A domain is part of a network address on the Internet. It is unique and specific, like a postal address. It includes web site addresses (like http://www.mycompany.com/services), email addresses (like email@example.com), and addresses for other technical Internet protocols and services. Devices sharing this common part of an Internet address (or URL) are said to be “in the same domain”. Simply put, a domain name is a unique identifier of a location on the internet.
In the URL http://www.mycompany.com/services/consulting.html:
– “mycompany.com” is the domain name
– “services” is a directory in that domain
– “consulting.html” is a file in the “services” directory
Types of Domains
As of this writing, there are approx 329 different domain name extensions. There are both generic domains (like .com and .net) and country domains (like .ca for Canada and .zw for Zimbabwe). Some domains have restrictions, like .edu (education) and .de (Germany) for example. You must run an actual institute of education to qualify for a .edu domain extension and you need to actually do business in Germany to obtain “mycompany.de”.
While there are many domain extensions to choose from, we recommend obtaining the following (ordered from most desirable to less desirable):
|Top Level Domain (TLD)||Notes|
|.com||used as “commercial”|
|.net||used as “network”|
|.co||country code for Columbia, used as “company”|
|.biz||used as “business”|
|.org||used as “organization”|
|.info||used as “information”|
|.us||country code for the United States|
If your domain is for personal purposes, also consider .me, .name, and even .pro.
If you have a mobile website, consider .mobi.
Whois.sc maintains a real time list of all the active registrations for the most popular extensions.
The .com domain is by far the most popular and most recognized domain extension. Many people believe that all the “good” .com domains are taken. That is simply not true! Yes it is unlikely that you’ll be able to obtain a short .com domain, but with a little creativity, you can obtain a great .com domain. Review our Selecting Effective Domain Names article for search and registration tips.