What is a Domain Name? Website jargon explained

Graphic for blog on Domain Name

At Green Ginger Design, we want to make all aspects of websites and website design as jargon-free as possible. And we explain what common web terms are.

 A domain name is the name of your website’s address.

The Internet’s Domain Name System, or DNS, lets users refer to a website by a name, rather than the IP numeric address. Think of it as your nickname. You cannot find a website without a domain name.

Every domain name is made up of at least two levels. Take greengingerdesign.com and greengingerdesign.co.uk as examples.

Graphic for domain name blog

The top-level is the right-hand section of the domain name –  .com or .uk. Choose one that reflects the purpose of your organisation – .org is used for non-profit organisations and .com (or other country endings) are used for commercial purposes. Two-letter top-level domains are registered to countries, such as .uk.

The second level is unique – greengingerdesign.

To see if the domain name you want is available, search on one of the ICAAN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) accredited registrars – we use Namecheap, but there are plenty of other companies out there.

Choose a domain name that is memorable and relevant to your brand.

If your first choice name isn’t available, try using hyphens – e.g. green-ginger-design. Hyphens can make a long name more readable. Or try shortening a name – again, a shorter name is easier to type.

Once you have found a second-level domain name which is unique and available, buy as many different top-level domains as you can afford – .com and .co.uk (or other country) is the minimum we would recommend for any commercial brand, and .org and .org.uk is the minimum for any non-profit organisation. But look at what is available from the registrar companies – more generic top level domains are becoming available such as .website or .london.

You will have to pay an annual fee for each domain name.

Check the different options, and double-check the prices. Registrar companies often offer a good deal for the first year, but hike up prices for subsequent years. (If we design and host your website, we arrange for a domain name free-of-charge for the first year.)

So you have a domain name or two. But you won’t have a website attached to this name until you have an IP (Internet Protocol) address – read our blog explaining Hosting here.

Any more questions about website jargon? Get in touch – we are happy to help! And read our blogs explaining “Mobile First” and “Responsive Websites“.