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Domain names – FAQ
Every website has a specific name to identify it on the web, called a domain name. Like your home address, it consists of different parts. The domain name has to be unique and only lead to one website. That’s why you need to check if the domain name you want is still free and not already taken.
A domain name may start with “www.” but web browsers will recognise it automatically, so it’s not essential. The next part of the domain name, the second-level domain, is what people will recognise and remember. It could be your company’s name, for example. The last part is the top-level domain (TLD), which can be generic (.net, .com, .org) or geographic (.uk, .cymru, etc).
To find out if the domain name you want to register is available, use the IONOS domain checker.
Finding the right domain name is the first step in building a successful website and boosting your online presence. Without a strong domain, you risk getting lost in the crowd.
Decide early on if you want to have a brand domain or a keyword domain. Brand domains make a clear link between your business and your website, whereas keyword domains may get better search engine results.
Creating a successful website
Content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress offer a good platform for blogs – IONOS offers a WordPress CMS package, which includes a free domain for the first year.
You can also consider a one-page website package or a website builder. IONOS can help you set up both of these.
- The one-page website allows web beginners to gain experience online. One-page packagesare user-friendly with a huge variety of pre-set layouts to choose from. You can link your business to Google's My Business via your website.
- The second option is a website builder package, which is more sophisticated. This package is suitable for those who want a project with at least two subpages and more design control.
Classic domain extensions like .com work for both options. Country specific extensions (e.g. .co.uk) emphasise local relevance, and new top-level domains (nTLDs) such as .video, .business etc. can also be effective.
It's worth registering more than one domain extension, especially the classic extensions such as .com, as many users will remember them better than the nTLDs. If you own the .com version but prefer the nTLD, you can always set up domain forwarding. This also prevents someone else using your domain name.
Related Questions for this topic / FAQ
It's easy to register a domain name. Here is our step-by-step guide.
- Choose the domain name you want for your website. You can register more than one.
- Check whether your domain name is available using our domain checker tool. This will tell you if the domain contains invalid characters, or if it's already claimed.
- If your preferred domain name is taken, you'll be given alternatives.
- Add your chosen domain/s to your basket. There may be several different package options to choose from depending on your needs.
- Check your order for details such as the domain's expiration date, and how many domains you're registering.
- Create your customer account if you don't already have one.
- Select your payment method and purchase your domain/s.
Hint: Existing customers can add new domains by visiting the control panel and clicking "add new domain" in the domains drop-down menu.
A domain extension is also known as a top-level domain (TLD). It's the last part of a domain name – in the domain name ionos.com, .com is the domain extension. In an already crowded marketplace, it can be a challenge to choose a memorable and unique domain name, and this includes picking the right domain extension.
There are different kinds of domain extension:
ccTLDs are top-level domains that represent a nation — the 'cc' stands for country code. Some of these domain extensions can require a presence in the relevant country.A .co.uk or .uk domain are examples of ccTLDs. Some of the country code extensions are classified as generic ccTLDs by Google – gccTLDs. This is because the domain is not always used to represent a specific country. For instance .cc (commercial company) and .io (can be interpreted as input/output) domain are generic country code top-level domains.
Please note: certain domain extensions have eligibility requirements, for example the extension .gov is restricted to use by government entities. IONOS does not offer these domain extensions.
Subdomains are useful for organising your website into different categories. Possible categories include:
Target geographical areas or language groups
For example, if your website is in English and Spanish, a subdomain may be used to indicate that this section of your website will be in Spanish, and not English – instead of just domainname.com, es.domainname.com is used.
If your website offers a variety of different services or products, you can create a subdomain for each one, for example: smartphone.domainname.com, or blog.domainname.com.
Having a separate subdomain for logins or account pages on your website is a useful way of organising your site; for your clients and for yourself.
By using a subdomain, you'll be able to track the success of your website more accurately, as you'll see how different sections are performing.
Every domain name is linked to an address on the internet called an IP Address, which is a long string of numbers. Domain names make it easier for internet users to visit websites without having to remember this numerical address. When you visit ionos.co.uk, your browser and computer reads our site's DNS records in order to locate our website's files which are stored on a server. This almost instantaneous directing process allows your browser to access and load websites.
Like IONOS, most hosting providers automatically assign DNS records upon domain name registration. In some cases, you may wish to keep your registered domain with one company, but have your website's files and email accounts stored on a different hosting server.
This is called a DNS transfer, and can be arranged within a couple of days. You may wish to alter your DNS records if your domain registration was completed with an expensive hosting company. In this case, you can keep your registered domain but switch to a more affordable hosting provider such as IONOS.
A registry is an administrative organisation that dispenses unique domain names from a central database. This is where all the information associated with new domain name registration is kept. The domain name registration process is normally handled by hosting companies like IONOS that order domains on your behalf. Choosing one of IONOS's hosting packages means we take care of your domain registration, and you never have to worry about contacting a registry regarding your domain name.
No matter which hosting company you choose, you'll always maintain full control of the domain name that you have in the registry's database. That means you can also initiate a domain transfer to IONOS at any time - even if you purchased your domain elsewhere.
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