address of your site – without one, your website would just be found by a string of numbers representing the computer it’s on.
A domain name consists of up to 3 parts:
www. – indicates that it’s a web address (optional – see below)
example – the main part of the domain, usually representing a company or organisation name
.com – the domain suffix
The domain suffix is the part that indicates what type of domain it is. Examples are:
- .com – Company
- .org – Organisation (usually nonprofit)
- .edu – Educational establishment
- .net – Network provider
Countries apart from the USA also have their own domain suffixes, so we can have
- .com.au – Australian company
- .org.uk – Nonprofit UK organisation
- .eu – European site
Domain names may have www or non-www versions; both variants are acceptable. It’s just a matter of personal preference. Usually you will let search engines know which version is preferable to rank in their index. Google Webmaster Tools lets you select your preferred domain.
Domain name buying tips
Domain names can be purchased from domain name registrars.
- The .com name is thought to be the most prestigious, though it’s harder to find a good one that hasn’t already been taken. If you are UK-based, you may prefer to go with a .co.uk domain name.
- You may wish to buy variants on your domain name with other suffixes, usually to stop other people from using them. If one or more of them are unavailable and you really want them, you might want to consider picking a different domain name.
- Make your domain name short and easy to remember.
- Avoid hyphens in your domain name if you can.
- Don’t buy hosting from your domain name registrar. There are several reasons for this, the main ones being:
- Good domain name registrars usually make bad hosts.
- It’s easier to move your hosting or domain if they’re with separate providers.
- Better security – if hosting and your domains are in one place and you get hacked, the hackers get control of both.
Buying domains with GoDaddy
GoDaddy is one of the most well known domain name registrars, which I will use as an example here.
GoDaddy offers good prices, but is not the most straightforward provider to use.
Note that I’m using the UK version of the site to search for and buy a .com and a .co.uk domain name.
Here are the steps in registering
Go to uk.godaddy.com and search for the domain name you want (the middle part). Double-check the spelling.
I’ve searched for noonewillthinkofthis.
Make sure the domain name you want is actually available, otherwise you cannot buy it!
In this case, it is available.
GoDaddy asks if you want to get the .com version (the default). It also asks you if you want to buy the .co.uk as well, plus 3 other variants.
Select the domain types you want. In this case, I want the .com and the .co.uk. This means clicking on the green button for the .com and checking the checkbox for the .co.uk.
If you want the .co.uk, it’s important to add the .co.uk domain name at this stage, as GoDaddy does not give you the option to add this domain name extension later on.
Make sure that the page says the correct number of domains are selected i.e. 2 for this example. Then Continue to Cart.
On the next screen, you will be asked if you want domain privacy. This hides your personal information from view from anyone searching for the owner of a domain. You can enable this if you choose, but it costs at least £5.99 every year. I don’t think it’s necessary, and there are some caveats. Read the Wikipedia entry on domain privacy for more information.
Ignore the options for hosting and email (scroll down the page) and click the orange Continue to Cart button at the bottom.
Register to create an account, or log in if you are an existing customer.
On the next screen, you will be asked to review your purchase.
Scroll down the page and you can enter a discount code if you have one. Hot UK Deals carries current discount codes.
Scroll back up and check that you have the correct domains. The default is to register them for 2 years, but you can change this number to 1, 3, 5 or 10 – it’s up to you. Read here to see how the length of time you register your domain for for can affect your SEO.
GoDaddy will offer you more options like domain privacy (again), more domains (again), domain certification and search engine visibility. My advice is to forget all of these add-ons and just get the domains you want.
When you are happy, proceed to the checkout and pay.
Whew! You’re done – for now. You should receive a confirmation email telling you what you’ve bought and giving you your customer number. Keep this and your password safe (or use a password manager).
I hope this has helped you learn about registering a domain name with GoDaddy. If this tutorial helped you, I would appreciate a comment.