What is a domain name?
The domain name or URL (Uniform Resource Locator) of your website is the address that you type into your web browser that starts with www.
For example, the domain name of this site is www.woosimon.com.
This domain name is linked to your website so that when you type it into a web browser (or click it in a link), your computer knows where to find all the files.
You need to “purchase” your URL from a domain name registrar, which are companies accredited by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organization that controls the name and number systems of the Internet.
I say “purchase” in inverted commas, as you can’t actually buy and own a domain name outright, but rather pay an annual fee in order to have the right to use the domain.
As long as you pay the annual fee, you will be the “Registrant” or “Domain Holder” of the domain name.
How do I get one?
To register a domain name for your website, you need to go to a domain name registrar such as GoDaddy.com (though there are 100s of different options out there).
You’ll then need to use their search tool to check if your desired name is available.
There are over 2 billion websites out there on the internet (around 400 million of which are active), so as you can imagine, there’s a fair chance that your perfect domain name has already been taken – sorry!
This means you’re going to have to get creative…
Once you’ve found a suitable name that’s available, you can pay to register it, typically for 1-2 years at a time.
How much will it cost?
Under most circumstances, you should be able to find a suitable domain name for somewhere between €9.99-19.99 per year.
That is providing it’s not a highly sought after name, nor already registered by someone else (people make money by registering interesting names, then reselling the right to use them at a profit – beer.com for instance was sold for $7 million!).
You can also find domains much cheaper now that there are more “TLDs” (the suffixes such as .com, .org, .net etc), but I’d generally recommend sticking with .com or your national equivalent (.co.uk, .es, .fr, etc) where possible.