Domain Names: How Does It Work?

Carefully choosing your domain name is very important. Indeed, your domain name conveys your brand image. It is also through it that your visitors/customers will find you. It is thus essential to get to know a bit about domain names. SiteW gives you some information about the composition of a domain name, its life cycle and the abusive practices related to it.

Lifecycle of a domain name

What is a domain name?

A website is identified by its URL. The domain name is part of this URL. It is composed of:

  • The top level domain or extension that may be related to a country, in this case it is composed of 2 letters (for example .fr for France, .es for spain or .de for germany), or it can be related to an activity, in this case it is composed of 3 letters (for example .biz for business, .net for computer sites or networks, etc.).

  • The second level domain which contains between 3 and 63 characters.

  • Possibly a subdomain which you can find in the beginning of the domain name. It gives precisions about the domain. The subdomain www (world wide web) is often used to define the main website.

For example, for the domain name www.sitew.com, the extension is .com, the second level domain is sitew and www is the subdomain.

A domain name allows to get the ip address of a website, which is a series of numbers allowing to identify the server which hosts the website. The use of letters allows to facilitate the memorization of the web addresses.

create a domain name
Why you should register a domain name

Booking a domain name: what is the point?

Booking your own domain name mainly allows to:

  • Facilitate the memorization of your web address (a domain name is easier to remember than a free web address created with subdomains).

  • Gain in visibility, improve your SEO: as the reservation of a domain name requires an investment, search engines give more consideration to websites with a domain name. They consider them more as quality websites, which may improve your ranking.

  • Gain in credibility: a domain name seems more trustworthy to your visitors.

  • Protect your website from cybersquatting (see below).

Life cycle of a domain name

A domain name can be registered at a registrar (SiteW offers the same service as a registrar). To find the website IP address, your visitor’s computer will connect to a DNS server (=Domain name system which allows to translate the ip address into Domain name and vice versa) of his Internet service provider, which contacts a root DNS server, then a domain name DNS server. A domain name defines at least 2 DNS servers. Here are the various steps of a domain name life cycle:

  • Availability period: a domain name is available as long as no one has booked it.

  • Active reservation period: you can book a domain name for a duration of 1 to 10 years. At the expiry date, the registrar will inform you and you’ll be able to renew your reservation.

  • End of the reservation period: if you have not renewed your reservation, the domain name is considered as expired.

  • Registrar-lock period: it lasts 45 days. During this time, the domain name is not available any more but you can still renew it on request to your registrar.

  • Redemption period: it is still possible to retrieve your domain name usually during 30 days with a surcharge.

  • Pending delete period: these are the 5 last days before the final expiration of the domain name. Then it becomes available again.
    The periods indicated above are only indicative and may vary depending on the domain extension and the registrar.

Everything about domain names
Domain name life cycle and abusive practices related to domain names

Domain parking

Domain parking consists in redirecting an unused domain name to an ad link page related to the domain name. The pay per click allows you to pay the reservation price back, or even to make profit.

Abusive practices

Cybersquatting or grabbing or even Domain Name Hijacking consist in buying domain names related to brand names (places etc.) in order to benefit from their notoriety or to alter their visibility in order to sell these domain names back (sometimes very expensively) to the claim-holders.
You now know a bit more about domain names. In our next article, we’ll explain to you how to choose, book and renew you domain name with SiteW. Stay tuned!

Last update: May 04, 2016