What Is a Domain Name?

What Is a Domain Name

To create a website, you need to create and register a domain. A domain name is a web address that you type into a web browser to access a website. Domain registration is a very easy process. When you register a domain name, it is unique to you and yours to keep for as long as you renew it. If you register your domain with us at UKHost4U, you will have to renew your domain name every year.

Domain names are alphanumeric, and there are over 280 extensions available (the suffix at the end of a domain name). These extensions are split into categories which we’ll discuss in another article, but some of the extensions include:

  • .com
  • .co.uk
  • .net
  • .org
  • .site
  • .info
  • .club
  • .website

You can think of a domain name as a unique identifier for websites. The difference of a single letter in a domain name is all it takes to land somewhere unintended or nowhere at all (if the domain name hasn’t been registered).

Why Do I Need a Domain Name?

You need a domain name because a website cannot exist without it.
In other words, without a domain name, your customers won’t have a website to find you on. It really is as simple as that.

For most people, a domain name is nothing more than something they type into a web browser or click on to visit a website. This everyday relationship perfectly demonstrates the effectiveness of domain names in their simplicity.

However, there’s a little more to domain names than that.

A close up of a woman holding a phone with a search bar displayed above.

Domain Names and IPs

Now, you may be wondering why domain names exist. The answer is because numbers are too difficult to remember.

Let us explain.

A domain name is a unique address that someone types into their web browser to visit a website. However, this isn’t the website’s true address. The true address of a website is a series of numbers known as an IP address, such as 123.45.678.91. All websites have a unique IP address.

When you buy a domain name, you buy an IP address. But, since a series of numbers would be impossible to remember, you get to choose a domain name that is language-based, such as Google.co.uk or Microsoft.com.

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The domain name “points” to the IP address, which is what enables you to type in something like Facebook.com or Google.com and land on it.
In fact, domain names and their corresponding IP addresses are also interchangeable, so if you wanted to, you could enter a website’s IP address directly into your web browser just as you would a domain name.

As an aside, there are two types of IP – IPV4 and IPV6. You don’t need to know anything about these, other than IPV4 is number-based, IPV6 is alphanumeric-based, and IPV6 came afterwards to allow for more unique addresses to be created.

Domain Names With Multiple IP Addresses

Now you know why domain names exist and their relationship to IP addresses, you may be wondering why some websites have two or more IP addresses.

The most obvious reason is if a website is particularly busy, or if it is hosted in multiple locations, to enable load balancing (distributing incoming network traffic across a group of servers each with their own IP address). This speeds things up and reduces the load on one network. It’s also beneficial for security.

How Do I Register a Domain Name?

You buy and register a domain name at the same time. Buying a domain name automatically registers it under the contact details you provide.

You buy a domain name from a domain name registrar, and there are hundreds of these. They set their own prices and special offers, so it pays to shop around.

At UKHost4U, we are one such domain name registrar, offering domain names in all categories. Whether you are thinking about a .com, .co.uk, .net, .me or .org, you can search and buy and register a domain from us in just a few steps.

When you buy a domain name, you are actually renting it. So, there is a renewal period which you set yourself at the time of purchase. Most registrars (including UKHost4U) allow you to register a domain name from 1 to 5 years.

How Do I Find out If a Domain Is Available?

You can instantly check if a domain name is available by searching for a domain here. When you search for a domain name through us, we will tell you straight away if it’s available. Make sure you put your ideal extension on the end of your search (for example, .com or .co.uk) and our search engine will do the rest.

Can I Transfer a Domain?

Just as you can buy a domain name from any one of several registrars, you can also transfer your domain name between registrars.

You might want to transfer a domain name to another registrar to simplify your web presence, for example, by transferring your domain name to your web hosting company. In this case, your web services will be in one place.

Another reason you might want to transfer your domain name is to save money when it comes time to renew your domain. Since registrars charge different prices, you might have found a cheaper rate and want to benefit from it.

It’s important to point out, however, that the money-saving side of things does not always work out. This is because when you transfer a domain name to a new registrar, the new registrar has to register the domain name again and will usually charge a standard renewal fee. This means if you have another year or more with your old registrar, it won’t carry over. You start again. So, timing is crucial to save money.

Two men in dress shirts are looking at domain registration on a computer.

What Does a Domain Registration Cost?

Registering a new domain name costs between £5 and £20 per year in most cases.

The more years you buy on a domain name, the higher the cost. However, you may be better off buying a domain name with a chunk of years since this will fix the price. Renewal prices go up and down, so keep this in mind.

Some domain names are sold in premium marketplaces and command a large upfront fee––domains with lucrative words and phrases especially. However, you don’t need one of these and new (unregistered) domains are as cheap as chips.

There are price differences between domain name extensions. .com domain names are more expensive than .co.uk domain names, for example. Also, registrars usually discount a domain name for the first year. Make sure you look at the standard renewal price to see if an introductory price works out to be a good deal overall.

How Long Does a Domain Registration Last For?

When you buy a domain name, you get to choose how many years you buy it for. The minimum length of time is usually one year, and the maximum is usually five years. After this period elapses, you will have the opportunity to renew the domain name for another period of time. Of course, you then pay a renewal fee.

You can find out how to renew a domain name here. As part of our service, we send renewal reminders out to our customers, and we also give them the ability to choose auto-renewal or turn this feature off in their online account. This gives them full control over their domain name and renewal status.

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