Domain names are what people put in the browser when trying to find your website. Well, sure.

But what really is a domain name?

A helpful analogy is to imagine a house with an address. Someone trying to visit our website uses the address or domain name to send a request out to the resolvers of the interwebs saying “hey! I’m looking for this place!”

Since the actual website files could live on any server and the simple information of a domain name doesn’t give enough direction, hosting providers need to use DNS records to ‘expose’ useful information/records which helps to tell other networks “hey, I’ve got that address over here!”. If you’ve heard about Content-Delivery-Networks and why they improve performance, maybe you can see how having copies of your files distributed all over makes it easier to resolve the question of “where is this domain!?”

A Bit About Binary

Unsurprisingly, computers have a preference for machine code. In fact, there’s tons of code out there that makes human code into machine code — weird, huh. 

Every computer/server has an IP address and it looks something like:

66.814.211

Domain names are essentially an abstraction from IP addresses. Since the web is a massive network of servers and computers talking to each other, it is more optimal for these machines to use a numerical value system like IP addresses, rather than abstracting even further to communicate with alpha-numeric character values.

You can see from the image below how each unique binary combination of 1’s and 0’s is assigned to a specific letter. 

If we hadn’t create domain names, we would need to memorize the IP address value of each of our favorite websites — what a mess!

How much do domains cost?

Domain values can range depending on the related industries or business prospects associated to the domain name. A typical domain costs $14.99, while some high sought after domain names reach values of over $1k.

When to register a domain

It’s best to register a domain as soon as you have a business concept and some sense of a brand identity.

Domain names are cheap low investments. Essentially, if you are getting serious about building a business online, then you should register your domain name asap.

Having a domain name already registered and set up helps to protect your brand and business name.

Do I Need a Website to Register a Domain Name?

Nope! In fact, most hosting providers have basic website builders that can get you off the ground. Contrary to what the hosting providers may say about the website builders, they are generic and have minimal styling capabilities. I don’t recommend using these if you are primarily an online (ecommerce) business.

You can also read my article about how to setup a Ecommerce site in a day.

What makes a domain name great?

Domain names are instrumental to a websites brand and identity. It’s a small taste of your brand before your customer ever even reaches your website. This is why it is so important to choose a domain wisely.

Note: Don’t get bogged down with finding the perfect name — just make sure it captures your niche!

Here are some tips:

  1. Use keywords related to your brand name. This will both help with organic SEO and be more memorable to users
  2. Choose a domain name that is easy to pronounce and is as short as possible.

Use the discount code DOMFREE at Domain.com to get a free domain when you purchase a WordPress Hosting plan. The offer expires October 31st, 2020!

If it’s expired, check out our affiliate partner InMotion Hosting for their free domain offer.

If you are looking to build an ecommerce store, check out my post about how to setup an ecommerce store in a day.

Good luck launching your new project!