A Domain Name is a name that can be easily remembered/recalled and allows users to visit web sites & services using software such as a web browser, an email client, or an online game for example. You use them all the time when surfing and clicking on links in web pages, when connecting to Netflix or Amazon, to the BBC or ITV websites. A Domain Name is typically mapped/linked to an IP address or series of IP addresses and essentially makes it easier for us to remember, whereas an IP address consists of a series of 4 numbers separated by 3 dots and is less likely to be remembered by a typical web user.
Think of Domain Names as aliases or perhaps in Windows parlance “shortcuts” to a destination. An IP address is the “real” address and the Domain Name can be used instead.
A Domain Name is typically registered through a registrar for between 1-10 years to an individual or company for their use. Every Domain Name has a suffix which might be .co.uk or .com or .net for example. The suffix is called the TLD or Top Level Domain. There are many different suffixes and most registrars charge different annual rates for each . If you wish to retain your Domain Name, you must ensure that you renew it before the end of the registration period.
If you’re looking to buy a Domain Name, you should consider what TLD you wish to use and also consider as short a Domain Name as possible. neilsfancyshoeshopinsouthampton.co.uk whilst descriptive is a real mouthful and likely any user typing this into their browser may misspell it leading to a potential lost sales lead.
Also consider hidden words within the Domain Name as you may not see some unfortunate spellings. For example Pen Island, a shop selling pens and pencils may buy penisland.co.uk and end up getting the wrong kind of customers 🙂