Antoni Saurina

Written by Antoni Saurina

A domain is the name used to identify a website. The domains consist of two parts:

  • The first part is the name itself.
  • The second is the top-level domain, better known as extension.

For example for the domain “”, “Humanlevel” would be the name and “.com” the extension. Note that domains are unique within each extension.

Domain names can be formed by different characters, the most common being letters, numbers or hyphens. The characters that can be used in domains depend on the extension. For example, for .es domains:

  • Domain names can contain letters from ‘a’ to ‘z’, the numbers ‘0’ to ‘9’ and the hyphen ‘-‘.
  • Do not place hyphens at the beginning or at the end of a domain name.
  • Two hyphens are not allowed in a row in the third and fourth positions.
  • IDN characters are allowed.
  • Domain length from 2 to 63 characters.

The characters in a domain name depend on the domain extension.

Some of the most popular extensions include .com, .net, .org, .es, etc.

The domains are managed by ICANN, a non-profit organization that, among other functions, is responsible for the control of the domains. Since 2013, this organization has given the possibility to create new extensions and to have these extensions managed by private entities. Since then, more than 1,000 new extensions have appeared.

To use a domain, it must first be free, that is to say, it must not be registered by another person or company. If so, we can register it and then we can use it. Domain registrations have a determined duration that depends on the extension of the domain. As a general rule, registrations can be made for at least one year. In addition, domains can renew their registration year after year indefinitely. If we do not renew the domain when it expires, and after a certain period of time, it will be free to be registered by any person or company.

If we do not renew a domain when it expires, it will be free and can be registered by another person or company.

There are some domain extensions that may have certain restrictions to be registered as, for example, in the .de domains from Germany, it is indispensable to reside in the country.

The following screenshot shows the website of the first domain registered on the Internet in 1985.

web of the first domain registered

How to choose a good domain name

One of the first decisions to make when developing a new website is the selection of the domain name where the portal will later be hosted. In many cases, the domain name will play the same role in the virtual world as the brand name plays in the real world, so before selecting the domain name, an analysis should be completed that includes the following:

  • Who is our target audience.
  • What is the purpose of the Web: to sell, to inform, to communicate, to exchange?
  • What is the differential characteristic of our Web: what makes it unique with respect to the rest of the offer on the Internet?

From this analysis, the need to invent a new name can be deduced. Let’s look at some general rules for choosing a good domain name:

Memorable: As a good brand, a domain must be easily memorable and related to our activity. Although it is most likely that the highest percentage of first visits will come from a search engine, if we want to build a loyal base of regular visitors, our chances increase if our domain is easy to remember and easily related to our company or activity.

Trademark: If we already have a trademark, this should be our first choice for your domain. Especially if the brand already has some recognition among its customers. Keep in mind thatbranded SEO makes it difficult for competitors to rank well in the results.

Short: Short domains work better than long ones. In addition, the longer a domain is, the more likely we are to make a mistake while typing. This is the reason why brands such as Häagen-Dazs or Google itself have multiple domains in which all kinds of typing errors are foreseen, such as yes or no hyphen included, an “o” or two in a row, etc.

With keywords: from the perspective of search engine positioning, having a domain that includes keywords is an important factor that contributes significantly to the relevance of our site. short, easily memorable domains containing keywords related to highly competitive search categories are highly valued on the Web, even though Google’s latest algorithm updates have somewhat decreased the weight of the domain as a relevancy factor.

Extension: Select the most appropriate domain extension for your project. .com domains are the easiest to remember, since this extension has existed since the very beginning of the Internet. If your portal will have a purely informative activity, it could be appropriate to use the .info domain. For web-related businesses or those that only have an online presence, .net domains are a natural choice. In cases where your website must be able to compete in local markets, it may be worthwhile to go for ccTLD domains (country code Top level Domain, domains with the country extension), such as .es,, .fr, to compete in each country.

Do not include numbers: It is convenient to avoid numbers in the domain because whenever we have to say it orally, we will have to specify whether we are referring to the number or the word. For example, if I have a domain called “”, I will always have to specify whether I am referring to “” or “”.

No hyphens: It is equally important to avoid hyphens. It is better to use “” than “” because of the difficulty of remembering the existence or not of hyphens.

Do not use acronyms or abbreviations: IBM or HP are firmly established in our minds and using or is a natural choice. However, in most cases, using initials, abbreviations or any other method of contraction will result in a domain that is difficult to memorize and difficult to relate to a specific business or activity.

Do not delegate the domain registration to anyone: Our experience leads us to strongly recommend that the registration of a new domain be done directly with a registrar duly accredited by ESNIC, ICANN or other similar organization. In general, it is not a good idea to delegate the registration of a domain name to the same company from which the domain hosting is contracted. On many occasions, we have seen how Web hosting companies have put all kinds of obstacles and difficulties to change the hosting of a domain to another server, preventing access to the configuration panel of that domain to its rightful owner. Web hosting and domain registration are two completely independent aspects of your online presence and the best way to get the best service in both is to get it from two different companies specialized in each field so that there is no crossover of interests.

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Antoni Saurina
Antoni Saurina
Former Head of the Online Advertising Department at Human Level. Graduated in Technical Engineering in Computer Management. Specialist in web development and PPC/SEM with certification in Google AdWords and Bing Ads.

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