Think of domain names as a way to simplify navigating around the internet. While computers read and interpret IP addresses (a unique string of numbers e.g. 126.96.36.199), people are not as good at remembering a string of numbers, so we use domain names. Each domain name is associated with an IP address which is how people find your website on the internet. In essence, a domain name is your website’s address.
How does it all work in the background?
There is a global network of servers called the Domain Name System (DNS). This network works like a giant telephone directory for all domain names and IP addresses on the internet. When you search for a specific website (domain name), your browser pings the DNS and queries where to find the requested IP address. The DNS returns a result to your browser and you’re directed, within milliseconds, to the website you’re looking for.
Web hosting vs domain names
Web hosting is the rented space on a server, allocated to your website, where all your website files are stored. Your domain name is the address that points to your website so your visitors can find you.
Domain name extensions
Each domain name ends with an extension. For example, in ‘xneelo.co.za’ the .co.za is the domain extension. There are hundreds of domain extensions available, however, not all registrars or hosting companies support them all. Some extensions are not available to everyone and are reserved for certain bodies like universities (.ac.za) or government (.gov) or only specific countries (.co.uk).
View the domain extensions you’re able to host with xneelo here.
Choosing a domain name
Good thought needs to go into choosing the right domain name. It represents your company and is often the first interaction customers have with your brand. It’s important that your chosen domain name is professional and memorable. You want to choose something simple enough for your customers to remember, and easy to spell.
Don’t forget about social media – be sure to check that the domain name you’d like to register is also available as a social media handle. Keeping consistency throughout your website and social media will help solidify your brand.
If you’re an exclusively South African company, consider using the .co.za. local extension. If your service is localised to a city, perhaps use a .capetown or .joburg domain name.
Registering a domain name
Once you’ve decided on a domain name, you’ll need to determine if it’s available to register. Registering a domain name is easy with xneelo’s domain search. Simply type in the domain name and press ‘search’. If the domain name is available, you can sign up or log in to your control panel (existing customers) to complete the registration process.
Be sure to register the domain name as soon as you know which one you want as domains are registered on a first-come, first-served basis.
If your domain name is not available, it means someone else has already registered it. When using our domain search, we’ll provide you with similar domain names or different extensions if the domain name you’re searching for is not available. If you’re not satisfied with the suggested domain names, you could add a prefix or suffix to it, or use your slogan or an aligned word instead. Alternatively, you can try to contact the current domain owner and offer to buy the already registered domain. Find out about your options here.
Transferring your domain name
Perhaps you already have a domain name registered elsewhere and you’d like to transfer it to xneelo. Transferring your domain is fairly simple, however, it will require a bit of preparation to ensure a seamless process. Before you submit a transfer request from one hosting provider to another, be sure to check that they do support the domain extension you’re looking to transfer.
A domain name is so much more than just a few letters strung together. It’s your company name or motto, and it’s your first introduction to visitors online. It represents your brand, your passion or your hobby. Choosing the right domain requires thought and research. At xneelo, we’re here to help you find – and register – the right domain for your business venture, whatever it may be.