A domain name is used to identify a website on the internet. It’s the name you type into a web browser’s address bar to navigate to a website.
In simple terms, if you think of your website as a house, then your domain name would be its address. An example of a domain name is
What’s the Difference Between a Domain Name and Web Hosting?
To create your website, you need both domain name and web hosting. They are two different services that work together to make websites possible, and many beginners confuse them.
A good way to think about this is that your web hosting is your website’s home on the internet. It’s where your content, files, and images live. The domain name is the address of that home. It’s the information your users need to get there.
You can learn more in our guide on the difference between a domain name and web hosting.
What’s the Difference Between a Domain Name and IP Address?
Behind the scenes, websites are identified by numbers, not names. Every website has a unique IP address to identify it on the internet. A typical IP address looks like this:
But numbers are hard for people to remember. Imagine if you had to use a number like that to visit your favorite websites. Domain names were invented to solve this problem.
Now if you want to visit a website, then you don’t need to enter a long string of numbers. Instead, you type an easy to remember domain name in your browser’s address bar, such as wpbeginner.com.
The internet’s Domain Name System (DNS) is like a phone book. When you type a domain name, it automatically looks up the number, the IP address, and connects you to the website.
You can learn how domain names work in detail by referring to our beginner’s guide on what domain names are and how domains work.
How to Choose a Domain Name
It’s crucial to choose the right domain name for your website. Changing it later may damage your brand and lower your search rankings.
When first starting out, it can be hard to come ideas for your domain name, so we put together a list of 14 tips and tools to help you choose the best domain name. We recommend you keep it short, make it memorable, avoid hyphens, and get one as soon as possible.
If you find the choice overwhelming, then there are some tools that can help. For example, you might like to use a domain name generator to come up with some creative ideas. Check our list of the best domain name generators to come up with domain name ideas fast.
Next, you should check to see if the domain is available. You might find that the domain name you wanted to use is already taken. The easiest solution is to choose a different domain name that is available. However, sometimes this may not be the best option.
If you want to consider purchasing a domain name that’s already in use, then you’ll need to find out who actually owns it. You should also read our tips on how to buy a domain name that’s taken to help decide whether it’s the right move for you.
Which Domain Name Extension Should I Use?
Our advice is to always choose a .com domain name. That’s what most users are expecting.
However, there are plenty of new niche domain extensions available today, such as .pizza, .photography, and even .blog. Perhaps you’re tempted to use one for your website.
We recommend caution. You can read about the pros and cons in our guide on whether you should choose a new domain extension for your website.
You also may wonder whether you should use your country’s domain, such as .us, .in, .ly, .io, or .au. Only consider using a country-specific domain extension if you want to target users in that particular country.
The intended purpose of country-specific domain extensions is to be used by individuals and businesses in that region. Many such domains can only be registered if you are located in that country or have a representative there.
How to Register a Domain Name
Once you’ve decided on a domain name, you need to register it. A .com domain name typically costs about $14.99/year, but this varies. You may be able to get a domain name for free, or if you choose a premium domain name, then you should expect to pay much more.
You pay this money to a domain registrar. Choosing a reputable domain name registrar is important because there are so many ways to get tricked. You can learn the pros and cons of different companies in our guide on how to choose the best domain registrar.
We take you step by step through the process in our guide on how to properly register a domain name. We also answer frequently asked questions and show you how you can get a domain name for free.
We hope this article helped you learn more about domain names in WordPress. You may also want to see our Additional Reading list below for related articles on useful WordPress tips, tricks, and ideas.
- How to Choose the Best Domain Registrar in 2023 (Compared)
- How to Choose the Best Domain Name (14 Tips and Tools)
- 7 Best Places to Find Premium Domain Name for Sale (+ Expert Tips)
- 15 Best Domain Name Generators to Help You Pick a Domain (FAST)
- How to Check Domain Name Availability (Easy Domain Search Tools)
- Beginner’s Guide: What is a Domain Name and How Do Domains Work?
- How to Register a Domain Name (and get it for FREE) in 2023
- How to Buy a Domain Name That is Taken (9 Pro Tips)