Why You Need a Domain NameA domain name is the part of an email address after the @ sign or the part of a website address after the www.
For example, advice4businesses.co.uk is a domain name and it is used to make up part of the www.advice4businesses.co.uk website address. It is also used in email addresses such as firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why Use Domain Names?
The internet is made up of hundreds of thousands of computers, each with a unique numerical address called an IP address. Each IP address take the form xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx where each xxx is a number between 0 and 255. So, an example of an IP address would be 188.8.131.52.
The IP address used in the above example is actually the IP address of the bbc.co.uk domain. The BBC website is a very popular and well visited site. But if you had to type 184.108.40.206 into your web browser everytime you wanted to visit the BBC site, you wouldn’t be very likely to remember the address from one visit to the next.
That’s where domain names come in. The domain name bbc.co.uk is much easier for people to remember than a string of numbers.
Computers, on the other hand, prefer numbers. So, when you type www.bbc.co.uk into your web browser, a process called domain name resolution takes place. Put simply, this means that your computer goes through a process where it looks up the domain name that you have entered into your web browser and converts it to the real numerical IP address.
Does my business need a domain name?
Whilst it is possible for your business to receive emails and have a website without using a domain name of your own, this is not recommended.
Let’s suppose you have a business called Sophie’s Widget Company. Assuming it was available, you could purchase the domain name sophieswidgets.co.uk. Your website address would then be www.sophieswidgets.co.uk and you could have as many email addresses using that domain name as you wanted – for example:
Without a domain name, you would have to put up with whatever email address and website address your internet service provider (ISP) gave you. This would mean having an email address like
Your website address would be similarly complicated – for example:
(that squiggly symbol is called a tilda, by the way).
Not only are these types of email and web addresses clumsy and difficult to remember, they also look unprofessional and immediately raise doubts as to whether you are a “proper” business.
Remember, trust is very important in business. This is especially so in internet dealings, where potential customers tend to need even more reassurance that you are genuine because they can’t see you or your business premises. So anything you can do to convey a professional image, such as having your own domain name, helps build trust and sales.
How do I get a domain name?
The first step is to choose your name. This will usually be the name of your business (or a variation of it) such as sophieswidgets.co.uk or sophies-widgets.co.uk. UK based businesses should normally opt for a .co.uk domain. However, if you are dealing internationally, or want to stop someone else using another version of your domain, it can be a good idea to register the .com version of your domain as well – e.g. sophieswidgets.com.
An alternative to using your business name in your domain name is to pick a domain name which describes your product or service instead – for example handmadechocolates.co.uk.
To check domain availability and then register your domain name, you can use one of the many companies that register domains, such as:
UK Domains & UKHosting
Registering a .co.uk domain name should cost under £10 for a two year registration. A .com domain for the same period of time should cost around £20. Any more than that and you are probably paying over the odds.
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