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This article was published on June 13, 2016

All things domain: The questions you’re too afraid to ask

All things domain: The questions you’re too afraid to ask
Adine Rooyackers
Story by

Adine Rooyackers

I'm a geek in disguise and a writer on a mission. Sometimes more disguise than geek. Hazard of enjoying sports like kitesurfing and skiing. I'm a geek in disguise and a writer on a mission. Sometimes more disguise than geek. Hazard of enjoying sports like kitesurfing and skiing. Still get regular #nerdgasms in the fast world of tech.

It’s safe to say the internet has crushed every sceptic’s dream and it’s here to stay.

There’s barely a business in the developed world that doesn’t have an online presence.

Whether it’s a website, a Facebook company page, or even a mention on Google maps – the internet is where modern businesses and their customers connect. And then there’s the people.

And with more than three billion people online at any given time, a number that keeps growing every second, your company needs to be online to be relevant.

At some point you may want to take the leap from your dusty MySpace page and wander into the wondrous world of websites. And if you do, you might feel a wee bit lost and confused.

So here you have it, six questions about domains you may be too afraid to ask.

What’s the difference between a domain and a URL?

If URL’s (uniform resource locator) are the addresses of the internet, domains are the names of its cities. These cities can be big or small, but they all need a name.

Our domain name is – stripped of all the https:// and www protocols that are associated with websites… directions to a particular city, if you will.

This name is your creation – so make sure that the name you use for your address is informational, easy to pronounce, and memorable.

You can own a domain without having a website, that just means no one else can use that particular name.

Once you have your domain set up and your website live, you can start creating different pages. This is where all the W’s get back in the game – allowing other computers to find your content.

Each page gets a separate url, so both you and your browser can discern one page from another.

And all those bits after the name? Think of those as neighborhoods, telling you exactly where you are and where everything is located.

Put it all together, and you have one awesome Web address.

I bought a kick-ass domain name with a sick url. How do I get it all online?

Buying a domain name is step one in getting your page up. Getting a website running on your domain is a whole different matter.

That’s where hosting providers come in – these wonderful companies rent out space on their servers where they store your website’s data.

Most hosting providers have ready-to-go packages where you buy data, and installing WordPress or Squarespace literally takes a few minutes.

Once installed, all you have to do is go in the backend system and fill her up with content!

Do domain extensions matter?

Funnily enough, not in the sense you’d expect.

In the beginning, different organizations had different extensions – .gov and .org are two well known ones that help website visitors know what kind of organization it is.

After the .com bubble burst, many different extensions of the domains have popped up and increased in popularity. A few variations are .me, .shop, .amsterdam – pretty much .whatever.

Previously, having the .com was the ‘go to’ and was the generally accepted extension of choice. But thanks to some really cool extensions, you’re now free to be .you and .me. It’s all about personal preference. 

But you may be thinking that Google or other search engines will penalize you for having a creative extension. This is far from the truth.

Jennifer Wolfe of Search Engine Watch believes search engine users will eventually prefer shorter and more relevant domains and, eventually, Google may even give preference to these domains over traditional ones.


Is it possible to own every single domain name on the internet?

Nope. Not even if you have Charles Xavier’s mind controlling mutant powers and Tony Stark-type riches.

Owning every single domain is just as much fantasy.

I bought my domain name, so it’s mine forever. One and done, right?

Wrong – ‘buying’ a domain name is a very loose term and is more like renting.

While it’s possible to renew your name for longer increments, it’s still not yours forever.

And always check the fine print of your chosen registrar because you don’t want to forget to renew your name like poor Sony did.

rent, vacancy

I found my ultimate end-game domain name, but it’s taken. How do I get my hands on it?

All’s not lost when your desired domain name is already taken. It’s literally like a piece of real-estate that you can buy or sell.

Here are a few tricks you can use:

  • Find out who owns the domain and contact them seeing if they want to sell.
  • Have your hosting provider or a domain broker do the hard work for you. Most hosting providers will be able to put out a bid if a domain becomes available at a minimal cost.

Still, it’s usually a better idea to try out different options and different name extensions.

So there you have it! Six frequently asked questions about domains.

Have more? Feel free to ask in the comments or shout out to us on Twitter and and we’ll answer.