Don’t underestimate the importance of your domain name! It is your address on the web and how people can access your site.
What is a Domain Name and IP Number
An IP is a unique address of a server on the internet. Similar to how a telephone number allows you to connect to a specific phone on the telecom network, similarly, an IP address allows your computer to connect to a specific server on the internet. Domain names and IP numbers are the framework upon which the entire world wide web is built.
Things to Consider
Immediate things to consider about your domain name:
- It should be short and should give an indication of what the website is about.
- If you are a business, consider using a name that indicates your industry or niche.
- Make it unique and brandable.
- It should be easy to spell and easy for your customers/readership to remember.
- If at all possible, choose .com as the domain extension. Other suggested alternatives are .net, .org or geographic location such as .ca.
- Do your homework – research to ensure no infringements
The Deeper Dive
Check Availability on WHOIS
After deciding on the best name for you, you will need to search the WHOIS database to see if it is available. WHOIS domain lookup allows you to trace the ownership and tenure of a domain name. Similar to how all houses are registered with a governing authority, all domain name registries maintain a record of information about every domain name purchased through them, along with who owns it, and the date till which it has been purchased. The database contains details such as the registration date of the domain name, when it expires, ownership and contact information, nameserver information of the domain, the registrar via which the domain was purchased, etc. You can access the WHOIS database through any domain registrar.
Even if the domain name hasn’t been registered, don’t assume your use of the name is free and clear. It may be used on a social media account or the name of a business or be subject to copyright. You do not want a lawsuit on your hands. Do your homework to ensure there are no infringements on the name.
The searches should include:
- Social Media (Facebook, Instagram; Twitter)
- Canadian Copyrights Database
- United States Patent and Trademark Office
- Provincial and Federal Business Registries
If the name you selected (or a similar variation) shows up in either of those searches, choose another name.
Purchasing the Domain Name
TIP: Buy Immediately
There is heavy competition for domain names. As soon as you have done your homework and are satisfied with the domain name, it is wise to purchase it right away. Otherwise somebody else may get in ahead of you.
Choose a Domain Registrar
NOTE: Your domain name registration and web hosting packages can be purchased through separate companies. For instances, there are circumstances when that may not be possible. For instance, .ca extensions are available through GoDaddy but NOT through Bluehost or some of the other registrars.
Registration is done on a yearly basis (or for up to 10 years). The cost will run about $15US to $17US annually.
You can register the domain with the same company you choose for web hosting. If you do that, you may be entitled to free registration for the first year. Check it out before making your final decision.
GoDaddy is the offical registrar
Bouzane Consulting operates on behalf of GoDaddy who is the offical domain registrar.
GoDaddy is one of the oldest and most popular domain registration companies. They manage more than 84 million domain names for over 20 million customers. As well there is a suite of other web services available including, hosting, emails and more.
Bouzane Consulting sells for GoDaddy offering very competitive prices.
Bluehost is one of the largest companies in the world. As part of their hosting services they offer domain registration. Bouzane Consulting clients can get a free domain name (for first year), free SSL certificate and a discount on web hosting. For approximately $3.90 per month you can get up and running with a free domain name to boot.
NOTE: We use Bluehost as our web hosting provider.