Registering a Domain Name

By Andrey Diamandiev

Domain names are a crucial element of every website. A domain name has to be carefully chosen and registered. In this article we guide you trough the process of choosing and registering a domain name


Usually you register your domain either at your web hosting company or at a separate registrar. Sometimes it can be more useful to register at a registrar instead of your web hosting company, that way your can separate your domains from your web hosting services. One drawback in doing this is that you will have to additionally configure your domain's dns servers.

One of the most popular and reliable registrar today is godaddy.com. There you can register your domain name, as well as use some other very useful domain services.

Top-Level Domains

There are lots of top-level domains (TLD's) at the moment. A top-level domain is the last part of an domain name, that is, the letters which follow the final dot of any domain name. For example, in the domain name www.website.tld, the top-level domain is .tld. The most popular is .com, but the are many others. A .com domain is usually the best to go for, because that's the name people usually associate with the web. This is my recommended list of TLD's to consider:

  • .com - The classic TLD for any site anywhere in the world. It is used by all kinds of website's, even though it was initially intended for commercial website's only. Virtually all the good .com domains are already taken.
  • .net - This should be your second in the list domain to consider when registering. It is a very popular one, it can be used by any sort of website, even though it was initially intended only for internet related website's
  • .biz .info .org. These domains are intended for business, informational and non profit website's respectively. They have much greater availability that of .com or .net, but lack the prestige of a .com or .net tld. However, you may be able to get exactly the domain name you want.
  • .us .co.uk .ca .de .fr ... This are country specific domain names. A country TLD is a great way to target those people living in a particular country, but not good if you're reaching out for a global audience. Domain names tend to be more readily available.
  • .ws .nu .co .bz .tk .cc This domains should be avoided. They are all country specific TLD's marketed as alternatives to .com. However they cannot compete with .com or .net domains. They are mainly used by second class and warez website's.

Choosing a Name

Your domain name should be a compound word made up of two or more individual words related to your site. Two words is easier to remember, one word is ideal, but only if you can get it. For example: if you want to sell cars you can be reasonably assured that cars.com will be already registered, so try a name like carsauction.com, carsworld.com, cheapcars.com ... There's a good chance that one of these will be free. Getting the "cars" keyword into the domain name may or may not give the site a boost in search engine terms. Generally speaking, highly competitive keywords tend to get filtered out by search engines.

Next, you will want to check domain name availability. Simply going to your browser and the domain name will generally tell you nothing as most domains aren't developed (they don't yet have a site associated with them). Instead you should use a whois lookup. A good website that offers a whois lookup is whois.net. There you can find out if a domain name is free. You could also see lot's of useful information about already registered domains, like when they expire and which web hosting company they are mapped to.

Domain Auctions

Sometimes good domain names become available at eBay in their Domain Names or Website's For Sale category. It's tricky to find good names amongst all of the useless domains out there, and buying anything at auction requires practice and caution. An undeveloped domain name with some decent listings can be had for under $100. You can also get a fully developed website along with the domain, but such website's are extremely costly. If a site or domain name is being sold with claims that it's long established or has traffic you will need to check. You can use the alexa.com website for that, it provides a detailed listing about website traffic.

Backordering Domains

Tens of thousands of domain names become available every day. Without professional help, the average person has no chance to secure the most valuable expired domains. That?s why it is a good idea to backorder a domain via an automated backorder domain system. Such systems monitor the domains you backorder, and once they expire, they are automatically registered. There are many backorder systems, I would recommend godaddy.com which provides such a system.

Have in mind that if there is much competition for the domain you are ordering then backordering can fail. If there are many different people using backordering systems for a single domain, there will be only one that will register it, that is, the best one, so before backordering anything make sure the system you are using is a reliable one.


One drawback with domain name development is the issue of Trademarks. Very often, the name you're using may be a trademark belonging to somebody. This is most likely when redeveloping an expired name, but it can also be a problem for new domains. One typical example is this - a well known company say has a trademark on part of its name, to the extent that any webmaster creating an site that contains that part in his domain name may find himself in legal difficulties. Make sure that your domain name is not substantially the same or similar as any major company or trademark. The US Patent and Trademark Office is a good place to start checking for trademarks for any site with a US presence. The Patent Office in the UK also holds trademark information, as do several other national trademark offices. If in doubt, seek the advice of a professional or use an online Trademark Service to check. If you have bought an expired name, then check also the Internet Archive and look at old copies of the site to see if any trademarks are claimed. A search of the web using your favorite search engine should help too. If you accidentally violate a trademark, you will probably be required to surrender the domain name, but possibly anything you've earned with it too. For this reason it's best to try to find a fairly unique name.

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