Web Domain Names and How They Work

As technology moves forward, things can get hard to understand and complicated to explain. Try describing Snapchat or Instagram stories to your grandparents and you will realize that there are some things we simply can’t verbalize. Luckily for those of you that want to learn more about domain names, this post should help relieve some of that overwhelming feeling we can get when we are trying to understand something for the first time. Obtaining a domain name is the very first fundamental step you can take towards starting your blogging journey. Let me help you have a peace of mind and deeper understanding of what a domain name is and the process of obtaining one.

I will never forget the first time I heard of an individual owning their own website. It was such a foreign idea to me. I was 12 years old at a sleepover and my friend, Lilly, pulled up what she said was her very own web page on her flat screen computer that was powered by WiFi. I didn’t understand. My parents still had a box computer that ran on dial-up so they could monitor my time on the computer.  What was this? Could I do it? It seemed complicated but totally, TOTALLY cool! I don’t really remember what it looked like or anything about it but the idea of having my own website was riveting! Fast forward 11 years later and here I am with my own creative space *happy exhale*.

What Is A Domain?

Domain: “the territory governed by a single ruler or government; realm.” Via Dictionary.com

Just like it says, your domain name is your territory, ruled by you!

A Domain Name is completely separate from the host site. Think of it this way, you are renting an apartment, but you own all the furniture inside. When you decide to move you can pick up your couch and take it with you into any new space. In this case, your domain name is your couch. You own it, but you are leasing the host-site (wordpress.com or another host site) to give your domain a place to exist. With owning your domain name for instance, morethanbrunch.com, WordPress (my host site) has no legal rights to it. If you don’t own your domain name (meaning you didn’t purchase it and you want a free one) WordPress then has legal rights to market themselves through your domain name because they are giving you something of value for nothing which would make it go from morethanbrunch.com to morethanbrunch.wordpress.com.

Okay, How Do I Get One?

There are multiple different places you can obtain a domain name. You may have heard of GoDaddy. Their very confusing ads really don’t explain what they do. So if you ever wondered, now you know that they are a place where you can purchase domain names. You can also buy your domain name directly from your host site, which I find the easiest way to do things. I know that SquareSpace and WordPress both have these options available to you separate from buying into one of their monthly subscriptions. This means that you can buy your website name (ex. Morethanbrunch.com) for $18.00 a year (or so) and then operate through the free subscription. Because remember, you own the website when you buy the domain name and your host site is simply giving it a place to exist. Don’t be fooled though! If you look at the subscriptions through your host site they will say *comes with a free domain name* which it absolutely will, however you will pay over $200 for it and some other perks that you probably won’t use unless you are a business that does a lot of online sales and gets a ton of traffic. Start by just buying the domain and then if you want to upgrade later you can!

Any Naming Tips?

The very best advice I ever received was to buy your actual name (Ex. Sidney Taylor) even if you don’t decide to use it. For instance, I am the owner of MoreThanBrunch.com and yet I also went out and bought my name SidneyTaylor.co just in case I decide to rebrand or start another website, that way no one else can take my name for their website or brand. User name styles change. I will never forget my old one: RoxyChick. Maybe I was obsessed with the Roxy brand, maybe I just thought it was a cool name but there is no denying that I regret it. When you signed up for Instagram, was your name taken? Did you have to add a number, under score, or extra letter? It really is the worst and I just wish that I would have initially used my name. Always buy your name no matter what.

Don’t be afraid to branch out and get a domain name. It is the first step in starting a blog. It’s the first step into an amazing journey that is blogging.


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