All about domains
Whether you know what a domain is or if you have only just heard it for the first time, by the end of this page, you will understand them fully and should have some ideas floating around for a perfect one for your site.
So what exactly are domains?
We will keep it simple. All websites on the internet are actually files stored on a PC that is constantly running We call them servers. As with any computer, they talk to each other using an IP Address which is a series of four numbers ranging from 0-255. Very early on, and still in use for smaller networks, you would go to the computer by typing the IP address into the browser. So, say you wanted to get to Google you would have to go to 22.214.171.124. You can still do this today, if you copy and paste that ip into the address bar, it will take you to google!
You can probably see the issue here; As more and more sites were added remembering their numbers became tricky, thus we needed something easy to remember. Enter the Domain. A domain name basically translates the IP address into a human readable format, so 126.96.36.199 becomes www.google.com. There is a bit more to it with something called DNS records, which we will cover later but the main thing to take away is that a domain is just an easier way to saying the IP of the computer you want to connect to.
.com .net .site etc - What do they all mean?
Although not really used as intended now, they originally had domain extensions depending on the type of site. This was so people knew what they were browsing to. In the 1990s however, the most prominent extension was .com which was the shortend version of company. Despite initially being reserved for a company site, .com has risen as the main domain name on the net. That said, you do not need a .com, it shouldn’t affect your site unless you use an uncommon extension that may make people weary of clicking it. It’s unlikely though as nowadays, many sites use extension like .net and the newer ones like .life, .online, .xyz etc.
Some domain extensions do however come with restrictions. For example, “SexChate.au” is a clever use of a word and an extension, but you would need to be an Australian resident to register .au. You can find out more about restrictions here.
So how do I go about getting myself some domains?
As we discussed earlier, domains are just an alias for an ip address. But all of these need storing so that people know which domain leads to which IP. Long story short, ICANN, a company that owns this database, rents domains out on an annual basis and companies called domain registrars handle the rental. It is through these “registrar” companies that you lease yourself a domain. Luckily, the lease is usually around $10 per year. After years of domain ownership, we have come to find that NameCheap is the best registrar for both ease of use and cost. They have one of, if not the lowest renewal rates in the business.
You may be tempted to go with a registrar like Godaddy who also offer cheap domains but the renewal cost is usually $15+, sometimes going way above. We have seen our own domains get hit with $100 renewal prices while at godaddy; It’s not an issue if you’re making the money but if you can get it for a tenth of that, why not?
Another thing to be aware of; Companies on the internet buy great sounding domain names and then resell them, usually for a hugely inflated price. If you see a domain that says it’s registered but for sale, don’t expect to be handing over any less than $100.
Namecheap Domain Search
So I rent a domain, how do I use it?
We mentioned DNS records earlier, let’s talk about them. So the domain you own is actually say webcamentrepreneur.com and in your DNS panel, that is represented as @. You can add an A record point to 188.8.131.52 and then anyone visiting webcamentrepreneur.com would be redirected to google since that is their IP. You can then add www. or even cams. as a subdomain, making it www.webcamentrepreneur.com or cams.webcamentrepreneur.com respectively. There are all kinds of things you can do with a domain, from linking emails to creating websites. You can learn more here.
For the purpose of running a whitelabel however, you will be provided clear instructions on what to add by your cam company. Usually this is just adding two records to point to an IP. If we take a look at BongaCash’s request below:
This is asking us to set up two DNS records, one which is your default domain (@ aka webcamentrepreneur.com) and then one for everything else (* means wildcard, that would make cams.webcamentrepreneur.com, www.webcamentrepeneur.com etc all lead to the same site). The number (28800 in the above image) is the TTL. This is how often computers will check to make sure the domain still points to the IP address. It is measured in seconds and some registrars won’t offer the exact time. This isn’t an important parameter however and you can leave your domain on automatic or choose 1 hour. You can see how this would be setup on namecheap below:
Fantastic domains and where to find them.
You will quickly see when looking for domains that a lot of your ideal domains will have been snatched up by companies looking to resell them. We tend to find that taking memorable objects and combining them can help, for example, beercams.com (this is probably taken!). Combining short, memorable phrases will make it easier for your customers to remember your domain and give repeat business, earning you some money. Be creative and don’t lose hope. One of our first domains has since been marketed for $3000 despite it being something we chose because it sounded funny.
If you are truly stuck, Sedo offers domains for sale. They can get pricey (the really impressive ones go for well over $10,000,000!!) but you can also find some good cheap ones on the lower end, hovering between $50 and $1000. The good thing about Sedo is that it also shows you how many traffic the domain is currently receiving per month.