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What is a Domain Name?

A domain name is an word or words that are an alias for an IP address. An IP address is the numerical location of a single computer or a website on the Internet.

For example, you can connect to this website by entering into your browser's address bar, or by using it's underlying numerical address, which is

You can imagine how difficult it would be to remember website addresses by their numerical location, so domain names are used as aliases to make them easier to remember. Every domain name is an alias for an underlying numerical address.

A domain name also has an extension, or suffix. For example, BoogieJack is the domain name of this website, and it has a .com extension, indicating it's a commercial site. You have to choose the extension you want when you register a domain name.

There are many different extensions, including .net for network, .org for organization, .edu for an educational institution, and .gov for a U.S. government web site. Each country also has it's own country code.

A domain name can have up to 63 characters, not including the domain extension. You may find other references that say a domain can have up to 67 character, but this does include the dot and the extension as the additional 4 characters.

The characters you can use in a domain name are:

  • any letters from a to z, for example
  • any numbers from 0 to 9, for example
  • you may also use a hyphen (-), for example
  • a combination of numbers, letters and hyphens, for example
  • a domain can begin and end in a number, for example
  • a domain name cannot begin or end with a hyphen
  • domain names are not cAse SeNsiTivE
  • a domain name must be a minimum of 2 characters long, but don't bother looking, they're all taken
Domain names are not owned indefinitely, it's more like they're leased. When you register a domain name it's yours until your registration expires. If you renew it, it remains yours. If you don't renew it, it goes back into the pool of available domain names.

Domain names can be registered for a period of 1 to 10 years. The cost of registering a domain varies from registar to registrar, but they can cost less than $10.00 or as much as $35.00. Most registrars offer discounts for registering for multiple years.

A lot of people say all the good domain names are gone. That's just not true. All the very best domain names are taken, but there are still plenty of good domain names left. Read my article, Find a Domain Name, and you'll have plenty of fresh ideas to help you find a good domain name.

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