What’s the difference between a domain name and a website address (or URL)?
Domain names are a vital part of how the internet works.
If you run a business, you will want to own one or more domain names which match your company name and/or brands that you own. Here are some examples:
Coca Cola: coca-cola.com
You will note that some businesses use .com, others .co.uk (indicating the UK, but every country has its own equivalent). You may encounter others such as .net and .org. These are collectively called ‘top-level domains’ or TLDs for short.
There are a restricted variety of TLDs, but the bit before the end is effectively unlimited. You could register anything you like, even if it ran to 100 random letters and was totally unreadable. But due to increased worldwide demand for short, memorable (and legible) domain names, a chunk of new TLDs were released in recent years with a focus on specific industries.
So for example you can now register domains ending .digital, .charity, .shop and so on, rather than the traditional .com and .net varieties.
A website and a domain name are not the same thing. This table shows how many different things depend upon the ownership of a domain name and the correct way to describe each one.
(used for subdividing a large website into bitesize parts)
(technically called a URL)
|File Server Address (technically also a URL)||\\server01.purplecomputing.com\MyFiles|
Domain names are cheap to register if they are not registered already, rarely more than £25 per year and often much less. You have to renew them annually otherwise they are released back to the open market. Once registered, they belong to you alone but can be bought, sold and transferred privately.
You visit an online domain registrar to buy your domain name. A domain registrar is an accredited company who specialise in registering internet domain names. They help to maintain the global registry of who owns which domain. There are lots of registrars out there, but we use and recommend 123-Reg.
Be very aware that the new array of TLDs makes it very expensive to register every possible domain variant of your company name. It is probably uneconomical to do so. We recommend, where possible, to register the .com and .co.uk (or your country’s equivalent), optionally in addition to any ‘new-style’ TLDs which very closely match your industry or sector. If somebody is dead-set on registering an obscure TLD and pretending to be you, simply owning every possible domain permutation is not going to stop them. You have to draw a line somewhere and honestly, do you really want to pay £20 a year for owning mycompany.banana or various misspellings of your company domain name? Probably not. Tread with caution when registering domains and ensure you have additional protections in place, such as trademarks, to protect your intellectual property and your brand.
If you need help with your domain names or related services, be sure to contact us.