How to register a domain name

Once you have decided on a business name, the next step is to register your Unique Resource Locator (URL) - your business' address on the web. The good news is, compared to a few years ago, this is now a relatively easy, cheap process and shouldn't take more than a few minutes. This guide will help you to draw up a list of things to think about when you are registering your URL.

  • Choosing a name
  • Checking your name is available
  • Registering your URL

Choosing a name

Because the internet is growing so fast, choosing a URL is becoming an increasingly difficult process. If you want an ordinary or obvious name, such as hello.com or even gardenequipment.com, expect to pay more - hence the collection of web companies such as Rummble or Flickr with odd but very cheap names. Miss out letters or use numbers to bring down the cost of the URL, but don't forget you are only limited to alphanumeric characters and hyphens.

  • Expect to pay more for a straightforward domain name
  • Change the spelling of your company's name for a cheaper URL
  • You are limited to alphanumeric characters and hyphens only

Checking your name is available

Once you have decided on a name, check whether it is available, either by typing it into the address bar of your browser or using a domain name registrar. Keep in mind, though, that like cheap flights, once you start searching for it the price will start to go up, so register it as soon as possible. If the name your want is taken, it may be possible for you to buy it. Find the owner's contact details using whois.com.

  • Check whether your name is available using a domain name registrar
  • Register as quickly as possible so the price doesn't go up
  • If your name is taken, it may still be possible to buy it. Use whois.com to contact the owner

Registering your URL

To register a URL, use a domain name registrar. See Nominet for a list of approved registrars. You may wish to register several versions of your domain, such as .com, .co.uk and .net at once. This will prevent others from buying the domain name and using it to confuse your customers.

  • Use a domain name registrar to register a domain
  • See Nominet for a list of approved registrars
  • Buying several versions will prevent clients from becoming confused

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