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What is a domain name?

What is it?

A domain name is what you type in to your browser to get to a website. It is what identifies the website on the web. It’s usually split into 3 parts.

Take, for example, this website you’re on right now (blog.mmediagroup.fr):

SubdomainSecond-Level DomainTop-Level Domain
blogmmediagroupfr

Your domain name is the whole thing; in this case blog.mmediagroup.fr. When you buy a domain name, you usually buy the Second-Level and Top-Level domain as one; in our case – mmediagroup.fr. You don’t have to buy sub domains separately.

The total maximum length of a domain name is 253 characters – letters, numbers, and/or periods.

Top-Level Domain

The top level domain is the .com, .net, .org, .gov, and all the .whatever you’ve ever seen.

Some top-level domains such as .edu and .gov are reserved for special use and usually you won’t be able to register a domain name with them.

Second-Level Domain

The second-level domain is where all the juice is at – it’s where you get to choose what people type in to get to your website.

When you buy a domain name, you can use letters (abc), numbers (123), and even dashes/hyphens (—), as long as you don’t start with a dash.

Subdomain

You can create your own and have unlimited subdomains on your purchased domain name. You can even have multiple.subdomains.like.this.com. Though that’s usually unpractical.

You might have also noticed that here some websites have “www”. This is also a subdomain, but today it is more or less obsolete. Most websites now redirect from a www link to a link without the www domain part.

Also

You may be wondering what about the HTTP and HTTPS parts at the beginning of a link; that’s another story.

Is a good domain name important?

Yes, but don’t lose sleep over it. Buy a domain name that is relevant to your brand and will instil a sense of trust with your web visitors, making them feel like they are on the right website.

It’s not so important to put keywords into your domain name unless your business name already includes them or it naturally makes sense. These days, stuffing keywords into the domain name has little impact on SEO and how you rank on Google.

Your domain name should be memorable and easy to read. Customers are more likely to remember a site like visiteurope.eu rather than an abbreviated version, such as veu.eu. It’ll also help reassure customers they are on the website they wanted to be on.

How much does a domain cost?

Most unclaimed domains cost from around 15 dollars/euro per year. If somebody already owns the domain you want to buy, that’s when the fun starts. There’s a whole industry of buying and selling domains with valuable terms, so if you do want to purchase an existing domain from an owner, be prepared to negotiate even into the couple of thousands.

Our pricing page can give you more info on average prices with M Media, and we can help you get started buying your domain name.

How do you get your own domain name?

Domains are handed out by special types of businesses called domain name registrars. At M Media, we register domains on your behalf with Amazon Web Services and partners so you don’t have to worry about connecting your domain to your server later on.

If you already own a domain name, we will help you transfer it over to our registrar service.

Do you get to keep a domain forever?

As long as you pay for it, yes. Usually you will pay a yearly subscription to keep the domain name, though if you’re going long term and your domain name registrar supports it, you can pay for more years in advance.

Make sure you’re up to date with re-registering your domains. Google famously lost google.com for 1 minute possibly because they forgot to renew their domain, and Hotmail also forgot to renew their domain resulting in challenging consequences for their business.

What do you need to register a domain?

When you buy and register your domain (or you request that M Media do so on your behalf), you will be asked some questions regarding your personal contact information. This information is crucial and a legal requirement to provide when registering a domain name.

Some companies may offer to hide the information from public, but we don’t recommend you do so. People that have no interest are unlikely to stumble upon this info, but having it looks good and trustful to search engines like Google.

If your project is already registered as a business entity, on some top-level domains you can use your business information instead of your personal info when registering the domain.

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