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Back To Basics: Domain Names

22 October 2014 by Jenn Granger

You’ve decided to let the world know about your business/GSOH/love of cats doing hilarious things (how do those little rascals play a keyboard without opposable thumbs??). To do this you need a website, and then for your future adoring fans to be able to find it, you need a domain name… but what the heck is one and how do you go about having one of your very own?


What is a domain name?

Domain names are identifying words that are linked to websites’ numerical addresses. We do this so we don’t have to remember their IP addresses, which are long strings of numbers; I can’t even remember what I did yesterday, much less the IP address for any websites I might want to look at of a day!

For example, if someone told you to go to address etc. you’d probably be pretty unhappy; it’s much easier when they say go to!

Domain names are part of the Domain Name System (DNS) and are broken down into various parts; the most common bits you’re able to choose from being these bad boys:

  • Top level domain names (TLD) (there are different types of these, like gTLDs and ccTLDs), which are the bits to the far right of the domain name e.g.
  • Secondary level domain names, which is the bit to the right of the TLD e.g.

Who’s involved?

When it comes to getting a domain name of your very own, there are three sets of parties involved.

  1. The registrant – That’s going to be you, in most cases: it’s the person the domain name is registered to and therefore, ‘owns’ it whilst it’s registered to them.
  1. The registrar – A domain registrar is a company that offers domain name registration, often on behalf of others. For example, we offer over 130 domain extensions, and you can transfer in from another registrar, which might make your life easier if you’re hosting with us too (just sayin’).
  1. The registry – A big database where all of the domain names and their registrant details etc. are stored. For example, Nominet is the registry that looks after all .uk domains.

How do I register a domain name?

You can do this through the registrar peeps that we’ve just mentioned. Most registrars will have a process for doing this and if you wanted to register one with UKFast you just fill in the information in the Register a Domain tab in MyUKFast – there’s also a handy FAQ in the support section that gives a step by step guide to doing it!

The basic process is that you can search for the domain name you want and it’ll show you the options with the different gTLDs, along with pricing and how long you want to register it for. So, if I wanted to register the domain ‘ilovefreddos’, I’d pop it into the ‘register a domain’ search bar in MyUKFast, and it might turn up with twenty results which vary from (four years £6.00), to (one year £8.87) etc.

What next?

When you’ve chosen the final thing and registered etc., it’s yours for that amount of time and you can put your website on it and do all the fun things/start a lucrative blog about freddos etc.; then, when the number of years you’ve chosen are nearly up, you’ll get notifications telling you it’s nearly time to renew it, or let it go (if you find you never want to talk about freddos again). You can also set your options to auto renew and a few other snazzy bits.

Obviously this is a very straightforward breakdown to get you started on your domain journey – there are more technical steps and things that you need to be aware of, but the idea itself is surprisingly simple; and it’s totally possible to do this yourself, especially with a bit of help (like our extremely comprehensive DNS FAQ section in MyUKFast!).

We’ve talked about domain names quite a lot recently because ICANN (big domain overlords) are on a massive crackdown to tidy up the the current process and information, and they’re also rolling out a whole load of new gTLDs. We’ve got lots of blogs talking about this, and also lots more on the whole domain situation in the MyUKFast FAQ section.

So go on, check out what’s available and register the domain name of your dreams now!