What is a domain name?
Computers on the Internet identify websites through a unique number called an IP. An example would be 126.96.36.199. So instead of an IP, you have a domain name, yourdomain.com. The computers connected to the internet are configured to recognize that every time you search for the site yourdomain.com, you really want 188.8.131.52 and will direct you to this site.
The domain name generally consists of two parts. In yourdomain.com, the .com is called the top level domain. Other top level domains are .com, .net, .edu, .org . 'Yourdomain' is the unique name or second level domain.
The Top Level domains
.com = commercial
.net = network
.edu = educational
.org = organization
You can also specify subdomains of the domain name yourdomain.com, such as, mypage.yourdomain.com which will point to another page in your website. Subdomains are also called hostnames. They refer to the same thing.
When you register a domain name, it is added to a database of all the available domain names. The information about your domain name, such as contact, billing, administrative contact, as well as your domain name server (DNS) is added to this database. So when someone searches for a website, you are accessing this large database and this database directs you to the relevant DNS to access their database to find which computer your website is on.
What can a Domain Name contain?
A domain name may contain letters, numbers and the dash (-). Most names end in the above top level domains, of which .com is the most popular. They cannot begin or end with a dash, and no space is allowed before, between, and after your domain. You can have up to 67 characters now (include the top level domain). However, some web browsers may not be compatible with names longer than 58 characters. Try to keep it below that length for greater compatibility.
Why Should I get a Domain Name?
There are many reasons why you should get a domain name NOW.
Even though you may not need one this second, it is always wise to secure one if you are company that has registered trademarks or brand names. If you don't really have a purpose or idea for the Internet at the present time, your domain name may stand idle for some time, but when you finally have the resources to start something on the Internet, the domain name that you have chosen will be available right away.
There are currently over 32 million domain names registered today. Thousands more are being registered each day. There is a scarcity of the above top level domain names that now they are planning to move on to other top level domains, such as .biz, .info, .museum, etc. Some of these are endings specified for specific industry, category of people/business. You may not be able to register for them if you are not qualified. Many of these names are also being pre-registered already. They will be snatched up immediately once available.
If you do a search for something that you are interested in, you will find that it takes you quite a while to come up with a domain name that satisfies you. Almost all of the three, four and five letter English words are gone. Of the 3 letter and number combination, the only domains available are names such as 33A.com and other undesirable combinations.
Your Own Website
It seems that everyone has a website these days. You may not have the slightest idea on how to go about building a website, but if you can work the Internet and a word processor, you can probably build a website. There are many different tools and automated programs to help you do this. There are a lot of online resources, such as free graphics, ideas, dynamic programs that can make your site pleasing to the eye and also interactive with your visitors.