Domain Name Basics

What is a domain name?

wwwA domain name is a unique address that represents a specific location on the internet where a website, service or app can be found.

Choosing the right domain name is one of the most important decisions for any online venture. A great domain name will make it much easier for people to find and remember you.

More than 250 million domain names have been registered worldwide and growth in domain numbers has increased year over year, with 25 million new registrations in 2012 alone.

Domain name extensions

Domain names can end with different extensions such as .com, .edu or The most common group of domain names are generic top-level domains (gTLDs) – gTLDs can generally be registered by any person or organisation anywhere in the world. Examples of gTLDs include .com, .net and org. With more than 100 million registrations, the .com extension is by far the most popular and valuable gTLD on the web:


New Claire pie chart

Because of the strength, popularity and branding potential of the .com extension, focuses primarily on .com domain names – visit our Find Domains page to see examples.

Other common extensions are country-specific (known as country code TLDs or ccTLDs) – examples include .us, and .de. These domains relate to specific locations and markets. Because they are connected to particular places there are often restrictions about who can register them.

Domain registration

Domain names are registered and managed through domain name registrars. In order to retain ownership of a domain, you need to pay yearly registration fees via the domain registrar. There are many registrars to choose from, each offering different services and charging different fees. Typically, yearly registration fees are between $9 and $30.

When you buy a domain, you are responsible for the upkeep of its registration. Failure to renew your domain can lead to you losing it. To be safe, we recommend that you renew your domain well in advance of its official renewal date (many domains can be renewed for multiple years at a time). Also, make sure that you keep the email and other contact details associated with your domain up-to-date.

For obvious reasons, most of the really memorable and descriptive (especially .com) domain names have already been registered – these are known as premium domain names. Visit our Premium App Domains page to find out more.