Lesson 3

Lesson #3: How to Choose a Good Domain Name:

Last Update: September 25, 2013

In Lesson #2, we spoke about the importance of really understanding terms Unlimited Bandwidth/Data Transfer and Unlimited Disk Space and points you need to have in mind, so you don’t get your hosting account suspended or, even worse, terminated. Now, we will be talking about domain names in general, and, more importantly, you will learn how to make sure to register a good and easy-to-remember domain name.

Table of Contents:

What is a Domain Name?

The name that identifies a website to the Internet users. Normally, it is an easy-to-remember name (e.g. google.com, yahoo.com, msn.com, webhostscout.com =), etc), but, actually, it represents a lot harder to remember IP address, the unique numeric address that represents a particular resource on the Internet. Because domain names are easier to remember, they are used to represent IP addresses.

For example, this is one of the IP addresses represented by Google.com:

So, which one would you rather remember and type into your browser?

Google.com for sure =)

Choosing a Domain Name:

typical domain name extensionsWhen deciding on a domain name, the first thing to have in mind is that shorter domain names attract attention and are easier to remember. Therefore, it’s worth taking the time to get the right name.

Your first step should be to check domain name availability. You can start searching for a domain name even before you select a web host. Naturally, you may think that you can check if a domain name is available just by typing it into your browser, such as Firefox, Safari, or IE, but this approach takes longer and it does not give you accurate results. Someone can buy a domain name without setting up a web site, so even if you can’t find a web site using your browser, the domain name may not be available.

The right way to check availability is to use a domain name search tool such as the one provided at the bottom of this page.

As you will notice, most short and catchy domain names are not available. If you really want one of the short, clever domains or more specific names that have already been registered, you can buy some of them at domain name auctions, but be prepared to pay a lot more. For example, as of August 26, 2013, irunning.com is selling for $9,880.

However, you may have success with slightly longer and more specific names.

Now, let’s consider some pointers:

First: Some of the Mistakes to Watch Out for:

- Dashes: It may be tempting to get exactly the domain name you want by adding dashes between the words. For example, you can’t get webhostscout.com but web-host-scout.com is available. Don’t do it. Dashes are confusing, hard to be found on keyboards, and people who try to search for your site will most likely leave them out.

- Settling for .org, .net, .co or .biz domain name: Everyone wants .com domain names and that’s why they are the hardest to get, but don’t settle for .org, .net, .biz or .co, the new global domain name extension, and so on. Almost everybody expects .com. For example, if you have the domain name webhostscout.net odds are someone will type webhostscout.com while trying to find your .net web site. This mistake may lead your visitors to a competitor.

It’s worth taking a second or third choice of name as a first .com choice. Some exceptions are country specific domain name extensions, such as .ca, .co.uk, .eu, etc. For example, if you are from Canada and your web site will target Canadian customers and visitors only, then, you should definitely consider a .ca domain name.

Second - Preparation Work:

A domain name search may take some work. Try to come up with as many variations and name combinations as possible.

Let’s say you are a painter from Brooklyn and you want to have words "painter" and "Brooklyn" in your domain name. You will notice that brooklynpainter.com is already taken, but, for example, coolbrooklynpainter.com is available, as of August 26, 2013.

After you have performed a search, the web hosting company will give you an option to purchase an available domain name. But do not register it yet. Most of the web hosting providers listed on our website provide at least one free domain name for the first year ($15 value) once you sign up for one of their web hosting packages. This is the easiest way to set up your domain name, since it’s all taken care of automatically.

However, there are some cases when you may want to register your domain name separately from your web hosting package. For example, you might just want to register a domain name so that no one else can take it; another registrar is offering a better deal (
see our recommendation below); or perhaps your web hosting provider can’t register the type of the domain name you want.

So, take your time, come up with a handful of catchy names, use a domain name search tool to find a .com name that’s available or, if you wish, another country-specific domain name extension, register it, and you’re ready to go!

Recommendations: If you choose iPage as your web hosting provider, you can consider registering your domain(s) through 1and1. Almost every month, 1and1 has deals on domain names and they also come with free "domain privacy" option ($10/year value).

Domain privacy means that your personal information such as your name, address, and phone number won't be available to public, but instead a domain registrar's name and contact information will be provided in your behalf. So, if you want to protect your private information, make sure to select the "domain privacy" (or WhoIs Privacy) option when registering your domain name.

For more information on how to register domain name in one place and host it through another web host, click Here.


Domain Name Search Tool: