A domain name is used to identify a website's location on the internet. You should choose it carefully, as your domain name will effectively support your brand and business online.
Types of domain names
There are different types of domain names and these are identified by their general part, or the top level domain:
- generic top-level domains (gTLDs) such as .net, .com, .org, .biz and .info
- country code top-level domains such as .uk for the UK
Most UK companies choose to have domain names that end in .com or .co.uk, although the top-level domain .co is another option. There are now hundreds of gTLDs available to register, eg .london, .company, .club, .eu., but you should think carefully about the geographical implications of your server and domain names as they can affect local search results.
How to choose a domain name
When choosing a domain name, most businesses opt for a name that is based on the name of their business or product. It helps if the name is:
- easy to spell
- easy to remember
- relevant to your business or product
You should avoid choosing a domain name that:
- misuses a trade mark belonging to another business, or might mislead users into thinking you are someone else – see trade marks and domain names
- contains lots of dashes (eg my-new-website-business-and-shop.co.uk) as this can look unprofessional, make it more difficult to remember and some search engines may consider it to be spam
Registering a domain name
Domain names are allocated on a first come, first served basis. Before you register yours, you will need to check if the domain of your choice is already registered.
You can register a domain through an internet service provider (ISP) or a similar registration agent. See a list of ICANN accredited registrars, registrars accredited in the UK, or registrars accredited in the EU.
Once your domain is registered, it is protected for the duration of the registration period.