Domain Name Checklist

What is a domain name? It is the address of your website on the internet and the name that people enter when they want to go to your website. The whole string taken together is called the URL or uniform resource locator. For instance, the URL of this site is https://www.silphiumdesign.com/…. The URL consists of three parts.

  1. https://: The first, https:// is the communication protocol for the internet called hypertext transfer protocol. A lot of early sites had http://, but now you want to have https://, which is the secure version. An “s” is added with an SSL certificate through Let’s Encrypt or a bought certificate.
  2. www.: This is the hostname, World Wide Web, not to be confused with the hosting company for the site.
  3. silphiumdesign: second-level domain for the site. Sometimes there may be a sub-domain that appears before the “silphiumdesign” and can be used for blogs, eCommerce sites, or sites that you want to have separate from the main site.
  4. .com: This is the top-level domain. Most commercial sites use this domain. Other top-level domains include .net, .org, .edu, and .gov.

Choosing a Name

Now that you know what a domain name is, you need to decide what domain name you would like. This can be a hard choice since a lot of domain names are already taken by other websites. Desirable qualities in a domain name is one that is easy to pronounce, is short, and uses a keyword if possible. Do not use a hyphen. Also, be sure to check the US Trademark Office to make sure your domain is not too similar to one already in use. It is best to have a number of possible domain names in mind hoping that one of the names is not already taken.

Searching for Name Availability

Once you have some ideas of a domain name, you need to see if the domain name is available. I recommend you search first on whois.net. Whois.net is the main network for domain names and provides a search function for domain names. If a name is already taken, sometimes it is for sale and whois.net will give information on how to contact the owner. If the name you want is available then you can look for a registrar.

Domain Name Registrars

Almost every hosting provider also provides registration services. Some examples include NameCheap, TMDHosting, SiteGround, InMotion, A2Hosting, DreamHost, and WP Engine. Google even provides registration services. Things to check for include the introductory price versus the main price, cost of domain privacy, and any other fees. There can be quite a difference among hosts. It is often best, to register your name with a registrar that is different from your hosting account. This way you are not trapped into having to stay with the same host if at some point down the road you want to change hosts.

Contact Silphium Design for help

If you have questions or need help with the above please contact Silphium Design at robcoxe@silphiumdesign.com or 814-775-0005. We will be glad to help. If you have anything to add to the above or know a good domain name registrar not mentioned, please leave a comment below.

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