Web Hosting
What is a Domain Name?



Updated Mon 25 May, 2020

A domain name is the Internet’s version of a telephone number for the worldwide web. It is unique to each website and is referred to as an IP (internet protocol) address. The IP address is the original numerical version of your domain name for the internet backend to use. The word version was found to be easier for people to remember and is considered the frontend format.

TLD & gTLD Extensions

A TLD is a Top Level Domain and a gTLD is a generic Top Level Domain and are represented by suffixes after your actual domain name. Top Level Domains are represented as .net, .com, .biz etc and gTLDS are more specifically inclined, like .music, .store, .audio, and place specific ones like .capetown, .joburg, .durban, .africa.

There are also country specific TLDs that are referred to as ccTLDs (Country Code TLD) and cover all the countries of the world – South Africa is .za and .co.za for example. Well over 90% of South African business utilise the TLD .co.za, followed by .org.za, however the domain Registry ZADNA have now released .za into the public domain for domain purchases.

Selecting a Domain Name

When deciding on a domain name, first option is to see if your business name is available. If, unfortunately, you find it has already been registered, you may have to become a little creative. Consider changing the gTLD, or TLD extension of your domain name and you may find it is available, as long as it has significance to your business and / or geographical location.

In South Africa our ccTLD is .za and we also have the option of gTLDS; .joburg, .capetown, .durban, and .africa – potential customers tend to place more trust in small businesses that indicate that they are locally based.

Look for a company that offers an easy Domain Registration page that allows you to select multiple TLDs when searching for your domain name.

Entrepreneurs and micro businesses have a lot more flexibility in being a little creative if they can’t find their original domain name. Often something simple, but relevant, like a hyphen or a number may allow you to get a domain name that is close to your original choice. Anyone in a professional service or supplier category should avoid anything too gimmicky, as it may detract from their professionalism.

Registering Your Domain Name

As mentioned above you will need to register your domain name first, unless you want to take out Web Hosting at the same time. If you do, you will often find deals where the cost of your Domain Name Registration is included in your web hosting. Don’t be afraid to call and speak to the company’s sales or support staff as well, because they will be the ones that you need to turn to when you need assistance and an important part of your decision making.

The Domains.co.za Team
  • marketing
  • website
  • brand strategy
  • brand visibility
  • online business
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