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What's In A ( Domain ) Name ?

A domain name is an identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority or control in the Internet.  Domain names are formed by the rules and procedures of the Domain Name System ( DNS ).

Domain names are used in various networking contexts and application-specific naming and addressing purposes.  In general, a domain name represents an Internet Protocol ( IP ) resource, such as a personal computer used to access the Internet, a server computer hosting a website, or the website itself or any other service communicated via the Internet.

The registration of these domain names is usually administered by domain name registrars who sell their services to the public.     -- Wikipedia

Domain Names Explained

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In the easiest of terms, a domain name acts similarly like the address on your residence.  Every dwelling, business or building that wants postal mail to be able to be delivered to it, requires a unique postal address that is generated by the USPS and / or local government.  The postal service and ultimately, your local letter carrier understands that addressing system and delivers your mail straight to your doorstep.

Domain names are addresses for specific areas of the Internet.  If you require a website, you must have a domain name, so your marketplace can find you and come to your doorstep.

Domain Names ImageMore specifically, domain names are word strings that are easily recognized and remembered by humans, that are then transformed into IP ( Internet Protocol ) addresses that are easily recognized by computers.  IP addresses are a basic collection of binary digits, ones and zeros, in a long string.  Ones & Zeros.  They are the only two things that computers actually understand -- ones and zeros -- representing on and off.  That is it !

Domain Name System ( DNS )

Domain names are controlled by the Domain Name System ( DNS ) and are serviced through thousands of Domain Name Registrars who charge a fee for their services of registering and providing the usage of a unique domain name by an entity.

Domain names are usually contracted and renewed on a yearly basis and costs range from around $ 15.00 to absolutely nothing, depending on the package that you contract into with your Domain Name Registrar.  Most registrars also provide web hosting as a part of their services and package the domain name registration, some for free, into your contract with them.

It is not necessary that the Domain Name Registrar and the Web Hosting Services Company be the same entity. There are two schools of thought here. One suggests that an entity use a single company for both their Domain Name Registrar and Web Hosting, because if problems arise, and there can be problems, only one customer service department need be contacted for the solution. The other says that putting ones eggs, all in one basket, is inherently a problem, and these services should be separated. An entity must weigh the pros and cons each way and decide for themselves their appropriate direction here.

Domain Names Governance

The control of the Domain Name System is by the not-for-profit, public-benefit corporation ICANN, which is short for Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.  You can be redirected to ICANN here, for more information.

WhoIs Domain Lookup Service

To conduct a search for your own unique domain name, you can be redirected to the WhoIs services at InterNIC.netWhoIs services provide public access to data on currently registered domain names.  If your search on InterNIC returns no resultant information, then that domain name is available to be registered for your use.

The Top US Domain Name Registrars

Registrar URL
HQ Location
( in Millions )
*Wild West Domains is a part of Go Daddy Operating Co.
Source -- as of 2/25/2014 -- http://www.webhosting.info/registrars/top-registrars/global/
Go Daddy
Scottsdale, Arizona
Redmond, Washington
Network Solutions
Herndon, Virginia
Wild West Domains*
Scottsdale, Arizona
New York, New York
Pompano Beach, Florida
Provo, Utah


These are just the top US registrars who service over a million domains.  There are literally thousands of companies that provide these services, all over the world.  Please feel free to ask around and / or do your own research into these services businesses.

.com , .org , .net -- ohhhh -- .why ?

It is said that a business entity must have a domain name ending with dot-com.  Consider this.  According to www.webhosting.info, of the 80.8 million registered domain names in the US, over 76 % of them are .com's.  That's 61.5 million.  What do you think ?  Obviously, all of the good names are taken, right ?  Tell that to Google !  Get creative folks.

7.8 million dot-net's, 6.3 million dot-org's, 3 million dot-info's and 1.3 million dot-biz's.  Can your marketplace still find you if you are a .net ?  Yes, but only if they remember that you are.  The default when most people look for a website, is always going to be .com !  Get yours while you can.


Getting creative ?  Here are the rules and some recommendations.

Domain names can be made up of letters, numbers and the hyphen character.  That's it.  They can't begin or end with the hyphen.  Domain names are interpreted as case-independent.  e.g. ZooYou.com and zooyou.com are the same.

Domain names should be as short as possible.  63 characters is all that is allowed.  Remember that your customers are going to have to remember and type this domain name into their browser -- and you are also, many more times than you would like.

Avoid using the hyphen if possible.  It is much easier to type zooandyou.com than it is zoo-you.com, wouldn't you agree ?  The hyphen character is above the "p" on your keyboard, and we believe the letter "p" is already difficult enough to type.

Available, easy and common .com domain names are getting more scarce every day.  Is it the end of the world to register a .net or .biz ?  No.  Over time, these other TLD's ( top-level domains ) are becoming more commonplace.


Short and memorable.  .com   And get creative.  We hope this blog has helped you !


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About the Author

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Bradley S Rinehart, Principal, Webmaster, Designer, Copywriter
Rinehart Enterprises  |  Phoenix, Arizona
Rinehart Enterprises, aka, RE:, are Business Presence Consultants
Designing Complete Presence For Business !

Our Blogs can also be seen on our Blogger page.



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+2 #3 What's In A ( Domain ) Name ?free domain 2014-07-06 04:28
Awesome post.

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+3 #2 What's In A ( Domain ) Name ?katrinfuhrmann 2014-03-20 05:50
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+3 #1 What's In A ( Domain ) Name ?Molly 2014-02-24 12:14
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