Introduction to Domain Names
A domain name is the text that you type into the address bar in your browser, to access a website. It usually takes the form, “name dot something”, where ‘name’ could be anything you choose, and the ‘something’ is what you select from a list of predefined extensions. For example, if you’re running a business called, “Mike’s Widget Repair”, you might choose a domain name like mikeswidgetrepair.com.au, or mikes.com — provided these names aren’t already taken by someone else.
Can I build a website without a domain name?
It is possible to build a website without a domain name, using only the IP address (a number that identifies a computer connected to the internet, sort of like a phone number) of the server where your site is hosted. For example, you could type in 126.96.36.199 into your browser, instead of “google.com”, and you will still see the same website. But it’s a lot easier to remember “google.com” than a series of digits. Also, most websites are hosted on a shared server (many sites share the same IP address), so the server won’t know which site to display unless you specify the domain name.
How do I choose a domain name?
We generally recommend choosing domains with .com or .com.au extensions, as surveys indicate that these are the domains that people trust the most in Australia. We recommend .com.au domains for Australian businesses as this is what the average person will assume to be part of the domain name. Securing the .au equivalent is also recommended to avoid confusing your visitors. If your business is intended for international visitors as well, we recommend choosing a domain name that is available with .com, .com.au and .au extensions. You can then choose which domain name shall be the primary web address, and set the others to auto-redirect to the primary address.
All .au domains need to represent an Australian inlvstudiodual or entity of a similar name. For businesses an ABN / ACN or Business Name Registration number must be provided (source). If your domain name is very important to you, we recommend trademarking your name as well.
When it comes to the name that precedes the extension – the part before the “.com”, or whatever extension you choose — the general recommendation is that it is preferable to keep it shorter than 30 characters, and avoid hyphens and underscores. We also recommend names to contain no more than 3 keywords as additional words could be considered spam by Google bots.
Does my domain name have to be the same as my business name?
In Australia, if you want to use a .au extension, then your domain name must be the same as your business name. If you want to use a domain name that is not exactly your business name, you may have to choose an extension that does end in .au. In general, keeping your domain name the same as, or closely similar to, your business name, is a good idea.
What if the domain name I want is taken?
If the name you want is not available, you can try slight variations on your domain name. For example, if your mikeswidgetrepair.com is not available, you could try the same name with a different extension, like mikeswidget.repair. Alternatively, you could try something like getmikeswidgetrepair.com, callmwr.com, or even mikefixeswidgets.com
How do I buy a domain name?
At Lime, one year of an Australian domain registration is included for free when you sign up for any of our website packages.
You can search for the availability of a domain name, and then register it at any domain registrar. Lime is a reseller for domain registrations. Check for domain availability at lime.domains.
Based on your contract duration, you will be charged a renewal fee when it’s time to extend your domain registration. For example, a .com.au domain renewal costs $25 +GST.
Does it matter where you buy your domain name?
Yes. There are a variety of factors that influence how easy and cost-effective it is to manage your domain with a given registrar. At the heart of it are domain management features, like the ability to edit your domain’s DNS records. Besides this, some service providers have hidden costs and fees, charging for a variety of “features” that others provide for free, including transfer fees, administration fees, and privacy fees. Some registrars may also subsidise your registration fees by selling your personal data to third parties. Lastly, some providers may offer poor or no customer support.
Why is a domain so expensive?
Domain name registrars charge you for the service of keeping track of millions of domain names, and mapping which name points to which website. A lot of infrastructure is required to do this, which is what you pay for when you buy or renew a domain name.
Can I own a domain name forever?
It is not possible to register a domain name for life, as ICANN, the authority that manages domain names, only allows domain names to be registered for a maximum of 10 years. Anybody who claims to offer a “lifetime” domain name is probably scamming people in some way. Once you register a domain name, you are the owner of that domain, but based on the duration of your contract, you will have to pay renewal fees to your provider periodically.
Can I register my domain with one company and host with another?
Yes. Mapping your domain’s DNS records will allow you to host your website with one provider, while your domain is registered with another. Most domain registrars nowadays provide a settings panel that allows users to adjust these DNS settings.